In order to catch up on our sleep, we decided to not set an alarm. I woke up at 9:50am and Joe at 10:30ish – yep, I guess we really needed the sleep! We still planned to go to York though and figured that even if we couldn’t see it “all”, we would see what we had time to see and that would be it.

We debated on Pret vs. Starbuck’s for breakfast and Pret won, simply because, as Joe said, we could go to Starbucks any time. Yay!

When we were done eating, we walked to the Leeds train station, got 2 “return” (round trip) tickets for £21 and caught the 12:05pm train to York. It was about a 20-minute ride.

We bought a £1 map and used that to guide us to York Minster. On the way we saw some guy get arrested – sorry, no photos of that, LOL!

On the way to the Minster

York Minster

York Minster is a huge church that has its roots as far back as 627 AD, although the current building is “only” from 1472 (hello, 20 years before Columbus sort of discovered America!). It’s made with Gothic style  architecture so, of course, I was in my glory.

We started our visit by looking at the main part of the cathedral, admiring the architecture and stained glass windows.

However we had tickets to go up to the top of the tower at 1:15pm, so we soon had to stop oogling, go to a particular corner of the building and start climbing. 275 steps. In a spiral staircase. They had lots of precautions about claustrophobia but that wasn’t the issue for me…it was a LOT of work and BOY, am I out of shape! But with a LOT of rests (that happened more and more frequently as we got closer to the top) and letting people go in front of us whenever we needed to, we made it up the 275 steps in just about 15 minutes. Exercise for the day…DONE! And I am going to be SOOO sore tomorrow! The views were SO worth it, though! Another 15 minutes or so and it was time to start the descent. The walk down was no walk in the park either – you use different, smaller muscles to help you step down, keep steady and not fall. So it was NOT fun…but I’m glad I did it!

Since we had been to the top, we figured we would go down to the bottom too, and next visited the crypts of the Minster. I was expecting burial areas but there were only a small handful of those. Instead it was more a history of the various foundations of the building, dating from the Romans to the Normans and eventually to modern times. It also had pieces of the church (ancient statues, arches, chalices, stained glass, keys, etc.) that were no longer in use, in museum-style cases.

We went back upstairs for a while and admired the church some more, but finally agreed we were done. After a quick stop at the gift shop, off we went to find Betty’s Cafe Tea Room. We got directions from the gift shop lady and walked through streets that were centuries older than our country and led us past some fun little shops that reminded me of the Philosopher’s Path in Japan, but with cooler stuff.

After a quick stop at Crabtree & Evelyn (where I scored some Lily of the Valley perfume) we found Betty’s. It’s a small chain and I had seen it when we visited Harrogate last year, but we were short on time that time, so I couldn’t go. Well, Joe and I have a tradition that for our anniversary every year (not necessarily ON our anniversary – that’s only happened once, or maybe twice, in 8 years of marriage), we go out to tea together. We’ve gone to the tea at the Grand Floridan at Epcot, a place in Manhattan, etc. Last year we had tea in the crypt of St. Paul’s, LOL! And this year it was at Betty’s. It was a typical tea, with finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam and a variety of small pastries…all wonderful! We took our time and had a blast.

We started wandering at this time, looking at the various stores in the area (although most of the streets we picked wound up being more higher-end again. Crap.) and eventually came upon one of the remaining York City Walls. We just started walking on the 12th to 14th century structures, admiring its history, as well as the view. Some parts of the wall have fences to stop you from falling off, others don’t. Guess which of us got close to the fence’s edge and who practically hugged the wall?***

Micklegate Bar

We lucked out in that we passed the train station as we were walking, so when we got to Micklegate Bar (built in the 12th and 14th century), we went back on terra firma and backtracked to the train station to go “home.” There was an announcement on the P.A. while on the train: “…I also regret to inform you that the toilets on the train are broken – the toilet in the middle car door has a broken handle on the door so if you went in you wouldn’t be able to get out and the one in the front of the train, well, I’d rather not speak about it on the P.A. We apologise for the inconvenience.” It just sounded so…British!

York Station

Might be hard to see in the picture but this is England's green and pleasant land, with what I believe is a nuclear power plant in the background

We got back to the hotel around 6pm and by this point I was getting cramps in my legs, no doubt from lots of walking on top of those 275 steps up and down (screw the Duke of York and his 10,000 men who marched up to the top of the hill and marched back down again…I walked to the top of York Minster Tower, dammit!). So we just hung out for a while so I could rest my legs.

Joe was just starting to get hungry (I was still full from Tea) so we asked the concierge where we could find a small, quiet place to get a light snack and maybe some wine (in the States we’d be looking for a wine bar but a quick search on the ‘net suggested they don’t really have those here). He recommended the oldest pub in Leeds, called Whitelocks. We quickly bumped into Barb, Carol and Steve on the way – they had gone to Liverpool and I was SO happy to hear that they used the “Fab Four Taxi Tour” that I had suggested (we had used it last year) and had enjoyed it a lot. Anyway, back to Whitelocks….it was a 5-minute walk away, down a small, dark alley that we never, ever would have gone down if we hadn’t been told to go there. The establishment opened in 1715, albeit with a different name, but has operated as a pub for 295 years. They stopped food service at 7pm and it was now past 8pm, so I just got a pint while Joe got a shandy (yuck!) and we drank them outside on one of the benches they had set up in the alley. It was an interesting way to spend 45 minutes or so.

Joe still was in search of food so we walked around some more. With choices of McDonalds, Burger King  or Subway, we eventually went back to the hotel and he ordered a burger and fries (not chips, fries. That’s how it was listed in the menu) from Room Service.

It was an early evening for us because we needed to pack and get ready to travel to London tomorrow.

***Did you guess who stood where?

Hard to see, but it's a good 10-15' drop if you fall off the edge. But hey, it's onto grass, right?

Seriously, could the man hug the wall any tighter???

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