Aug 17


This morning we slept in until 8:30am, got up, packed, and checked out of our airbnb. We hoofed it to the metro and rode in to Kings Cross station arriving in time to catch the train. We decided, however, to catch the next train and instead send a few packages back home at the post office across the street. By the time we got back to the station, we had 10 minutes to get on the next train to York. We found the platform and boarded the train, only to realize to our dismay that it was completely booked!! Eek!! I spoke with a very nice train attendant who informed us that the trains to York are ALWAYS fully booked! Because of our British Rail pass we are guaranteed a seat, but can’t book reservations for travel at 2 hrs or less, the amount of time to get from London to York!! Well, I freaked out a little and hustled over to the ticket office to see if we could reserve a seat on the next train. The really nice attendant there said we just needed to board the train immediately after it posts and find any unreserved seats we can. We waited around the platforms sweating out the next 20 minutes (ok ok, I sweated, Ryder wasn’t worried one bit). Once the train hit the platform we made a beeline to the first car and found two empty seats next to each other in first class! Yay!

The train ride was really nice and comfortable. We watched the most recent episode of Suits and spent the rest of the ride researching places to stay and things to see in Edinburgh, Scotland. I have to say I’ve become thoroughly spoiled traveling first class on all the trains. It was cheaper for us to purchase the Brit Rail pass beforehand for our travel throughout the UK. This pass was only available in first class. On this train we had a complimentary beverage service, including alcohol. We didn’t get any, but I can’t believe we could have enjoyed free alcohol. Unheard of in the US.

Our train arrived on time and we caught the next bus to our accommodations, the Heworth Guest House. The owners of the establishment greeted us warmly at the door, providing a wealth of information about the town and things to do. We settled into our room then headed out to explore the city. As we made our way down the street it started raining. Luckily, we’d checked the weather and brought our rain jackets 🙂 Ryder looked like a caution sign hehehe. We walked about 15 minutes to the city center, stopping at the York Chocolate House for some chocolate drinks and chocolate fondu. We were in chocolate heaven! I would definitely recommend this place to anyone visiting York as the customer service was superb! After having our sugary fill we walked to the other side of town, heading for Clifford’s Tower.

This tower was once a medieval Norman castle built on the orders of William I to dominate the Viking city. York Castle formed an important royal fortification in the north of England. Before becoming a historic site, the tower was used as a jail and prison until 1929. Today, only the shell of the castle remains atop the huge baily. The view from the top of the walls was very beautiful, showing York in all it’s glory. We slowly circled the top of the tower, taking in all the sites, then climbed back down the slippery stairs and out to the street.

We had planned to walk the city walls the next day, but decided we were close, we have time, why not? We walked all along one section of the wall, dumping us out onto the other side of the town. It was a very beautiful walk, and as it was mid-day on Friday, we had the wall almost to ourselves. Upon exiting the wall via one of the ancient entrance gates to the city, we went in search of dinner and found a really good noodel place then we headed back to the guest house for a good nights sleep!

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