A trip through (a part of) the United Kingdom: York and its whereabouts

This is the last post on my trip to England with littlemily.

We stayed in York for almost five days, devoting the first two to visit this town. It has a very pretty historic centre, although rather small. The Yorkminster is certainly something worth 13 pounds, including the visit to the top of the tower. Other than that, walking around the city and beside the river is quite enjoyable. The narrow streets full of colourful shops and tea rooms and not as crowded as I expected. York also has a couple of nice parks in case the weather surprises you with a sunny day.

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York’s shortest street. I’ll let you find out the meaning of its name!

There aren’t many museums aimed at the adult public only. I went to the Yorkshire Museum because there was a temporary exhibition on Richard II. Sadly, I was very disappointed when I saw that this exhibition consisted of two small rooms and a few facts on the last Plantagenet. For families, the Yorshire Museum can be a fun visit, as well as the York Castle Museum. Similarly, York has a good handful of “experiences” such as the Richard III experience, the Henry VII experience, or the Ghost Walk. Again, the targets of such an entertainment are for families and kids, but not quite a thrill for me.

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One of the many sights in York’s Museum Gardens.

However, the unbelievable amount of bookshops (new and second hand) together with the glorious (although slightly over-priced) afternoon tea I had at Betty’s certainly compensates the lack of interesting things to visit.

Another good things is that there are many day-trips you can do from York. On our first day we took a two hour bus to Whitby, since we both longed to see the Yorkshire coast. Whitby is a small town by the sea that I found quite different to the inland villages I had visited so far. Its center is rather small but is full of quaint and nice little shops the moment you get out of the main street that goes along the river. That street is full of restaurants specialised in fish and chips. Since I already had had some fish and chips at the beginning of the trip (and my stomach did not feel up to digesting that much fried oil again), I went for crab, which was delicious as well (and far more healthy). One thing that may be helpful to remember is that there’s a huge gap in prices between seating-in and take-away, probably in the order of 4-5 pounds.

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After lunch we went to visit the ruins of the abbey, which were quite impressive. Fun fact: it inspired Bram Stoker while writing Dracula, so in the gift shop you can find all the nice editions of the novel you could possibly imagine.

Next day was Harrogate, which was a bit of a fiasco. Harrogate became a health spa in the late 18th – early 19th century so it is a pretty town with broad avenues. We only managed to visit the Royal Pump Room where we got to smell the water and believe that, despite its awful stench, it had medicinal properties. We didn’t do much else in the town. It started raining soon after we arrived and all other potential places to visit were closed, except a cosy art gallery next to the Pump Room. We even tried to find the huge parks that are supposed to be in the middle of Harrogate, but it was to no avail. Summary: I didn’t take a single picture of the town.

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That’s only a tiny part of the abbey!

On our last day we went to visit Fountains Abbey, a huge, enormous, abbey in ruins next to an 18th century water garden (because apparently people in that time were not impressed by ruins). There’s not much I can say other that we had a very nice time visiting the abbey and its whereabouts. It is also a very good spot to go for a picnic!

All in all, it was a great trip. I will certainly come back to Yorkshire and visit some of its houses (aka. palaces), the National Park, and, as I said before, the Peak District.

Aparté: What did I bring from my trip?2015-07-22 19.21.34

Besides discovering 40958039584 new books I need to read, I treated myself to:

– Pure by Andrew Miller. The French Revolution is one of my favourite historical events, and I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this book since it wa
s published.

– A Brief Introduction to Life in the Middle Ages by Martyn Whittock. I’ve recently started to by interested in NF History books and, after my trip to England, my curiosity for the Medieval Ages 2015-07-20 20.41.42has
greatly increased

– Yorkshire Tea: That’s pretty much the only tea I had in the last five days (I drank something between 6 to 8 cups per day hahahaha).

– Marks & Spencer’s Extra Strong Tea: since a friend of mine gave me a pack that I’ve become completely addicted to it!

– A York mini-flag and pin. The War of the Roses is also one of my favourite events, and I happen to support the House of York. So there was no way I’d visit Yorkshire and not bring back a couple of items with the white rose.

– Four nail polishers… In my defense, my flight back home was delayed for almost two hours!FullSizeRender


A trip through (a part of) the United Kingdom: Peak District

Nottingham ➡️ Chesterfield ➡️ Eyam

And from there walking (with a heavy and inconvenient carry-on) to the Youth Hostel, which is located sufficiently far from the town.

I had a supposedly light and nice lunch at the Eyam Tea Rooms, followed by a nice cup of Yorkshire tea. During this journey there is not a day where I am not surprised by English cooking. It seems that the only veggies used here are onions and button mushrooms. Oh wait, I think potato is also considered a vegetable. And fruit only comes in the form of jam or in cakes. A light lunch is a salad, not half a sandwich. This does not mean that I dislike English cooking, I like it, but I seriously doubt my body could take more than 10 days of it without becoming diabetic.

Anyway, Eyam is in the middle of several footpaths that go to other equally tiny and cute villages. However, the routes are not well signalled and we did not get any map at the hostel. By chance we took a lovely path that, through fields and pastures, took us to Stoney Middleton. We decided to try and follow another route, and ended up walking on a side of the road with cars speeding by.

