Katherine has been looking forward to visiting York from before we left Australia, so this is a biggie! We weren’t sure we were going to get around to it this time, but it turns out our ferry port, Hull, is just to the south of York. What’s more, we’ve been invited by a fellow travel blogger friend, Mike who lives in York, to have an amble around the town with him!
So, we drive north-east from Swansea, stopping overnight in a nice little secluded car park outside of Birmingham, and roll into York the next day. We jump on our bikes and meet Mike around the corner, to catch the bus into the city centre. We click straight away, as we knew we would, and meet up with another travel blogger acquaintance of Mike’s who is also in town, Barbara.
The four of us wander along York’s cobbled streets to a little wholefoods-y restaurant Mike suggested and have tea, over which the travel blogger nerds among us talk shop. Katherine and I listen in, amused fish out of water in a sea of pro blogging topics.
We part ways and agree to meet the following day — we ride all the way in this time, feeling very pleased with the freedom granted by our bikes.
We walk to the York Minster, and stop for a coffee in a funky café nearby, walls papered with sheet music and adorned with battered old musical instruments.
Mike proposes a walk along the city wall, which circumnavigates the town centre, to which we eagerly agree.
Along the way, Mike peppers our easy banter with juicy tidbits of local history, displaying quite the encyclopaedic knowledge.
We stop for a break along the way at a gatehouse-turned-café perched precipitously atop the wall and propped up by some scaffolding.
The remainder of our walk takes us through the town, past the remains of one of the city’s two castles — between which, Mike tells us, a massive chain was stretched, across the river, to stop Viking raider ships from entering the city. We walk down a very picturesque alley, the Shambles, buildings leaning drunkenly inwards, and Mike points out a raised open area by the road. It’s paved with gravestones — the floor of a church that once stood there.
We pass through the park — populated by very tame and curious ducklings, watched over tolerantly by a parent — and walk along the river. Mike points out a pub that sits well below the frequently-flooded river’s high-water line, and describes how all the downstairs fittings are removable, and during flood times are dragged upstairs.
We finish the day with a drink at a pub with a ceiling covered with doors, a feature that must cause confusion to those in the more advanced states of inebriation.
We say farewell to Barbara, who’s off back to the States, and ride back home.