As the girls sang “Welcome to Old York” to the tune of the similarly-titled Taylor Swift song about NYC, we started our 1 day in what would become one of my favorite cities visited in the world.
We came by train from Edinburgh after returning the car. Then, about a mile walk to a bar where we got the key to our AirBnB and entered a building that was one of the oldest in York, but was decorated like a party in 1983.
The next morning, we’d planned to tour the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe, but it was closed for renovation, so we circled its exterior and enjoyed a beautiful day to be outside in a beautiful city.
Then, it was the National Railway Museum, an enormous museum full of trains. As much as this stop was supposed to be about the 7-year-old boy, we all loved it. It featured some of the first steam trains ever built all to way to the “bullet trains” that travel hundreds of miles per hour today, and everything in between.
We had coffee at the Perky Peacock next to the River Ouse in a haunted bridge tower. Then, we explored “The Shambles” area of older residences in York that are leaning and, in places, starting to crumble, but is filled with interesting shops along its cobblestone streets.
We climbed Clifford’s Tower and visited the York Castle Museum, which featured an underground model of the city during Victorian times that all 5 of us loved. Dinner was at a haunted pub called the Golden Fleece.
Then, we walked the entire 2-mile perimeter of the original city, but on top of the city’s walls: a perfect way to see the city. There’s just something about a city with walls.
The next morning, we boarded the train to London, excited about the several days ahead, but sad we’d only allowed 1.5 days in York. Clearly, we’ll have to go back.
On the train ride down, my boy asked if we could look at a map of the United Kingdom, so he could trace all we’ve seen and would see in the coming days and learn how they relate to each other geographically. Later, I learned my bride caught the moment with the above photograph. I love how it captures a rarely shared moment that could have occurred 100 years ago as easily as it occurred in July 2016.
Maps, trains, and a little boy’s excitement over exploring a new place: the good stuff.
Sometimes I’m tempted to second-guess and think that we did too much in too short a time–but then I realize just how much we all enjoyed all the things we were doing. And everyone remembers all of it as a really happy experience, having edited out the complaints about the walking! Amazing. This really was a life-changing trip.
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