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Amanda Goes to England, Vol. 3: 18 May 2014

Sunday in York!

Hostel check out time was 10 (REALLY?!)

Buh-bye, hostel!

I didn’t walk around the city on the York City Walls, but I did walk up up for a quick snap from a new perspective

Always with the tiles…

Clock outside St. Martin Coney Street/St. Martin Le Grand

St. Wilfrid’s again

York Minster in the distance

I visited the striking Second Boer War memorial in York, which was erected in 1905. Very beautiful, very sad.

A.D. 1905”

The thing I did next ended up being one of my favourite things I did while in England: I had cream tea! I found a cafe called Mannion & Co. which served a reasonably priced cream tea. And it was perfect!

Cream tea just consists of tea, scones, clotted cream, and jam. I had heard about cream tea before I made my 2014 UK trip and had put “have cream tea” on my to-do list. I knew I wasn’t interested in having an actual “afternoon tea” or high tea, because it has finger sandwiches and a lot more food than I’d want to have.

And before you go and say “Amanda, some of these pictures are kind of wonky,” the table I was sitting at was kind of wonky. I think the pavement outside the cafe was a little slanted. The girl at the table next to mine commented that it was “the most treacherous cream tea ever,” because it seemed like your tea and scones might slide off the slanted table! So I didn’t straighten the photos in post-processing.  And please forgive the volume of photos I took of my cream tea. I just loved it so much!

I was first brought the tea pot, tea cup, and milk for my tea. I loved the tea pot. It was metal and SO hefty. The little milk can cream holder! Cute!

Then came the fruit scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam

I’d never had clotted cream, and it’s a little hard to describe. I’ve read others’ descriptions of it, but to me, clotted cream was sort of thick like butter but didn’t have a tang to it like butter does. Which is not a great description, but clotted cream is not an easy thing to describe!

There are two ways to do cream tea: Devon Cream or Cornish cream tea, based on the how the scones, cream, and jam are assembled in those two regions. I, unbeknownst to me, did it the Devon way: I split the scones, put the cream on, then topped it with jam. The Cornish cream is traditionally served on something called a “Cornish split” (a type of sweet bread roll) instead of a scone. But whether a Cornish cream tea is served with a Cornish split or a scone, it is assembled by splitting the bread or scone, buttering it, putting the jam on, and finally topping it off with the cream. Whether Devonshire, Cornish, or none of the above, cream tea is going to be tasty – I’m sure it doesn’t matter how you assemble your scones!

I spotted this pretty shop and found out it was the Yorkshire Soap Co.

I spoke with this young lady before going into the shop. She said photos are not allowed in the shop because it might spoil the experience for others, so I asked her could I take her photo. She obliged.

I spent the next little while a’wanderin’ and a’photographin’

I love doorknockers in England 4 Lyfe

Pretty pastries in a window

More detail shots of the clock outside St. Martin Coney Street

Cute bicycle art and greeting cards in the window of a shop

Lendal Bridge again

Sundress day

My next (and final) stop in York was the National Railway Museum. While the museum was very nice and had lots of trains to see, I didn’t stick around too long. I think it’d be a great place for children and serious train fanciers to visit! My favourite part was the area in the photo below, the Station Hall. I loved the Union Jack fabric draped and the reproduction travel posters on display.

British Rail logo – a very familiar sight

“ON 3rd JULY 1938
OF 128

Black and white shot of my favourite section of the museum

I was sad to leave York. It was so much better than I’d expected, and I’m very happy I made the decision to spend the weekend there!

Photos taken with Konica Big Mini and Nikon EM

My long, drawn-out story for the day:

The train journey actually took longer than expected. It was nearly four hours, which was just a REALLY long haul. Especially when I was arriving well after 9 that night and had to locate and check into a hostel in a part of London I’d never visited before.

I found out pretty quickly that the Tube line I needed to be on only went so far that night, because they were working on it further down the line. One of the Transport for London folks told me to ride to a particular station and take the bus to the station I was SUPPOSED to have been at (where my directions to the hostel started off, so I could get my bearings.)

When I got to the last Tube stop available towards my journey to the hostel, I asked a Transport for London worker posted outside it which bus to catch. He directed me to a bus stop across the street and said his colleague there would tell me which bus would take me where I needed to go. I spoke to the colleague in question and asked him if perhaps there was a bus that actually went to the street where my hostel was so I wouldn’t have to alight at the Tube station then navigate to the hostel from there. He pulled out his personal mobile phone, said “Technology!” and looked up the route for me. He said that there was a bus that stopped on my hostel’s street. Perfecto! I got on that bus but never heard the name of my street announced when we were making the bus’s stops. So I approached the bus driver. He had never heard of that street. He told me there was another bus I should take at a particular point on his route. I asked would he basically shove me out the door to make sure I got off at the correct stop to switch buses. He said yes and made sure I got off the bus and pointed across the street to the other bus stop. That bus was pulling up at that moment, so he honked and pointed to it after I’d exited his bus. There wasn’t a crosswalk there, so I didn’t feel safe running across the street, even if it meant I had to wait for my bus to come back by. I poked my head back in the bus and said “I don’t want to die!” to let him know why I hadn’t ran across to the other bus when he honked. He laughed (as did the girl sitting nearby,) and pointed towards a crosswalk at the end of the road.

I eventually caught that bus and asked the driver about my street. He said “no problem.” I asked him to please help me know where I should alight.  He was not quite as amused by me, but at least he was going to help me get on my way properly.  When he said it was time to get off the bus, I found that I had not been dropped at the street I’d asked about. I had to find a corner with a map on it (they have those on a lot of street corners, to show you where you are and the walking distances to different places.) I had to find the Tube station where I was originally meant to be, in order to orient myself for the directions to the hostel. Keep in mind, it had gotten quite late at this point and I had NO clue about the part of town I was in. I ended up asking the Transport for London guy at the station if he could help, and he actually took a look at the directions I had printed for the hostel, took the time to go over them, and showed me on a map what my walking route would be. It wasn’t as short a walk as I think the hostel made it out to be. But they never are!

I made it as far as I could per the TFL guy’s directions. But when it’s 11:00, you’ve been traveling all evening, and the streets aren’t particularly well marked, you don’t really have the capacity to find your way (at least I didn’t.) I was kind of wandering around, and that’s when a French guy entered the picture. He lived near the hostel and was used to people getting lost, I guess? I was wary of getting helped by a stranger in a strange place that late at night. But I knew that having someone to guide me would be my best bet for finding the hostel. And since he even took my rolling luggage for me, at least I was travelling lighter and could have ran away more easily if I felt my safety was threatened. The walk just seemed to go on forever, so I did have some moments of “oh crap, there is no way it’s THIS far to the hostel. Imma get killed by this guy pretty soon.” Then, he pointed to the hostel, told me where reception was, and told me to ring the doorbell to be let in. And that was that. Honest to God, at that time of night,  in an unfamiliar area, and in the state of “I’m so over this” that I was in, I would never have found the hostel had it not been for the Frenchman. I’d seriously considered the fact that I would not find the hostel, that I would just have to find some place to stow away until the sun came up, and hope I could find the hostel in daylight.

Though it seemed questionable (in my mind) at certain points during my journey, I did live to see my last day in London before flying home, so all’s well that ends well!

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