Friday, 14 July, 2017 – weather a bit grey
So it is to be goodbye to our Boat Hotel. After a usual breakfast, scrambled eggs + smoked salmon for Julie, Mexican omelet for me, we say goodbye to our hosts for the last 5 nights. We drag our suitcases a little ways to the nearby Hotel from which Julie had booked a cab the night before. Once in the cab it is about a 10 minute trip across town to the train station at Staines. The driver is a local, born in Staines, and tells us a lot about the history.
We get to the station and fortunately there are elevators so we don’t have to lug bags up/down stairs. We are headed South towards London and there are lots of trains – we take the third one which is not a milk run but still stops at Vauxhall where we are to transfer to the Victoria Line. We get seats that are wide enough to hold our bags. As the train proceeds towards London, it gets quite full – it is a work day after all.
At Vauxhall we need to transfer to the Underground. We meet a couple at the elevator who guide us through the various directions and elevators until at the last place, the elevator to the Victoria line is a bit full so Julie takes the escalator instead. When the three of us get to the platform, there is no site of Julie anywhere. The train arrives and the couple needs to get on it so I say goodbye. When the platform empties, Julie comes into view from the other end of the platform.
We board the next train and I am fortunate to get a seat while Julie rides shotgun with the suitcases. We reach Kings Cross which is our last interim London stop. We cross over to London Rail because our destination is North to York. We have over two hours to kill so I spot a table and chairs in a Pret a Manger and settle into it with our suitcases for the next two hours. Julie goes for a walk and finds an outdoor food market and the following are some of her photos from it.
Pretty impressive and varied collection! Julie comes back and decides she would like drinks. So she gets into the long queue at the Pret – it was pretty much like that the whole time we were in there. There were a number of girls serving and they did a good job, still there were long queues.
I then go for a walk, first of all to the Loo. I am disgusted to see a very long queue of people waiting to go into a Harry Potter shop. Amazing. We see the same thing at a Harry Potter shop in York.
Finally, it is time for our train. As we are boarding it is clear that there is no room for our suitcases as the previous passengers had used up all of the luggage racks. A nice lady conductor organised for our bags to be put in the unused Driver’s compartment.
It is a very fast train and York is the first stop but even so it took around 2 hours to get there. When we arrive there is confusion as to whether we can get our bags off of the train. There are others in the same category as us and eventually the driver comes down and unlocks the carriage where we then get our bags out.
Well, that’s when the chaos increased dramatically. There were people everywhere and it was hard to move with our bags. When we got out the door of the station there was traffic madness in a small roundabout in front of the station, it took just one car to stop and wait and the whole traffic flow was stopped. We were told to go in a certain direction for a taxi but that was wrong. We eventually found the taxi queue, well away from where we had been told, and it is a quite long queue. Still it moved relatively quickly and we waited perhaps no more than 30 minutes. When taxis picked up passengers, they had to drive into the roundabout madness. Then once you got through all that, the streets of York were just as bad, hardly moving at all. People told us that this was all caused by the York Races which were to be held tomorrow and everybody from England is coming here.
So we are in a taxi and moving slowly away from the station and into the old town. The driver was very knowledgeable and told us about the best restaurants in town, many of which we end up going to during our stay. We finally reach our apartment which is obviously an old warehouse in a docks area that has been converted to residences.
We are met there by Rebecca, the maid, who shows us how to get in and spends a lot of time telling us about things in the apartment and around town. She mentions the York Races as well. The apartment is on the fifth floor and is quite nice, there is a lift fortunately.
Julie goes out to get supplies and there is a nearby Waitrose.
Julie returns with the supplies, perhaps the most important is laundry pre-packaged, multi-style washing material. She has not had any laundry done for several days so starts her first load. I too have quite a laundry debt but will wait until tomorrow to start clearing it.
We decide to go out to look for food as it has been a long time since breakfast. Things go wrong – we make the wrong turn on the first direction, the streets go round in circles, Julie is using Google Maps but the GPS is frequently showing the wrong location, I am getting grumpy as my back gets sorer. Eventually we find our way to the destination that would have been so much easier if we had not taken the wrong first turn. That is the Shambles market.
We don’t stop at the market and walk around for a while longer. Eventually we decide on the Mumbai Lounge, which had been our taxi driver’s primary recommendation. We arrive without a reservation and they are very popular but able to give us a table in the downstairs area – we are the first there but it eventually fills up.
Julie felt that all of the dishes had too much added sugar. I didn’t notice and found the dishes interesting. We depart.
But we are not finished yet! We decide to go into the Golden Fleece by legend the most haunted pub in England.
It has been a very long and eventful day. Even though music is coming in the Fleece, it is time to go home.