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York Travel Blog

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entrance to YHA hostel

Today I'm headed to YORK! This was a city that I was s'posed to stop over last year as part of my Haggis tour but I loved Edinburgh so much that I decided to spend an extra day there instead and take a train directly to London. Since then I heard so much about York from my fellow tripmates that I felt gutted. Absolutely GUTTED that I missed this fine city. I decided then and there that I was definitely going there. And again, for how long? A day? Well, not really! One of my good friends from Tripadvisor, Anemone kept insisting that I spend two days here and take it all in. And further and further suggestions finally made me choose roughly 3 days here. Based on TA's fdbk and on what I read in Frommers', I knew I wouldn't regret my decision.

YHA look from the front
  York as how I conjured up in my imagination was a superset of Chester - another walled city first inhabited by the Vikings, only difference being the wall isn't completely intact as it is in Chester.

I woke up early that morning and it was raining as usual in Manchester.  Headed to the railway station with my duffel and messenger bag in the rain, and to make things worse I got on a wrong tram and  I ended up at some station that was a walk away from Picadilly station. Anyway aboard the train to York with multiple stops.

My walk to the hostel everyday. Isn't it just beautiful?!
... it took me the better part of two hours.

I have really fond memories of this train ride. It was raining non stop, and we passed through lovely towns, villages, cities (i.e. varying degrees of modernisation) and everything was so green. There's a certain darkish charm to the English countryside. It's just so... I don't know... deep? profound? Love it to bits!

I reached York around noon and my first opinions weren't that good. The YHA sign wasnt "clearly" posted on the railway station as stated on the YHA website. So my only option was to 'catch the bus to Clifford Green right outside the station' and no, it wasn't right outside the station but a walk away. Granted, not a long walk but was a bit hard to find the bus stop. The bus driver was rude, slammed the brakes hard I nearly twisted my ankle as I was trying to alight.

York Minster
Again, contrary to the the website, the directions to the hostel were not clearly given from the bus stop. The YHA is in a quiet residential area so I didn't see too many people wandering around to ask for directions. Thanks to a very public spirited lady who even walked with me till the hostel (she was headed that way too), I finally found it. Phew!

Now, the YHA itself - I'll be posting a separate review here but I can summarise by saying its worth the effort. It's beautiful. It's an old mansion converted into a hostel, and it's so self contained like the Manchester YHA. Bar, playroom for kids, kitchen, breakfast and 6 bed rooms with lovely curtain windows overlooking either side of the mansion which are again both green! Overall, just LOVELY.

One of my roommates that day was a Kiwi who's been settled in North Carolina for the last 45 years (can't tell though, his Kiwi acc-unt is perfect) and he was doing  a cycling trip of the UK starting off at the Shetlands.

More York Minster photo madness!
It was nice talking to him about different cultures and his life experiences so far.

I wasn't feeling too hungry, so I spoke to the extremely helpful YHA staff and headed out to the city centre. They advised me to use the pathway across the River Euse. Boy, I can see why! Whilst last trip was about seeing busy cosmopolitan sights in the UK, this trip seems to be more countryside and even my hostels have such lovely landscaping around them. The walk along the river was splendid. It takes you about 15-20 mins at a normal pace to reach the city centre (trust me, you DON'T want to hurry up), I had Imogen Heap on my iPod, lovely overcast skies, I felt I was in England! I'm already beginning to fall in love with the city as you can tell.

The closer you approach the city centre,  the Minster starts to become more visible.

York Minster
It's huge! And stunning! I bought tickets that include the crypt, the cathedral and you pay separately to go to the top so that you get views of the city. The Cathedral was lovely. My favourite for some reason was the Chapter Room despite having seen a 1000 before. I saw the lovely crafted stained windows as well. The view from the top of the Minster wasn't that impressive. The city is not only big but beyond the walls, it's gotten fairly industrialised so the combination of lovely houses nearby and factories and warehouses afar wasn't very flattering. Besides, it suddenly got cold and I couldn't wait to go back in.

I spent nearly 3 hours at the Minster, and walked across to those tiny roads where I had a late lunch (5pm!) and wandered around the city. Saw the famous Shambles, it's weird! It looks like a proper tourist spot today but how it must've been those days I can only imagine.

inside the York Minster

York is great. Full stop. I don't know how many times I'm going to keep saying it over the next 3 days. The architecture is unbeatable. Put it this way, you could stand on any street and take upto  a dozen pictures.  So diverse in that small area.

I went for a walk one section of the walls - the section that the tourist dept calls the "pretty section" as it goes around the Cathedral. It was great seeing the Cathedral from many sides. And as funny as this may sound, just taking pix of the wall itself was lovely. I've captured so many random pix during these Walls walks.

I decided to wait for one of those 'Ghost Tours' that starts outside the Minster. It started sharp at 8p and was a bit of a letdown. It wasn't funny AT ALL (my benchmark is a bit high having attended the Bizarre! walk @ Bath), my only consolation was that it was cheap! That got done by 9pm and after some more random photo stops I headed back to the hostel along the river.

North transept
It was lovely, JUST lovely!

Reached the hostel around sunset, had a warm shower and slept by about 11pm or so after talking to the Kiwi bloke in my room. I was telling him that I can't wait to get to Lincoln t'row because part of the "The Da Vinci" code was shot there. Having said that, I went down to the reception and saw tons of brochures all about the Great Yorkshire Moors and other places that were worth a day trip. So I  started contemplating ... Lincoln or somewhere ELSE?

Bottomline however is, after the ok-ish experience I had in M'chester and L'pool, things were really beginning to look up in York. One thing I felt about York was the same I still feel about Edinburgh - it's a city that I want to keep coming back for more and more!

Deats says:
Im glad you like York, my Mum is from there and my Gran lived almost her entire life between there and Robin Hoods Bay near Whitby. If you are ever back over and im in the UK id be happy to meet up and take you to Kit Kat Crescent the home of York City football club.... now that would be an experience!!
Posted on: Aug 08, 2006
X_Drive says:
I was there last year and loved the city. Shambles, shops and all! Only spent a few hours there but loved it all.
Posted on: Aug 05, 2006
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entrance to YHA hostel
entrance to YHA hostel
YHA look from the front
YHA look from the front
My walk to the hostel everyday. Is…
My walk to the hostel everyday. I…
York Minster
York Minster
More York Minster photo madness!
More York Minster photo madness!
York Minster
York Minster
inside the York Minster
inside the York Minster
North transept
North transept
the ceiling of the Chapter House
the ceiling of the Chapter House
Chapter House (York Minster)
Chapter House (York Minster)
View of the city from the top of t…
View of the city from the top of …
West end view
West end view
North end view
North end view
Yorks Art Gallery
York's Art Gallery
Nothing particular, I just loved t…
Nothing particular, I just loved …
The Walls
The Walls
city shot
city shot
another random city shot
another random city shot
Ghost tour
Ghost tour
York Hostels review
I've had a good track record with YHAs wherever I've travelled so I was expecting high quality stuff from this YHA as well. The reviews were very good… read entire review
York
photo by: HelenP