Wednesday, November 25, 2015

York Day 1

I was out of my B&B by around 9am each day and walked to the medieval centre of the city. It ended up being more touristy than I thought this being the end of Sept/beginning of Oct. though the weather was still really nice. There was sunshine with scattered clouds, no rain with highs around 19c. 

I dressed in layers and wrapped my sweater around my waist as the days warmed up. The first morning was especially foggy as you can see out the door of my B&B.

I didn't mind the fog; it added to the atmosphere of the city. Found a LOT of gorgeous spider's webs as I walked along. I really hoped I could steer clear of the brown recluse spiders that can cause terrible wounds with their bite!

The sun tried to peek out; it took about an hour for the fog to burn off.

Seems a different place first thing in the morning...

 In about 15-20 mintes I was approaching Micklegate where heads used to literally hang on pikes - that would definitely scare me off!

(Old) York is a walled city - the wall was about 2 miles in length but it took me quite a while to go all the way around because I'd stop and look at things.

Micklegate - here comes the sun!

Walking the wall - some parts date back to Roman times; other parts were rebuilt in medieval times.

In some spots you had to exit the wall, go down some stairs and the find where the wall began again. Several of the gates housed restaurants and tea shops.

Sculling on the River Ouse.

 I stopped to explore the remains of St. Leonard's Hospital, the largest hospital in northern England in its time...

Several sarcophagi - empty thankfully! (But where did they go???)

Also on these grounds were the remains of an abbey, remarkably beautiful.

When  I went back up on the wall I started getting glimpses of the great cathedral - Yorkminster!
The fog dissipated and I got some good shots.

After I descended from the wall (I had circled the city) I climbed up Clifford's tower, which was the Keep of York Castle. It was built shortly after England was conquered by William I.

It was quite a climb but my legs were feeling pretty strong.

These circular staircases can get a little claustrophobic!

But the views are fantastic!

 I wandered into the centre of the medieval city and was surprised at the crowds of people.  These 2 people were doing a balance defying trick - I couldn't figure out how they were doing it...can you? The person at the top had no visible means of apparently floating in air other than they both held the stick.

 There were so many medieval alleys to explore!

I love how the second and third floors jut out over the street - look out below!

My first glimpse of Yorkminster from the ground.

It seemed to loom over me wherever I went.

A couple of the "snickleways" found between buildings - I explored every one I came across :)

The west facade of Yorkminster - I'll explore it more tomorrow!

Constantine the Great - he was proclaimed Emporer in Eboracum (now York) when his father died in 306AD. This city has an amazing history!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Saying Goodbye and arriving in York!

After a great night's sleep on what Annie thought was the KING of all mattresses (yup that's her checking out her bed and groaning with appreciation!) we hauled our suitcases to the bus stop in Bowness, which happened to be near the Kings Arms pub. Wee little village - fewer than 100 houses. 

As we waited for our bus to Carlisle I took a couple of photos (surprise!) of these yellow flowers...

...and the bust stop sign - we took the 10:20am bus. I know, pretty interesting stuff eh?

After we got let off the bus we followed a pair of female hikers to the train station - it wasn't too much of a trek, not for us seasoned hikers hah!

Annie took the last selfie of our trip - she had to take the selfies because her arms are longer than mine! - and we each headed in our own direction - me on to York (via Newcastle - yes back to where we started!) and Annie...well, she'll tell you her own story of getting back to the south of England!

The first thing I did when I arrived at the York train station was buy a city map so I could find my way to the various touristy destinations. Then, after being told there were NO buses to get to my Air B&B and then told to take 3 wrong buses (I didn't take them!) I decided a taxi would be best and arrived safely at my B&B around 4pm.

 I settled in to my POD and then went for a walk - I wanted to get to know my neighbourhood, take photos of the area (in case I got lost), get a few things to eat for my breakfast each day and then have an early night.

 Falconer St.

This sign was my landmark as my Air B&B street was off of Beech Ave.

On the way to the old city centre I walked past The Fox, an old Victorian pub built in 1873. I went there on my last night after a long walk around the city and I wanted a nice spot for a meal. However they only serve alcohol, no FOOD! I had a lovely pint in their garden area which was filled with picnic tables then had to look for a restaurant!

Continuing on my walk to the old city centre...

 I loved the shape of this curving building which didn't have much depth- not sure what it's original purpose was.

 My favourite - long lines of row houses.

 I found it was about a 20 minute walk to get to the old city centre and it was easy to find. I ended up at a Subway and had their "salad of the day" and a drink for only 3 pounds. It was fantastic! I stopped at my local "One Stop" store on my way back to my POD and bought a new tooth brush, some yogurt, bananas and breakfast bars, plus cream for my coffee/tea which was provided along with a nice cooler. Oh, and a bottle of Merlot! :)

I loved my Air B&B "Pod" - it was separate from the house - perhaps a former shed? It had a nice large living and sleeping area, a really nice bathroom and a little patio with chairs and a table.

