Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Camping a la Snow-Jen

So 'I'll post something tomorrow' tuned into 'I'll post something in a week or 3' – been full of busy! But I'll start off with our trip away in York for Ian's birthday the weekend before last. This was his last birthday before he becomes old. Joking! He's the youngest 49 year old ever. In the history of the universe-sort of ever. He's the spitting double of Daniel Craig too– and Mr Bond will wish he looks that good at 50! 

After a long week of working and recovering from the mothers birthday we swallowed our tiredness and threw out our stresses, so that we could enjoy another worry-free weekend in the beautiful city of York. As always, we relish the chance to take the camper for a spin and drove her straight down after I'd finished work on Saturday morning. 

On arrival the weather– drum roll please– was BLISTERING HOT. That's right. 26 degrees of sunburny goodness for the whole day! Instead of enjoying this straight away we headed into the National Railway Museum to see the new Mallard exhibition. Don't get me wrong, I do love museums and I do think that trains are kinda cool but I (along with mother) wasn't very happy to be leaving once-in-a-thousand-years English sunshine to see a bunch of giant big-kid toys. So we queded. And we queded. Then 15 minutes in the sun queuing later (not that long I know) we were inside and there was no sunshine to be seen at all. The friendly Yorkshire staff were really lovely though, so brownie points to the museum for making our wait in the que slightly more tolerable!

So you know how I said I wasn't impressed at having to leave the sun to go see trains? I might be taking that back a little... Trains kick ass. Especially when they've been brought from all over the world to the NRM in York for your eyes only (and the thousands of other visitors, but you get the idea.... I was just trying to sound cool!). 

This bridge was actually from Percy Main, just around the corner from where I live! 

If your ever in York please please please go to this wonderful museum for a few hours, or even just half an hour and donate whatever you think your experience was worth as you pass one of the little donation boxes. As always, every penny counts and this museum is a real gem that is in need of constant support! All three of us agreed that we would be more than happy to pay to get in (entry is FREE) as it is well worth paying for. 

We came back out into the– even more dramatic drumroll please– blistering sunshine! Woohoo! After moving the camper we walked towards the city centre and popped into one of our favourite places to eat/drink in in York, Dyll's.

This tiny little cafe/bistro is set inside a turret on Skeldergate bridge (city side of the river), which is the second bridge down from the main grand-entrance-to-York bridge. Bridge bridge bridge bridge bridge. 

Not in likeness to Mary Poppins glorious bag, Dyll's is unfortunately too small to hold anything more than its tiny counter on the ground floor, teeny kitchen and even teenier toilet on the first floor and what must be the teeny-tiniest room ever on the elusive 2nd floor– 'staff only'. So all customers will be found lounging by the river around the base of the turret, which is much better than being couped up inside a smaller-than-is-really-comfortable room in a turret on a bridge.

 We chilled for a while with Pimm's and ordered two Thai salads for me and Angie and a BLT for the paps– both were lovely, but the salad in particular was 'No way am I sharing this with any of you' good. 

Nicely full, we wandered into the throng of drunken post race-day laddettes and gentlewomen to have a gander and stop for a drink at the Judges. Not like a real judge, but like the bar, not that you wouldn't have guessed. I have so much faith in you! As northerners often do, we ended up having a natter with some drunken young guys from Leeds. I don't mean that northerners always end up chatting to a group of lads from Leeds, I mean they always end up nattering with someone or other– see, so much faith!

A few laughs later we headed back to the van, cracked open the champagne, devoured some Lindt and cheese then wildcamped by the river. Great great day.

Day 2 was spent perusing the cute market of York and shambling up the Shambles after talking a nice stroll along the city walls.

You get to see so much more of the city if you walk the wall, seriously you don't realise what the city is actually like until you walk the wall.

For the past ten years I didn't even realise that there were normal houses inside the city walls. I was under the impression it was just shambles, cathedral, medieval buildings and b&b's. Oh the wonder that is Naivety!

On our way through the centre we had a look in a shop where the walls are lined with clay or glass giant barrel/beaker type things filled with oils, vinaigrettes, alcohol and liqueurs.

You can taste any you like and then choose from a sweet selection of glass jars to take your favourites home with you. 

Most big cities have one of these, usually in a department store like Fenwicks (is Fenwicks just a Newcastle thing?) or John Lewis if you ever want to refill your jars! We got a mix of chilli oil with mango vinaigrette in one and Ian got himself a vanilla liqueur (a bit like baileys) in a John-Paul Gaultier style bottle. 

We always end up randomly turning up at places when there's some big event on, like a few years ago we went on a driving holiday in Italy and decided to go to Venice for a few days; when we got there it just so happened to be the 'Festa del Redentore', a weekend celebration of the end of the plague epidemic in 1576. A church was built on the Giudecca by Andrea Palladio named Il Redentore (The Redeemer) to celebrate and mark an end to the long suffering Venetians. Every year in July a pontoon bridge is built so that pilgrimages can be made across the canal to the church. Even if you're not religious, this is an incredible festival. Before the religious business on the Sunday, the lagoon between the Giudecca, San Giorgio, the Punta della Dogana and St Mark's is jam packed with boats of happy-chappies on Saturday night before the colossal fireworks display brings in the next day in true Venetian style. Nearly 5 years on and that is still THE best fireworks display I have ever seen in my life. I mean an evening in Venice, on a special once-a-year bridge, with fireworks timed perfectly to true Italian opera, whilst being surrounded by boats full of happy drunken strangers? I don't know what could be better. 

Getting back to the point, the event that was on in York was a charitable dragon boat race– also a once a year occasion. Not as breathtaking as fireworks, but we had a nice afternoon chilling by the river watching the teams plough up and down the Ouse. 

Sufficiently sunburnt and ready for food, we headed back to pick up our oil and liqueur then went to the old all girls school next door for an Italians. Ex-old all girls school, I might add. Earlier in the day they'd been standing outside offering out free slices of pizza– we didn't mind if we did!! 

Very good marketing ploy however, we were that impressed we came back and ordered the exact same pizza we'd had earlier on! 

One of the best shots from the whole weekend. Priceless.

Mum got that, I got a beautifully light and tasty buffalo mozzarella salad and Ian stayed traditional with Carbonara. 

Oh I do like to spend the weekend in York, but the seaside was calling me home. 

1 comment:

  1. Read your blog Amy about York, enjoyed it looking forward to your next one after your holiday! xxx