Dunblane to York

Took the train to York yesterday. Wee walk down to Dunblane train station for the 1032 then change at Edinburgh Waverley, get a coffee n cake and jump on the 1208 to Penzance. The Penzance thing was a bit surreal as that was news to me: poor sods going all the way didn’t arrive til 2250, almost 11 hours later.

The sun had come out as the train slid past caravan parks near Berwick and we got glimpses of coves and nice views out to sea. At Newcastle we looked down over Tyne with its famous bridge and shiny new Sage arts venue. Onwards through rolling countryside to Darlington and then York for 1430.

It was just a short walk from York station through the city walls to our Travelodge. It was fine although the stairwell leading to the first floor room stank of pish. We headed out soon after, crossed the Micklegate bridge into the heart of old York and wandered through The Shambles and the markets nearby. It was lovely but cold so predictably we were soon snug in the Valhalla pub, followed by an odd haunted pub The Golden Fleece (most haunted pub in Europe?). Both pubs were nicely busy and in our wanders we noticed various stag and hen parties. Sad to say, we also saw several homeless sleeping in shop doorways later on.

In the evening we attended my nephews engagement party in a cafe bar in old York. It was great and the girls had different cocktails and folks were very friendly. Just nice to have a family gathering for a happy celebration really. They make a lovely couple.

This morning I headed out early on my own and wandered along the incredibly old city walls, meeting the odd jogger. York is indeed charming I thought, especially when the sun started to come out. We had breakfast in the hotel and watched out the window at the flow of folk heading into old York. Some families and couples but mostly all male groups heading for a hair of the dog we reckoned. There was a fair amount of noise at 2am last night and sure enough there were some fragile looking specimens at breakfast.

So we wandered across the River Ouse again, looked at the markets, narrow Shambles, impressive Yorkminster and walked along the city walls. There were boats on the river too and I was disappointed not to see signs for “Booze cruise on the Ouse”.

It was much busier today with many tourists and we stopped at an outdoor cafe, sat in the sun looking across the grass to Yorkminster. I reckoned there was a small stag party at the next table however, especially when I heard the classic line “and then he threw the guinea pig out the window”. You don’t hear a guy saying that to his wife do you?

This fresh air and healthy walking couldn’t last though and we were in The White Swan by 2pm.

My nephew and fiancée met up with us and we had a great laugh with food and drink but too soon we had to head for the train, via the market for unfeasibly large white chocolate meringues. On the walk to the train station we spotted several hen and stag parties heading into old York. That would explain the bouncers at virtually every pub I thought.

And so we’re on the train home now, zooming though the dark towards Edinburgh and then Suni Duni. The Shitzu awaits behind our front door, coiled and ready to spring.

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