Thursday, August 25, 2016

Between London and Bath

We've been home from England now for nearly two weeks, and two weeks has passed since we left York for Windsor. This modest anniversary reminds me that I did little posting about our adventures after leaving London but before our final day. Though York was quite nice, our stay there didn't afford me good chances to blog about our adventures. When we left York, there were some challenges with cell phone reception and battery life that challenged my ability to post as well. Then, of course, there was the fatigue-from travel factor as well. Here's a belated update. 

Sam at the photo-stop version of Platform 9 3/4. 

The real Platform 9 3/4 probably looks more like this. 

Sherry and Caroline on the trip to York. 
We left London early Monday. The staff at Dolphin House assured us that the Tube was the best was to get to that station, and they were right. The train ride was, well, civilised. Britain de-nationalized the trains, which means for-profit companies run the system. Virgin runs this line, and we had reserved seats around a table. The ride was quick. It was pleasant. Nothing to complain about.

We lunched in front of these ruins. 
We arrived in York around lunch time and picknicked in the gardens outside York's museum. We were on the look out for supposedly ravenous squirrels, but apparently they were so well-fed they didn't beg for food.
Display of boys' luggage set for a trip to Preparatory School at National Railway Museum. 
Our first site in York was the National Railway Museum, which was a very good museum. However, it had the unintended effect of making me quite homesick. First, it reminded me a lot of the good railway museums I've seen in Pennsylvania: a little bit like swirling together Steamtown and the Railroad Museum in Strasburg. It's funny how steam-era railroads pretty much smell the same on both sides of the pond. Secondly, seeing engines, cars, and destinations native to England made me realize how little of the country's geography I knew and made me wish for some U.S. companies and destinations. I purposely spent most of my time there looking at the excellent displays about station culture: luggage, ticket purchasing, and other aspects of being a passenger.
Caroline at York Minster.
Tower at York Minster.
After our museum adventure we wandered over to York Minster, the cathedral of the town. It might have been Sherry's favorite site (after Tower of London). Sam enjoyed it a lot too. In fact, the Minster kindled some sort of dormant appreciation for sculpture in the boy. The Minster meant so much to them that the two of them returned later in the trip for a guided tour of the tower.

We might have had our best meal of the trip in York at Mr. Chippy's. Fantastic fish and chips that will someday fatten the wallet of my yet-to-be-named cardiologist. Also, I found my favorite beer in England there. Oh, and the waiter gave us a great tip for where to eat the next night, York Roast Co.

Along the fortifications.

Display at Castle Museum. Nineteenth-century farm house. 

Display at Castle Museum. Dresses (Caroline's request).

Display at Castle Museum. Victorian era street scene. 

Display at Castle Museum on food preparation. Food preparation?!?!?

Roman era human remains. 
York's museums, as did the museums throughout our trip, impressed me. We visited the Castle Museum on our second morning and found out the name was a misnomer. It had little to do with any castle. It had everything to do with telling the life of ordinary people over the decades in York. Very well done. Lot more in there than I expected. In the afternoon we visited a kid-centered museum called Dig which meant to replicate an archaeological dig in York. It's an offshoot of the Jorvik Viking Centre, which is unfortunately closed due to a recent flood.

Sam lost two teeth in York. Here's #1.

Our hotel.
Our accommodations in York featured the only hotel of the trip. Very nice place, though small to Americans. It featured lots of Churchill images, a cigar bunker (in which I did enjoy a beer one night) and an outstanding breakfast each morning. I'm still mourning the loss of English breakfasts now that I'm back home. My attempts to make them upon returning didn't survive our first week back.
Clifford's Tower, what remains of York's castle. 

Atop Clifford's Tower, what remains of York's castle. 

Clifford's Tower, what remains of York's castle. 

The York Minstermen's pitch. 
Our final day in York was a relaxing one, though I noticed it was the day Caroline seemed to wear down (Sam had his own fatigue day . . . see the next post). In retrospect, I wish we had gotten the car one day earlier so that on the last day Sherry and Sam could have seen more of York on foot, which they did, and Caroline and I could have driven to something worthwhile outside of town. I forget how a car ride can be a refuge for a kid on a trip . . . a time when they don't have to walk or follow or wait or exert. They can simply move and zone out while the parents do the work. 

More late. 

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