Sunday, November 24, 2013

Contiki England and Scotland Day 2: From Liverpool to York

Contiki England and Scotland

Day 2 
Liverpool to York

Before heading off to York in the morning, we had a little extra time to explore and check out some extra locations. And so my cousin and I and a few extra tour mates decided to head up and check out the Liverpool Cathedral, Europe's largest Anglican cathedral. It's a somewhat short walk up, around 10-15 minutes from the Ibis hotel, and it's definitely worth it as this place is incredibly massive and has some, shall we say, unique traits. That's right this religious domicile comes complete with a neon sign within, a cafe, where if the need calls you can grab a cold one and don't forget to complete the experience with a drunk dial in the Cathedral's phone booth.


With a bit of time to spare, we eventually made our way back to the Ibis to garner some extra free Wi-Fi time before heading on to the bus to make our way to the historic and apparently most haunted city in Europe, York.

The drive from Liverpool to York isn't terribly far, so naturally just after dozing off, Roxy's cheerful voice greeted the bus with another Wakey Wakey to give us our map, a short history and the lowdown on what to see and do while in York and where to meet up for the ghost walk, if we signed up for it, and the second group dinner.

After pulling in to this beautifully historic city though, Roxy gave us a quick walking tour to show us the must see spots that she told us about on the bus, which helped to orient us as well, then we were on our own until later. Now York is to me definitely one of those cities to just walk around and get lost in, traveling down the little alley ways in between streets, stumbling into little shops and just happily snapping away, there's not a place that will disappoint here. On the check list of British cities to come back to York is definitely it.

York Castle, or what's left over the castle over time serves as the main meeting place before heading out to dinner with the group. You can also, with paid admission, take a tour of this historic castle.

The Shambles

York Minster

The ruins of St. Leonard's Hospital.

The Multangular Tower.

Now since York is known as the most haunted city in Europe, I couldn't leave without a ghost photo. So through some in camera trickery (long exposure and nimble feet) and the help of my cousin, I present the ghost of the ruins of St. Leonard's Hospital in York.

I seriously wish we had more time to walk around and take photos, but alas it was time to meet up with the group back at York castle for dinner. Now, I almost want to laugh when they say that here in the States we have a huge portions for our meals compared to other countries, because every time we had a group meal, the portions were absolutely enormous, I usually couldn't finish them. Don't get me wrong they were delicious, but seriously it was a lot of food, at least we were getting some bang for our buck.

After dinner, it was time to head out for the ghost walk with our tour guide, whose name sadly eludes me. He met us outside the restaurant to give us the basics of the tour before walking out to the first location of the walk, after that it was really hard to hear what he was saying almost the whole time. It probably didn't help that I was towards the back of the group most of the time taking photos of the formally bustling streets, but halfway through I just ended up giving up. If we got to a spot where I could hear, some loud drunken group of passerby's would drown him out. I'm not too disheartened though as I think that only cost about £7 and I caught a small earful of interesting stories a small bits of the history that surrounded them. 

I fell victim to "everyone is taking a photo of it, so it must be important, so I'll take a picture too," and at the time I had no clue of its story or significance, I was tired, forgive me. After a short bit of Internet research the little devil is apparently an old symbol left from the business that used to occupy the adjacent shop, a Printer who in ye olde days had apprentices known as Printers Devils. 

Unfortunately we had to leave the amazingly beautiful and historic city of York for our hotel at the Holiday Inn in Leeds. And when I say unfortunately, I mean that on two different levels, the first being that this would've totally been one of the cities I wouldn't mind staying out and slinging back a few pints, then stumbling out in to the night to take photos. And, well the second reason of not wanting to leave, is that the Holiday Inn in Leeds was the worst hotel we stayed in during our trip, in my opinion. Upon checking in there was some sort of clear liquid pooled on the bathroom floor, which was gross, black mold around the tub, a funky smell and two giant mosquitoes flouncing about and my minor germaphobe self was not to happy. 

Extra Tips:

* Make sure to visit a Tesco and stock up on some drinks (water or beer), snacks and some 
   breakfast items during the trip.

* Fellow Americans, when ordering a glass of lemonade in the United Kingdom, you're not going 
   to get that summertime refreshment we all love, but will instead be getting a glass of Sprite or 

The next blog post will be about my third day on tour from York to the Lake District. 

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