Day 11: Rest day in York

The internet here is very frustrating, to get it to work in the room you need to stand up and hold your phone up at the window, so I don’t think I will be sending many photos from here.

We are catching up with Sandra and Hillary again today at 1pm so are setting off early to spend the morning site seeing. We caught the bus into York and walked through the city. As we got there just before 9 am it was not very busy to start and the streets were quite empty. It was very busy by the time we left the city to catch the bus back at mid day.

We walked through the narrow cobblestone streets looking into a number of shop windows. We walked through a street named The Shambles which was very picturesque.

However reading about this area after in The Lonely Planet, the background of the area was not what I would have expected. Shambles translates to the Saxon word shammel for slaughter. There were 26 slaughter houses in 1862 on this one street.

This street is a narrow cobbled lane from 1500 century, with Tudor buildings is the most picturesque street in Britain and one of the most visited streets in Europe.


It was very reminiscent of the streets in the Harry Potter movies, so I was not surprised to see a couple of Harry Potter Shops and a novelty/ gift shop called The Shop That Must Not Be Named.


We also went to the Cathedral called the York Minster which is the largest medieval cathedral in Northern Europe, and one of the worlds most beautiful gothic buildings. We were lucky enough to be there when the organ was being played.


The moisture from the air is damaging the windows and they are working as fast as they can adding a glaze to preserve them.


After this we went for a walk on the city walls. The York old city walls follow the line of the original Roman walls. The part we walked gave great views of the York Minster plus we also were high enough up to see into some beautiful backyard gardens with well-thought out flower and vegetable gardens.

York Minster viewer from Town Wall


We got back to the hotel in plenty of time to meet Sandra and Hillary, who picked us up in their car and we went off to their house. They have a renovated terrace cottage. It is long and narrow but they have modernised and maximised the interior space. The kitchen in particular was designed to create the maximum work area. Outside they have a lovely garden area and a couple of hanging bird feeders which were in constant use.

They prepared a feast! There was champagne, red wine, beer, salad, two different types of bruschetta, a baked dish, olives, asparagus, pickled onions, spicy pecan nuts, grapes,  marinated walnuts, cherries and 7 different cheeses.IMG_4919

As well as winning awards for her cheese, Hillary also judges it, so the selection as would be expected was great. There were 3 different blues and they were all delicious. The cheese and the beer matching were all from the surrounding area. Lunch stretched out from 1:30 pm to about 6pm during which time we managed to at least sample some of everything. To finish was a birthday cake for Brett which was a lovely way to finish this amazing meal.


Brett with step daughter Sandra (right) and her wife Hillary (left)

As well as writing books Sandra is also a coach and mentor and we talked a bit about changing careers etc. Sandra has given me a contact back in Wellington I can follow up with when I get back.

Given the overall alcohol consumption, even spread over 6 hours, we walked to the railway station with Sandra and Hillary, which was just around the corner and caught a taxi back to the hotel. Needless to say we didn’t need any dinner.


Sightseeing in York

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