It has been a pretty hard year for me, well since September of last year really, but particularly difficult in last six months. I won’t grieve into the details but it is hard being a separated parent with a three year old, trying to improve your career, whilst working full time also to pay the blasted bills. A much needed holiday was on the cards and I took hold with both hands.
The last time I went on holiday was probably eleven years ago when I went to Ibiza, my only holiday abroad, with my step-mum and my brother. I don’t remember a great deal of it, because it turned out to be one disaster after another. When looking at places to go, a plane trip or a ferry ride was never an option. There are so many great places here in England that I’ve never took the time to visit, little sparkling gems here on my own doorstep that I’ve overlooked ignorantly. York, only an hour and half drive away, was a top choice. I love old cities riddled with history and intrigue down every walkway and back alley. I went to Chester last year, and I was told York would not disappoint.
We wanted to get there early, firstly to have a full day and secondly to beat the rush hour traffic. It is such a good job I’m so organised. Everything was packed before the day, right down to the toothpaste and deodorant, which resulted in a wild frenzy of bag searching and clothes chucking just to find. The drive itself wasn’t bad, but I do hate motorways. Overtaking isn’t one of my strong points, but on the whole I did well. I didn’t even get beeped at once, go me!
We couldn’t check in to our hotel till two, so we had the morning to wander, but in all honesty, I was starving! I really needed some breakfast, but hardly anywhere was open, so I settled for a Greggs sort of breakfast, you know, sausage roll (which was pretty awful), cheese and onion pasty and a Yum Yum cake. Well it filled a hole, so I could check that off the list of ‘To-Do’s’.
The York Dungeon was our first attraction to visit and as we didn’t pre-book, we were forced to stand in a long queue. You know what happened next don’t you? It chucked it down. The rain soaked us within seconds, and when we finally got into the building, we were dripping from head to toe. They only allow us to enter in small groups of about ten people, which actually was really good because by the end of the tour it sort of felt rather friendly and intimate. Sadly, no photographs were allowed. The acting by the individuals running the show in each area, whether it be the execution stand, the courtroom, the haunted pub or the doctor’s room, was exceptional and very authentic. It really made for a fun thrilled morning and I was picked out twice! Firstly I was found guilty in the courtroom for apparently ‘mincing’ around the city dressed up in drag coming on to drunken men before knocking them out and stealing there money. I was sentenced to cleaning the urinals of all 365 pubs inYork. Nice! Towards the end of the tour, I was found guilty of being a Witch and had to be burned at the stake where flames and smoke engulfed me. The audience loved it!
The rest of the day was spent looking around the shops and walking along the ancient wall that runs around the city. Has anyone been toYorkbefore? It is a warren of shops, side streets, alleyways etc. It was a nightmare to navigate, especially with the stop start weather that never really eased up for the full three days. I just couldn’t get my bearings. There is at least two of every chain shop, that confuse you further. Just when you get use to where you are, you realise that actually you are hopelessly lost, again. I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and have a nice cold beer.
Our hotel was called Marmadukes, and was about a ten minute walk away from the city centre. It was so posh! A full four stars of posh! Apparently, the house was originally Victorian and so they kept a lot of the original décor including gramophone, wood panelling and aptly decorated each of the rooms in an authentic Victorian manner. I got a good deal on the hotel actually from one of those booking websites.
–>; Do stay tuned to read about Day 2, where I’ll talk about the Jorvik Centre and the Castle Museum.