It was a wonderful tour, the landscape was beautiful, and I even managed to see some sheep!
The day after we went to Grindelford (sounds like a name from Harry Potter), took the train to Chinley, and then walked to Hayfield. This is the town where part of The Village is filmed. I did recognise a couple of buildings thanks to a lovely man at a local shop. Hayfield is an enchanting little town and the road to it has some great views. It also has several footpaths that surround the area with some breath-taking views.

I had a very nice lunch followed by cream tea. I cannot believe I have been able to function for so long without having tasted scones. And clotted cream. I also had one at Eyam, but in this one the clotted cream was heavenly. The texture was soft and fluffy, a great treat after a couple of hours of intense walking.


On our last day in Peak District… It rained until 10am. However, given the amazing sites we had in the last two days we decided to set for yet another walk.the person at the hostel very kindly indicated a route that according to her what date is about two hours.

 Unfortunately we are not used to walking around the moors and seen unbelievably beautiful panoramas. So it took us quite longer than that. It was certainly worth it, although at some point I thought I was in the European equivalent of a jungle, and I most graciously slipped and fell in the mud. To be fair to the YH people, one of the employees was very kind and drove us to the bus station. They also accepted to serve us dinner half an hour later, at 7:30pm.

So-called footpaths where you have to climb this type of “stairs” and go through fields and with sheep or cows all around!

But I walked in an open field with a flock of sheep, saw a 360 view of Hope Valley, … It is hard to describe the beauty of what I have seen these last days. The only word that comes to me is awesome, in it’s British sense, i.e. I was filled with awe when walking through the fields and moors.

Final stop: York!

A trip through (a part of) the United Kingdom: Nottingham and its whereabouts

In the next week or so I’ll be posting updates on my journey with LittleEmily!

Two days ago we arrived at Gatwick airport and from there we took a train to Nottingham. Its historical centre is very nice to walk through. Most of the houses are built with dark orange bricks and with this particular pe of industrial-victorian facades that I love, especially in the rare moments when the sun is shining.

There is a castle in Nottingham, but it was built in the XVIIth century, and its not much of a thrill (sorry, touristic information office, it really isn’t. There I had my first ever fish and chips! It was good, but I don’t think my stomach will be able to take this amount of fried food again.

St Margaret’s church, not where Richard III’s tumb is.

It is a very nice town, but you can pretty much visit everything in a day. So we’ve also been to Leicester. I became a Richard III fan when I read The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman last summer and since then I’ve been trying to learn as much as possible about The War of the Roses. In case you did not know, Richard III’s corpse was found not so long ago buried in a parking in Leicester, so I went to see his tumb at the cathedral, which probably has the weirdest structure I have ever seen in a church.

Leicester’s historical centre is quite lovely, and has maintained its medieval ambience and charm. There I had my first ever steak and ale pie, which I never thought I’d like. It appears to be that English food is not so bad after all!

Then we walked to Abbey Park, a huge park in the outskirts of the city (which are not very pretty) that is completely worth the time. Not only it has very nice gardens and rivers crossing it, but also the ruins of a frmer abbey. To be fair, there’s just a bunch of stones tracing the structure of the building.

By the way, this is where Cardinal Thomas Wolsey died. There is a commemorative statue but I suspect it was Anne Boleyn who ordered it as it is placed just in front of the café, surrounded by tables full of families and children and large plastic parasols.

Victorian ladies that look like Cardinal Wolsey, or is it the other way around?

On our last day in the region we visited the town of Lincoln. After failing to avoid second hand bookshops, we struggled our way through Steep Street, which has a very appropriate name. The climb does not prevent one from admiring the cute two-story houses with quaint and fashionable shops.

Interior of Lincoln’s cathedral

After this we had lunch and there I tried the apple pie with custard. I’ve usually had apple pie with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream. Custard was a perfect combination for a thin and crispy crust and savoury apple bites.

Finally we set on to do some serious tourist information activities. First, the cathedral, it is huge! However, I am not sure if it is worth almost £7. You can always get in and have a glimpse from the entrance.

On the other hand, visiting the castle was a good thing to do. Well, they call it castle but in fact you see the prison and walk around the castle wall. There is a very interesting and interactive exposition at the gaol on the prisoners’ living conditions.

After that we had no time to visit the Museum of Lincolnshire Life but we did see the Mill. Surprise surprise, it was a plain mill, nothing extraordinary.

Detail at the entrance of the castle.

Next stop: the Peak District!

To Bilbao!

Yesterday I officially graduated (although we got a non-official diploma, but never mind) and it’s hard to believe it has been 10 months since I started this program. So much has happened in my life, and I have made many good friends from all around the world that I hope to see again.

To celebrate it my father took me to Dos Palillos, a restaurant in Barcelona that combines Asian and traditional Catalan cuisine. It was so good!
Here are a few pics:

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In a bit more than an hour I’ll be driving to Bilbao, a city in the north of Spain, to attend a music festival, BBK. My main reason for going there is Muse, my favourite band that I haven’t seen in two years! However, I also look forward to discovering other bands such as Of Montreal, Catfish and the Bottlemen, or The Cat Empire. 

I will also be seeing many friends that I have met in the several Muse concerts I have attended, I really cannot wait!

So, I won’t post anything in the next four days. See you soon!