On To York

We managed to rent a car from York train station today. None of us even thought about booking the rental online after we checked prices the other day. I was hoping to be be able to pay cash for the car but all car rental companies seem to prefer a major credit card instead of cash. Looks like we’ll have to pay foreign exchange fees after all once we get back to Ontario. The booking experience was interesting. We arrived at the Alamo desk at York Station looking for a two week rental with a drop at Birmingham Airport. Simon, our clerk, had a rental for us but without an online booking already in place, he couldn’t give us the car until tomorrow. However with an online booking, he could advance the booking by one day and let us have the car later this afternoon. So off we went to a coffee shop next door to make a reservation using my iPad. Thank goodness for my O2 3G SIM card as there wasn’t a free wifi signal to be had in the train station. We had the booking made quickly enough and went back to the rental office where Simon promised to have a diesel VW Golf ready for us by 3:00 pm.

We’ve all been to York before and the city really is a wonderful place to tromp around and explore. The girls hit the shops inside this ancient walled city which dates back to Viking and Roman times, while Jim and I strolled about admiring the architecture. Typical of any city, there was lots of hustle and bustle with people coming and going on foot, bicycle, car and bus. The Shambles is perhaps the oldest area of the city and dates back to 1606. It has been a popular market and shopping area since that time. The boys managed to grab a couple of Cornish pasties from a bake shop while the girls nipped in and out of the shops. Steak & Ale pastie for Jim and Steak & Stilton pastie for me. Piping hot and wonderful to eat from a paper bag as we continued our stroll. Some time later the girls were ready for something to eat and we all popped in to the Shambles Tea Room so the girls could have a toastie.

York Minster is a huge cathedral in the center of the city which we have visited many times in the past. Much of it is under scaffold at the moment while extensive repairs are done on the turrets and other areas. It always nice to see historic buildings kept in good repair but the scaffolding didn’t make for good photos I’m afraid. I managed a few shots though. We hiked some of the wall around the city until we realized it was getting late. We still had to get back to pick up our rental car and also find a little supper before heading back to Castleton with both cars for our last night in our self catering flat.

Simon had our car ready for us. Our Garmin GPS took a few minutes to find satellites using our new Europe maps but we were quickly on our way out of York station into rush hour traffic in York. I’ve driven in England many times over the years so driving on the left side of the road isn’t a problem. We followed Jim & Jane out of the train station into stop and go traffic for about half an hour before we finally reached the A-64 and headed eastward where we eventually stopped for supper at a roadside restaurant advertising 2 meals for £9.95 that we’d spotted on the way into town. Supper was wonderful and at a good price too. Chris & I enjoyed roast pork, yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes with mixed vegetables.

The drive back to Castleton gave me a chance to test my driving skills in our rather peppy VW Golf TDI with manual transmission on some of the twisty, narrow back roads back up over the Moors. The car is very responsive and we registered an astonishing 57 mpg on our return trip. Could someone please tell me why North American vehicles do not get such great fuel mileage? North American vehicles seem very hard pressed to get even 30 mpg in most cases and often less than that when city driving.

Once back at our flat, we cleaned out all the bits in the refrigerator before sitting down for our last game of hand and foot canasta. We’ve enjoyed playing Boys vs Girls since our trip to Alaska together in 2009 and as luck would have it the Boys seem to come out on top more often than not. Our last games tonight were no exception with the Boys earning another much deserved victory. We’ve been assured by the girls that it’s only luck and there is absolutely no skill involved in all our canasta wins. Perhaps…..perhaps not.

Tomorrow morning we pack things up and head for Filey while Jim & Jane head back to Solihull and a date with their dog breeder in order to pick up Miss Molly, their new Yorkie puppy.