"Top Gear"

Trip Start Sep 22, 2012
Trip End Oct 19, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Today we undertake what many English seem to think off as madness... a four hour drive in one morning! We rise early, farewell the Dog Inn and hit the M1 to York. A drizzly morning clears to mostly blue skies. It is four hours of freeway, inter-city trucks and endless speed camera signs that often have no camera associated with them.

When they do, they are unmissable big, bright yellow boxes or mounted all the way across overhead gantries. Nothing as devious as our hidden or car-mounted ones... we hope! Still, at a maximum speed of 70mph (120kph), we are happy to maintain the speed limit while others zip pass.

Ian has done the bulk of the driving so far but we are both happy with this Ford Galaxy 4x4. It handles well and is comfortable inside. It is a diesel and we have only just refilled the tank. The electronic dashboard says we are using 41.5mpg... 17.5litres/100km.

Diesel is averaging £1.44 per litre = AU$2.28 per litre.

I continue to navigate using my iPad and Google maps. I bought a £10 UK sim for it in London... far cheaper than hiring a GPS with the car and much more versatile! The M1 bypasses Nottingham, Leeds and Sheffield through the Midlands with no outstanding scenery. Closer to York, there are signs of the recent flooding in the fields. Before long, we pull into York city and the Hillcrest Guest House for lunchtime.

It is a short walk into the city centre where we find the narrow lanes of the old town and then the magnificent York Minster. It is one of the largest of it's kind in Europe and a striking example of Gothic stone work. Parts of the minster are over 700 years old and the 76-foot (23 m) tall Great East Window, created in the early fifteenth century, is the largest example of medieval stained glass in the world! Someone is playing the huge organ which elevates the atmosphere an extra notch or three.

Hilary and I pay the extra pounds to climb to the top of the minster's centre tower... over 200 narrow spiralling stairs. It affords excellent views of the city, the stonemasonry and the city walls.

York is ringed by nearly 5km of Roman walls and associated gatehouses dating from 71 AD. We cross the River Ouse and walk atop the western/south-western wall. Locals walking home from work and joggers pass us and l am amazed that something so old and special is so freely accessible to all. The outer edges have their high turreted walls but long stretches of the inner edge are unguarded with a long stretch of grassy slope below. Parts that cut through built-up areas have had metal fencing installed - although even this looks old!

Dinner tonight is an excellent Indian meal nearby. We walk home in a light drizzle and detect a definite drop in air temperature...

We have tried a hotel, B&B, country pub and now a guest house. And tonight is our first 'family' room - all of us in together. It's much cheaper than two rooms but Hilary and Ian unanimously renouce that virtue and request two rooms after York, anticipating two nights here of quadrupled snoring!
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liz on

Looks like you are having a great time - glad you made it to York - a beautiful cathedral I remember. And you are doing very well with the TV show titles - can you keep it up?

Lisa on

Loved this place...any shopping in the Shambles?

jo on

beautiful photography Jenny
enjoying traveling with yous all!

Pauline on

Loved York when I was there many years ago, seeing your beautiful photos makes me want to go back again

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