Wednesday, September 29, 1999
The proprietor "knocked us up" at "seven past," as they say in English, and fed us a large breakfast. We packed up and left our luggage at the B&B, and then went out to see the town. Jana’s camera batteries went bad, and she had to spend £22 for new ones. In Tennessee they were $15. Yikes!
First we went to York Minster, Europe’s largest medieval cathedral, but it was closed till 1:30 for a church function. Anyway, it looks cool from the outside! Next we walked around the city walls - very cool! Our tourist map aided us in identifying the more important sights. We came down off the wall at Monk Bar and walked through the Shambles, which was quite quaint.
A walk on the wall in York
I elected to go grab a pint while Jana, BK and Stine went to the Jorvik Viking Center. I have had more than my share of things Viking from my Scandinavia trip. The Jorvik Viking Center is actually on the site of some ruins of a 9th century Viking settlement, but they managed to dumb it up really well for the tourists. At Jorvik you travel in a "time car" back to a re-creation of what the town must have been like back then, complete with smells. Jana, BK and Stine tell me it sure didn’t smell like flowers! It was fun for the campiness, however.
We headed back over to the Minster so we could check it real quick before we had to leave, and of course it opened 10 or 15 minutes late. We only had about 45 minutes by the time it opened up, so Jana and I split from BK and Stine and climbed up the central tower and were rewarded with spectacular views of York. They stayed down at the lower level and marveled at the stained glass and other decor. Between the four of us, we pretty much did the whole experience.
We caught a train to Newcastle, then a bus to the ferry terminal. We all had a good laugh at how adept the British are at creating jobs. For example, our luggage was taken from us and transported 100 yards down the parking lot where we picked it up again. Lots of employees were wandering around doing things that didn't need to be done or would have been easier for us to do ourselves. Oh well, who cares, because we’re on our way to Amsterdam!
Jana, BK, and Stine boarding the ferry
On our way out of the harbor, we got mooned several times by a guy on shore. Is that the British way of saying bon voyage?
The Captain and his Mate
Four people in one cabin was a pretty tight fit, so we spent the majority of our time in the bar. Unlike many other Europe ferries, there was no casino, no buffet, and no duty-free. We met a Brit named Andrew in the bar and he bought us all drinks. Good fellow. I finished the Jim Beam rye out on the deck in the wintery North Sea wind. It was exhilerating! Jana tells me I looked like a madman by the time she fetched me back indoors.