Early autumnal morning. It is still dark outside. I was waiting for this day for a very long time, so although I slept poorly, I woke up with great enthusiasm. As I stepped in outside, I instantly felt cold. “It’s good that it will be sunny up in York today” – I thought to myself, but still double checked weather forecast.
At 7:08 my train departs from King’s Cross station in London. I’m going to York – city I was dreaming about for months but didn’t find time to go to; city that once belonged to Danish and later to Norwegian Vikings, and now it is one of the most visited cities in England.
After an hour into my journey, the sky gets clearer and clearer and the sun comes out. I try to read a book but cannot focus – I keep looking through the window even though surroundings look quite similar to what I have seen before traveling to other places in England. Though, I have never been further up in north from London than Cambridge (and that is not north at all!), so I keep looking through the window and smiling to myself – it’s going to be a good day!
I arrive to York at 9:25am and although I wanted to visit the National Railway Museum first, it opens only at 10 o’clock. I am leaving this museum to the end of the day and starting from the City Walls and some areas around the Rowntree park. I want to see more of York, not just the city centre. I am slowly walking on the west side of the City Wall. Local people smile and say hello when passing by – I feel like on one of my countryside walks.
After crossing the Blue Bridge and now walking along the river Ouse, city noise changes to a beautiful calmness. Quite a few people are walking this road but it feels like they talk quietly as all I can hear are birds and rustling leaves. I look up to the sky – a clear and beautifully blue sky with no planes or their white lines left in the sky.
I crossed the river via the Millennium bridge and been walking around the surrounding areas for a little while before I came back to the City Wall again. North part of the City Wall attracts tourists the most as it is closest to the city centre. I am walking the last bit of the City Wall and start thinking where I could sit down to warm up and have a lunch when I come down to the city centre. My choice is the Goji café – a vegetarian and vegan place where I have chosen the most delicious burger with sweet potato wedges and side salad along with a black coffee. After sitting almost an hour at this lovely café, the next three hours I am going to spend in the city centre.
When exploring a city, I never just go from one point to another but rather just walking around turning from one little allay to a large square, to a road. Finally, I reach the Shambles – one of the most known streets in England. 14th century houses look magnificent! In 1872 there were 25 butcher shops in the Shambles, and now sweets, jewellery and craft’s shops took their places. To be honest, I expected either longer street or more of those beautiful old houses.
York is preparing for the Christmas market – two long rows of wooden kiosks are in place already and Viking themed pop-up bar in a tent has been built as well. And when it comes to Vikings, I would love to learn more about them, so I am thinking to visit the Vikings museum when I have more time in York. Maybe my next trip to this city will be in February during the yearly Vikings festival. At the same time, I am hoping to visit the National Railway museum. I popped in the museum for half an hour and realised that it is absolutely worth of spending a few hours in. It’s a little strange for me to say that, as I am not a big museums enthusiast and usually just quickly walk around and leave the museum. But this Railway museum really caught my eye.
I have to say it was a long three hours in a little city centre – I walked around it three or four times. Now I am slowly walking to the rail station and come 30 minutes before my train’s departure – enough time to buy a sandwich and a coffee for my journey. Unfortunately, my train has been cancelled. Even though now I have one hour before train departures, I don’t want to come back to the city centre. It’s getting dark and really cold outside. I’m sitting in a warm waiting room and slowly sipping my almond milk latte. Train is delay – at first, 20 minutes, then a screen in the waiting room announce 50-minute delay. Train is here! Everyone gets aboard but train is still not moving – medical emergency and so train is delay additional 20 or 30 minutes.
Finally, two hours later than planned, I am back to London – to my beloved city. Sometimes I get tired of crowded trains and buses in London, and a terrible air pollution. But then I visit another city which potentially could be my new home and realise how much I love London after all, especially it’s green and lovely areas in north.