I can't seem to upload the bed/sitting room but you get the idea. It was private and quiet and a walkable distance to everything I wanted to see. Tomorrow I explore!!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Final Hiking Day: Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway 8,000 kms!!! Photo Heavy Post!

Just kidding (sorta), but those 23km sure felt like 8,000!!  Trudge, trudge, trudge!

Here's a quote from my notes: "It was a long walk today - 23km and we were tired, hurting and really struggling to put one foot in front of the other. The road seemed never ending."

We met up with a fellow with a dog going in the opposite direction who asked us "are you ready for the long road?" He wasn't kidding! A lot of it was on the paved road which was hard on the feet and the River Eden and Scotland were on our right most of the journey. The fellow with the dog also asked us to tell the woman at the Kings Arm pub that he found his other "good" shoe and that she would know what he meant. Annie remembered to let her know :)  when we were there for dinner.

Now...on to the pictures for today's forced march hike!

Swans in the River Eden...

And a heron...

 A beautiful arched bridge with a ..... what is that in the distance?

It's a cow!

 It took a few minutes to leave Carlisle and the noise of construction behind us; the countryside was quieter and greener... here we go!

 The red doors on this old barn were just begging to be photographed!

 I think I look a bit scary in this photo - like I'm holding a knife or something!

There, that's better, looks like Annie's doing some ballet move :)

Wanted to find a 4 leaf clover but there wasn't enough time...

But we did find a cornfield - the first I've seen here in Merry Olde...

So quaint!

 We took photos of every signpost along the way - we were really into the countdown mode on our final day. We've come 3.5 miles so far.

There was a bit of a diversion but nothing serious. Just meant we had to walk on the road for awhile.

 I do enjoy a good cemetery!

 The lovely village of Beaumont.

What a fabulous spot for a snack! A bench built all the way around the tree!

 A bit of a sculpture garden.

Any hobbits at home?

 Sorry, another cemetery! I just liked how this one is framed by the trees and how the grave stones are silhouetted due to the sun peeking through.

Only 7.5 miles to go!!!

 We had a good lunch here & met up once again with the 6 Canadians plus the young woman, her husband and dogs. The fish cakes were delish! This was in Burgh by Sands I believe.

 6.25 miles to go...

There's Scotland across the River Eden - the tide was out so we could have walked over.

Slowly but surely...trudge trudge trudge!

There wasn't a lot to take photos of - one thing I noticed as we walked through any village - people put such lovely pretty things in their windows - I quite like that practice and wish I had window ledges in my house :(

Just because I love this sign! Wouldn't you love to be able to say you're from Whitrigglees?

 I liked the idea of ladies chatting over the cottage gate :)

A short but welcome respite from the sun and paved roads. It was the warmest day of our hike no doubt because we were so close to sea level instead of up in the hills.

 Let's walk to Scotland!

 Back in amongst the trees one last time!

Getting excited!!!

Back on the road again...

 We met an old fellow who adds to his income by putting signs up showing how far people had travelled and taking their photos- London, Ontario is actually further than 3151kms but at this point we didn't really care.

 It was pretty wonderful to be walking in T-shirts!

 Time for one more selfie in front of the Bowness on Solway sign.  We're here! We did it!!

Where's the parade? It's a pretty quiet place!

 Wait little girl - are you the parade??

Nope... (but isn't she a picture!)

 We found the official end of the trail and got our final stamp in our passports.

Ahhhhhhh...this is what I was looking for!!

 There's free beer tomorrow!! Annie and I quietly celebrated completing the trail. We met another hiker who had walked the entire trail in 3 days by getting up at 5am and walking about 18 hours a day! Now, what is the fun in that I ask you!? He then went on to say "it's not how quick you do it, it's THAT you do it!" Well we did it!

While at the pub we got a Hadrian's Wall pin and certificate showing that we had walked all of Hadrian's Wall trail - woot woot!!

 Bowness is very small and we just had to go around the corner from the pub and walk down the street to the B&B which is in the former manse of this old church.

 There it is!! It was soooooo nice - the bathroom was full of lotions and potions and soaps and gels and a BATHTUB! Absolute luxury! There was even muscle relieving bubble bath (which we used of course!)

We went back to the pub for dinner after a good soak and I had vegetarian lasagna (with the inevitable chips), another pint of course and a double scotch because I deserved it!! :)

Then walking back we noticed the "super moon" - first time we'd really seen the moon all week!

 The perfect ending... an amazing week!