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Sat 7th - Thur 12th April 2018

This time, it was Yorkshire

After last year’s Lancashire-based tour (Manchester and Liverpool), it had to be Yorkshire this time to avoid another War of the Roses ….

T
he Four Seasons taxi managed to pick up 8 participants at their various homesand get them to Munich in time and to meet Bediha and Ömer, who had had to travel separately. Monarch Airlines having gone bust, no flight from Innsbruck was possible. Flexi Travel and our member Herbert Steiner dealt very expertly with this problem and were able to get 10 flights from Munich as well as the door to door taxi service for us. Due to some delays – one at Munich Airport another one at Manchester Airport (AB’s suitcases were among the last to appear on the conveyor belt!) and some accidents – two broken trolley wheels and a nearly broken hand – AB missed two trains to York. Yet the friendly Railway people exchanged the tickets each time.

Thanks to Hazel, our guide, and Heinz, the co-guide, we found the shortest way to the Queens Hotel, where the rooms and a delicious evening meal were waiting. Whereas people at the Airport had rejected any out-dated pound notes, the friendly hotel staff first accepted them from Gerti, but then slyly wanted to pay them back to other people of the group.

Sunday 8th started with the first real Englishbreakfast: only hot dishes, no cold meat, vegetables and no rolls etc., only cereals and toast with the typical British spreads – marmalade, jam, honey and of course, Marmite. Then our party of 10 set out for Holy Service at York Minster - because this is the only way to discover the interior of the church without charge . After an extensive tour to discover the outside, came a walk on the famous York city walls, which we had already admired from below on our way to the hotel. The weather was splendid, yet a little cold for us Continentals, not for some English ladies, though, insisting on their summer outfits with short sleeves. The daffodils were in full bloom everywhere and we had to pass through the city “bars”, gateways where Hazel used to cycle in her days as a young radiographer. We continued Memory Lane and stopped at The Perky Peacock for lunch, where we almost managed to get one table for 10 inside. Several true Brits preferred to sit down outside, however.


A
fterwards we left the walls to step down into the city and enjoy its various other sights. We strolled through the Shambles, admired the overhanging houses and the hooks from which carcasses were hung and the shelves on which meat was laid out. We arrived at the Merchant Adventurer’s Hall just in time to see a mother duck walking her ducklings and to get around the place in a decent time before closure.

A
nother walk back towards the hotel along the riverand we felt a bit tired and had to rest before the inevitable Sunday dinner at The Golden Fleece. Somehow the e-mail correspondence between Hazel and the pub had not worked properly so there were not enough of the Sunday roasts. But the staff was very friendly and gave us the (first) drinks free to make up for the “inconvenience” caused.

M
onday 9th started with a walk to the station, where we picked up the two carsthat were to be our vehicles for two excursions. Reinhold (with GPS) and Heinz (without) were our drivers. The first trip was to Whitby through the North Yorkshire Moors. When we had found our way through the moors and admired (and photographed) the sheep, The Lion pub at the highest point and Helmsley village green, we arrived at the place so dear to James Cook, the explorer, and Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.

B
ut Hazel first headed towards a bank ready to exchange all the outdated banknotes and (and even coins) in the various Austrian purses and briefcases. Provided with brand new banknotes and coins, AB then opted for a Fish’n Chips to spend them. Only Heide preferred cream tea for lunch. With all strength regained, the 199 steps to Whitby Abbey could be attacked. From there we admired James Cook’s statue from afar and listened to Heinz telling us about the explorer’s life and quoting passages from “Dracula.”

O
n the way down everybody admired the famous jet and the fish’n chips fans finally had their cream tea (or coffee).

On the way back towards Stockton on the Forest, the stop at Goathland railway station (Hogwarts station for the Harry Potter fans!) was a must. We even took the time to film a steam train going through. At Stockton, The Fox was waiting, another picturesque pub. The Monday night dinner was as delicious as the one on Sunday. The way to the hotel was easier to find for the car with GPS. Thanks to the many deviations we got to know some parts of York extremely well, though.

Tuesday (10th) started out in the rain. And the rain accompanied us to the Yorkshire Dales. Miraculously, it stopped as soon as we got out for the first sight: Bingley Five Rise, on the Leeds Liverpool Canal, with its five locks connected together without intermediate ponds.

H
einz and Reinhold steered us safely through the spells of mist that were a foretaste of Brontë Village, actually Haworth, where we visited what was to be seen outside. Heinz told us about the Brontë family and Hazel remembered what she had had to visit inside in her schooldays. The only inside attraction for us, however, was Emma’s, where we had lunch. We admired Bolton Abbey from within the cars, before continuing through the Yorkshire Dales National Park with a stop in Grassington and then re-tracing our steps after Hazel had guided us through the other small village of Kettlewell.

O
ur way back to York was through the National Park, with a final stop in Rippon. The rain had stopped and wehad a pleasant walk through a park to visit the peaceful cathedral. From there towards Upper Poppleton with The Red Lion – you guessed it: the next item on our list of pubs worth visiting. On getting back into York we noticed that the river near our hotel had visibly risen during our absence, but no danger of floods yet.

W
ednesday (11th) saw us back at the station. First, the cars had to be returned and then there was our train ride to Harrogate. Advised by Hazel and Heinz, we did NOT go to Betty’s although it was the first thingwe saw of Harrogate, instead, we discovered the famous resort, where fashionable people used to “take the waters.” After an extensive tour of the town, we had our lunch at Jenny’s tea shop, decidedly as good as Betty’s(if not better) and definitely less expensive. So some people had enough money left to spend it on famous alcoholic beverages. (Slingsby, to gin lovers)

T
he afternoon back in York was either spent at The National Railway Museum or on the other half of the city walls and important places (those not visited on Sunday). Those not visiting the Railway Museum chose the The 3 Tuns, another of York’s really old pubs, for our evening meal. This one even served us Spotted Dick for Pudding.

A
las, Thursday (12th) came all too soon. We said good-bye to Hazel, who was off for Edinburgh, and the party of nine returned to Manchester Airport. This time the plane was not delayed too much and at Munich Airport, we immediately found the taxi drivers waiting for us. We persuaded them that nine people did not need three taxis and that Tom did not insist on having a taxi all to himself. So, it was good-bye to everybody again. Thank you, Hazel, for organising, thanks Heinz for the very interesting information and thank you, Heinz and Reinhold for driving us safely through the landscape. We’ll be back soon ….


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