Wensleydale, Ilkley and back to Leeds to meet a special lady

Our last full day in Leeds was all about getting home and getting ready to head to Dublin tomorrow. When I posted last night we were on our way out to dinner at the Wensleydale Heifer. Their food is the main draw to the inn. It makes it a destination and the reputation for food is well deserved. I wish I had taken more photos but you will have to settle for dessert photos.

After a very filling dinner it was off to bed, a good night’s sleep and then I had my encounter with the Wensleydale Heifer shower. Our room came with a spa jacuzzi tub (that if you tried to fill it with hot water, would have taken more than an hour—worst water pressure ever) and a shower in that tub. No matter how I tried, I could not get that shower to turn on. Tried for more than an hour. Of course I did try to call the front desk to ask them what the trick was but that’s when I found out that no one is at the front desk until 8:00 am. Seriously, no night manager.

Finally at 7:30 I went down and found a very nice lady who was cleaning the lobby and she told me to look for a black cord on the opposite side of the bathroom and to pull it. If I did that the shower would come on. Seriously? How were we supposed to know that. At first I thought it was a British thing but Paul and Gail said they had never heard of it. Just crazy. Thankfully we did finally get showers (still worst water pressure ever!) Other than this one thing, the hotel and especially the restaurant were outstanding.

After a large and really great breakfast we were headed off to Leeds by way of some of the narrowest roads we have ever driven on. It was crazy. Paul did an amazing job of getting us back. We had considered a stop in Grassington but when we got there it was POURING rain and we decided to forego a stop.

It was on to Ilkley where we stopped for our last proper Yorkshire tea at the Ilkley Bettys (remember, no apostrophe) and one last Fat Rascal. After that (since the sun had finally started coming out and the rain had stopped) we decided to walk around Ilkley before heading back to Paul and Gail’s.

When we arrived back at their place we got to meet the best (and definitely the cutest) person we met on this trip, their adorable granddaughter, Jemima. We have never met such a smart and creative six year old (in case Maylee reads this, remember you are only five) and she was a true charmer. And Paul and Gail are obviously very proud and loving grandparents (another thing we have in common).

I am finishing up early tonight because we are going to dinner in a few minutes and then we will come back, watch a little more Britain’s Got Talent and then off to bed as we have to leave for the airport at 6:00 am to fly from Leeds to Dublin. See you there.

You have to accept the storms and the rainy days and the things in life that you sometimes don’t want to face. — Bai Ling

Late to Leeds but we saw it all

Last night (Monday) my cold was at it’s worst so I popped two NyQuil tablets and that was a big mistake when it came to today. It knocked me out and that meant we didn’t get out the door this morning (Tuesday) until well past 10:00. But that was OK because Paul and Gail had planned today as a local day where we could see the local sites and architecture of Leeds which is amazing. I am going to let the photos speak for themselves. They don’t even really need captions. We had a nice lunch in a kind of a food court (where Gail recommended an outstanding Vietnamese salad) and headed home so that I could take a nap and try and kill this stupid cold.

After a little rest we set out tonight to go back to Harrogate for a lovely Italian dinner and then we stopped at the Bingley Arms, Great Britain’s oldest inn. Now I have to say that this is a pretty broad claim to fame but they have historical proof that this inn was founded in that same building in the year 970. That means this inn dates back more than 1000 years. Amazing. Think about what Washington State (or any other state) was like 970. A few native tribes and that was it (probably a lot better off than it is now). We were very lucky to come in on a Tuesday night when there was a very light crowd of regulars who were happy to tell us all about the Bingley and her history. The manager of the inn even took a few minutes to give us a quick tour and show us things like the “Priest Holes” which were holes carved into the inside of the fireplace in the main inn where Catholic priests could hide to evade capture and execution after Henry the Eighth founded the Anglican Church and ordered all priests to leave England or die. I even got to go in the basement to see the start of the tunnel that leads under the road outside to the church across the highway.

Stay tuned tomorrow. Not sure if I will be able to post on Wednesday as we are headed to Wensleydale and the Lakes district and will be overnighting at the Wensleydale Heifer. Not sure if I will be able to post. May have to wait until Thursday.

That was about it for yesterday. As I said, a very easy day.

What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past. —Victor Hugo

Whitby & Scarborough (Scar bruh)

Castle HowardBefore I even start telling you about today,  I have been very neglectful in not telling you about where we have been staying with our friends Gail and Paul Howard. We have been guests at their home since Saturday night and will be here until we go to Dublin on Friday. They just call their place, home but we call it Castle Howard. Here’s a picture and you can see why and the link will tell you all about it. It’s quite the place and we have loved meeting all their staff and the entire court. 😀

Back to our travels—we have been getting quite the education about proper British pronunciation. So today we learned that Scarborough is pronounced Scar Bruh. We were there today and I didn’t see a single scar or a single bruh. Everyone had great skin and my brutha was still back in California. But it’s still pronounced that way.

Today was beach day. We were out the door at 9:00 am and headed to the North Sea (doesn’t that sound cold) coast, first to Whitby and then to Scarbruh.

Whitby is quite the town. We parked and walked it from one end to the other as well as crossing the old swing bridge and going up the other side of town. Then Paul and I went all the way up the 199 old stone steps to see the Abbey. Paul was very surprised at the Abbey with its brand new visitor center. When he was last here three years ago with our fellow Martini Mates Mike and Carol, it hadn’t been in existence and you could not walk around the ruins of the Abbey. The Abbey itself was built in 1539 but there has been a church on this site since 604 AD. (Now that’s old.) And not only that but the author Bram Stoker set part of his novel Dracula here as well. Paul and I climbed the hill and walked all around. Please see my photos for more. They are at the bottom of this post.

Yorkshire Day 3-115After descending and finding Kathleen and Gail ensconced in a cute little pub, (Gail having a cuppa and Kathleen tasting an ale), we headed back down the hill to the village to see if we could get in the line at the Magpie Cafe which as Paul related to us a number of times, has the “Best Fish and Chips in England.” I have to say, he may be right. After standing in line outside for about 20 minutes we had some incredible fish and chips. If you go to Whitby, eat there. It is worth the wait…which may be much longer.

After our wonderful and very filling lunch, we were off to the car to continue onward to the seaside town of Scarbruh. The best way to tell you about this is through the captions on my photos so please see those below. That was our day. We did a slow slog back to Castle Howard due to everyone coming home from the Bank Holiday (which is today) and once we got here that was it. There was a lively discussion about what to have for dinner but my cold is so bad, I knew I would not be able to taste anything so while I write this, Kathleen, Paul and Gail are having some of his world famous Yorkshire scrambled eggs in the kitchen.

Some of my fondest memories are holidays by the seaside. —Mary Berry