May 31 – TuesdayThe alarm went off at 4 am. Groggily, I pulled myself out of bed and into the shower. We had a 6 am train to catch at Kings Cross and the taxi would be here at 5:30. Somehow, we both needed to wake up, shower, dress, finish packing, and get to the station on time.
No worries, though, because my Type A personality wouldn’t let me miss a deadline of any sort! Sharon was excited because today she would be meeting her friend (Gayle) for tea in York. How fun!
We were well in time to meet the taxi.
Tip: Don’t call a black cab. Take a minicab for a much better rate.
Thing is, we got to Kings Cross station well in advance of our train! But, that gave Sharon some time to take pictures and me some time to grab a breakfast.
Sharon and I both love trains, and the train to York actually cost us about what a cab to the station had!
Tip: You can find great train deals at TrainLine.
Sharon slept, but there was no way I was going to miss seeing all of the countryside and taking in every stop along the way. We arrived in York at about 8:45 am and hustled over to the left luggage shop.
Tip: If you want to make a day trip of York without staying the night, you can leave your luggage within a short walk of the train station.
We noticed the attendee had a “Leave” badge on his shirt indicating his voting preference for leaving the EU as the referendum had yet to happen. Sharon and I were both interested in this very intriguing vote, and he was happy to give us his point of view.
It was very cold in York, and Sharon hadn’t brought a jacket, so we got directions to a local shop and went to find something for her. Afterward, it was on to the York Minster (probably my favorite cathedral in England). We ran into an extremely interesting docent along the way (John Carpenter) who gave us tons of insight into the Minster’s history.
|Rose Window - York Minster|
|King's Screen - York Minster|
Luckily, we got a super seat right by the window. But, when Gayle failed to show, we became worried. We finally figured out that we had gone to the wrong Betty’s! So, we hurriedly made our way to the next one and there was Gayle!
Gayle is one sweet and very funny gal! We had so much fun talking and having tea and just chilling with a good friend. Sharon had known Gayle when she’d worked in Washington DC, and I felt as if I’d known her all my life!
|Joy, Gayle, and Sharon at Bett y's|
The main thing I wanted to show Sharon was the Shambles (a very historic street in York) and the Roman wall. I think Sharon enjoyed the ramble, and we stopped by to get her a SIM card along the way.
|The Roman Wall at York|
Knaresborough is one of the quaintest market towns in North Yorkshire. With its castle, expansive viaduct, a petrifying well and the cave of a well-known witch to its name – there’s a lot of bang for your buck in Knaresborough.
I hadn’t taken the train to Knaresborough since the early 80s, and I’d forgotten that to get to the town centre, you had to go up a steep hill. We almost lost Sharon along it as the grade was exceptionally difficult. Luckily, a family of Goths stopped and assisted so that she was able to get to our B&B just at the top. Thank you, Goth family!
We stayed at the Kirkgate B&B and couldn’t have been more pleased with our host, Karen. She was a lively, vivacious lady who was very helpful with all the ins and outs of our room, the keys, and the town in general. Our room was a comfortable affair complete with chandelier and en-suite bathroom overlooking a very sweet garden. We were also just around the corner from the town centre which made shopping and eating out very convenient.
|Karen, our hostess at Kirkgate House|
June 1 – WednesdayThe next morning, we had a lovely breakfast and went to wait for our car which Enterprise was to deliver to us at 9 am. It never showed up. After calling, we found we had never been in their system for a pickup! Again, we found ourselves in transportation hell which you can read more about HERE.
Finding ourselves without transportation at this point, we decided to make the best of it and explore Knaresborough. First thing was the local market which happened to be on Wednesday. It was quite small, though, so while Sharon continued to look around, I found my way to a pub.
|Bob the Gob|
Sharon had joined us about halfway through the conversation and was able to snap one picture of Bob. Unfortunately, we didn’t get one of the other two fellows.
We grabbed a bit of lunch and headed back to our room for a rest.
That afternoon, we walked over to the castle grounds for the wonderful view of the viaduct and River Nidd.
|Mother Shipton's Cave|
Having parked the new car, Sharon and I headed out for some fish and chips. We met an elderly couple who were so sweet. The man had spent some time in Austin coaching soccer a few decades back. In fact, I don’t think we met anyone who wasn’t lovely our whole trip!
That was it for Wednesday.
June 2 – ThursdayThis was a day I’d been waiting for! We took off early in the morning to drive to Kimberworth and hang out with my friends Linda and Chris for the day. We had no trouble at all finding their place and traffic was light the whole way.
I met Linda through Facebook. She is the cousin of a cousin of my mother’s… which makes us family of some sort, I think? I had seen her posting and knew she was a Texan who had moved to England after marrying Chris, an Englishman. We’d met once before, but this was the first time I’d seen her new house in South Yorkshire!
It is a lovely little place near the Peak District. We all clambered into Chris’ car to head for the small town of Hathersage and Cintra’s, a very quaint little tea room. While Chris enjoyed a traditional Full English breakfast, the rest of us had a lovely lunch before heading out into the town.
|Footpath Near Hathersage Church|
|Little John's Grave|
|Interesting Ivy Head|
Hathersage, itself, was so small that we decided to take in the nearby town of Castleton as well.
Castleton is best known for its extraordinary scenery, its castle ruins, and a quarried stone called “Blue John” (which is in the Opal family). I bought my mom some jewelry there and just enjoyed the peacefulness of the town. I could definitely live here!
|Blue John Mecca!|
|Peveril Castle Ruins - Castleton|
We had very much enjoyed our time in Yorkshire and were looking forward to spending the next few days heading northward and then west to Cumbria!