We must have REALLY needed our sleep (well, DUH!) because I was up at 9am and Joe at 10am, after going to bed at 11pm and 9:30pm, respectively. We went down for our complimentary full English breakfast, which was slightly less full, I guess because it was nearing their 11am closing time when we got there but they offered to have any hot food made to order and overall there was still plenty to fill our bellies – I got a soft boiled egg (with the thinnest shell I had ever seen) and bacon to go with my Wheatabix (most dry cereals play havoc with my blood sugars – Wheatabix does not?) and an apple.

When we were done eating, we went back to the room and decided that, with such a late start, we’d explore Leeds instead of York – it would save us the time of a train ride and we were concerned that if we got to York at noon or so, we’d have very few hours to “play” before things would start closing (assuming they closed at 5ish). We figured we could save York for another time, since we had never seen Leeds before.

We looked on the ‘net to see what was around and how to get there and with a tentative plan in our heads of where we wanted to go, we made our way to the city bus station, first stopping off at the Corn Exchange building as we went past it – it was built in 1862 but in recent years held a variety of boutique and specialty shops. As per a friend of ours, the owners decided a couple of years ago to change it to more of an eatery setting though, so they got rid of most of the boutique shops…and then the economy went to pot so most of the building is empty now. Pretty building though.

Corn Exchange - Outside

Corn Exchange - Inside

Thackray Medical Museum - Outside

We found the bus we needed and made our way to the Thackray Medical Museum, a museum that opened in 1997 and explained the history of medicine (or, in its earliest of years, the lack thereof) in Great Britain. Those of you who know us understand that this is very much “our” sort of museum. Not that we don’t appreciate “real” museums that usually contain art, but well, when you’re a family comprised of a pharmacist and an occupational therapist, a medical museum is VERY interesting, LOL! The museum showed the history of cholera, the plague, polio and TB, along with how anesthetics and surgery developed, prosthesis, pharmacology, dentistry, a walk-through of the digestive system, etc. REALLY cool! Well, for us, anyway, LOL!

So if I get a neck like a Watusi, I can be taller than Joe

Using my best John Morris accent: "I am AMAAAZING!"

No.

Yes.

Joe learning about his heartbeat while I prepare to enter the digestive system

When we were done with the museum, we decided to go back towards the hotel so we could look at the shopping areas that were around our hotel. We were starting to get hungry though, so we looked to see what was nearby and, be still my heart, there were not one but TWO Pret A Mangers within walking distance of the hotel! Those of you who have known me for a while know my love of Pret A Manger, which I “discovered” on our 2nd or 3rd trip to England about 4 years ago. So we walked there and I got a Semi Sandwich (I love them…they sell HALF SANDWICHES! They’re Sharon Sized!) and coffee and split a brownie with Joe. YUM!

We decided to walk around Victoria Quarter, which was a high-end mall re-developed from 100- to 150-year-old buildings and covered over with a clear roof for inclement weather. It was all too high-end for us (Joe’s best comment: “That place is selling boxer shorts that cost more than my whole outfit”) but it was still fun to walk around and admire the architecture of the buildings (a favorite hobby of mine when anywhere that has buildings over than 50 years old).

Next up was Leeds City Kirkgate Markets, a market area that reminded us of a typical US-style flea market, except for the stalls that sold real “market” fare, such as fish, meat, fruits and veggies, etc. (the modern-day hawker yelling out, “Pound for a bag of bananas!” at the top of his lungs made me smile). There were also stalls that sold pet supplies and small pets (ahem…the rabbits were “doing it” as we went past), greeting cards, pocketbooks, makeup, cellphones, etc. Oh, and some place that was selling Snuggies for £7 (about $11).

It was about 4:30pm by this time and after we left the Market area, we just started wandering, seeing what we could see. We really enjoy just wandering together, with no plans to go anywhere, taking our time and just observing the ordinary that isn’t necessarily OUR ordinary…architecture, store windows, people, accents, etc. But with us still not completely caught up on sleep, plus with walking for virtually 5 hours straight, we were starting to get tired, so we eventually decided to go back to the room and take a nap. Which was another good thing about being in Leeds and not York…we could indeed take a nap!

An hour and change later we woke up and checked the ‘net to find someplace to eat. Joe discovered a place called The Living Room, a small chain that had a restaurant a few blocks past the Pret A Manger we had visited earlier in the day. The deal was done when they were even on http://www.opentable.com Open Table! The didn’t award points though. Crap, LOL!

We walked to the restaurant and arrived about 10 minutes before our reservation time. It didn’t matter though…it was a Monday evening in a business/shopping district and the place had very few patrons. The place just ROCKED! We started with goat cheese gnocci with tomato sauce and basil (me) and french onion soup (Joe), followed by peking duck (me) and salmon (Joe) and we shared a Belgian waffle with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. DELICIOUS! We also shared a bottle of chard that was all the way from California, LOL! My best line of the night? The waiter asked us where we were from. I said, “We’re not from here. We’re from Texas.” (I know that those of you who know where/who I got that from are smiling)

Two hours later we went back to the hotel. Joe was rehearsing his RAH music but now is channel surfing. Once I’m done with this entry I’m going to bed. Tomorrow we’re going to Whitby…I know we’re having fish & chips at the Magpie but I don’t know our other plans for the day yet.

All in all, it was a great day!

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