To York, and beyond!
Trip Start Aug 16, 2005
9Trip End Ongoing
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Alright, so, my day...
I got up at about 8 this morning, took a nice bath, packed my bags up, had some breakfast, and set out for the bus station. I took the very scenic route, changing buses a few times along the way (took city buses to the coach bus station near Victoria). Traffic was atrocious, and what should have taken maybe half an hour took 2 hours. At one point I considered just getting out and walking, but with my heavy load, and all the walking I have been doing, I decided just to sit there and take in the city one last time.
By the time I made it to the coach station and got in line to buy my ticket, it was already 20 till 1:00, the time my bus was set to leave. Luckily the very long line moved quickly, and I made it to the bus with about 5 minutes to spare! Only problem was, I didn't have time to stop and have lunch, or get on the internet, or buy a power converter or batteries. Oh well. C'est la vie, all is well.
So, it was a lovely 5 hour ride from London to York. I sat next to a man from London and we talked quite a bit. I also took a couple of naps, and watched a lot of scenery. It was very green, lots of trees and farms. I wished I could get out of the bus and just wander through the fields and forests, they all looked so inviting!
Once in York, I had no idea where to go. I hadn't been able to check my email, so I didn't know if I had someone to stay with or not. I went to the info center in the bus station, but it had closed 5 minutes earlier. I found an info kiosk and asked the guy where the nearest internet cafe was, he gave me a map and pointed me in the right direction, to a place about a 10 minute walk away. I had gotten maybe 100 feet from the bus station when fate smiled a big huge grin on me! I was walking along and a man and 2 boys were sort of taking up the whole sidewalk. I made my way to pass them and the guy started talking to me, quite the friendly chap! He invited me to walk along with them and I figured, hey, why not!? So, we walked along together and talked and within a minute or so he had offered me a place to stay with him and his boys. Wow! Talk about friendly and gracious! I had a good feeling about him, so figured I might just take him up on his offer. At the same time, I really wanted to check my email to see if one of my couchsurfers was available. They ended up escorting me to find the internet cafe, and even carried one of my bags! The cafe that I thought I was looking for was closed down, so I figured I would either just stay with them or go to a hostel. They were on their way to get dinner and invited me along. I was quite enjoying their company so I joined them.
They ended up going to McDonald's, as they could not find the Chinese place they were looking for. I had eaten a salad earlier, so decided just to have an ice cream. Brian asked what I wanted and I said I would get it, and he said "you will do no such thing!" I thanked him and told him I just wanted a McFlurry. He came back with the ice cream, a soda, a chicken sandwich, and fries (which I ate every single bite of). I was blown away! A total stranger extending such kindness, it was truly a blessing. We had a splendid time chatting it up over dinner. I was quite charmed by Ryan (5) and Daniel (10), his son and nephew. They offered again for me to stay with them in their tent just outside the city walls (not your normal campgrounds, they have a playstation there...). I had a book with several hostels listed and decided to give one of them a call. Brian let me use his cell phone (such a gent!) to call and check if they had a bed for the night. They did, and they also have internet and breakfast included, so I opted for the hostel. I have been craving the travellers' environment, so figured it was a good choice. We left McD's and headed in our separate directions. He did, however, get my travelpod address, and was going to give me his cell # but didn't know the number. He said that if I am still in town on Thursday, he would love to take me to the horse races and show me the ropes. Sounds like fun! We'll see what happens...
Leaving the company of Brian, Ryan, and Daniel, I felt so wonderful! This is just the kind of traveller's luck, kindness, serendipity, and all that goodness that really inspires me. There were 20 buses from London to York today, but I was drawn unmistakebly to the 1:00 bus. I wasn't worried about not having any sort of connection or plan for when I got to York, and I somehow had been having a feeling ever since looking at the bus schedule that if I took that bus I would meet someone wonderful as soon as I got to York. Amazing how the Universe works when you listen... ;)
I checked into my hostel and was quite happy. I tried to barter massage for the room, but no such luck. At any rate, it's only £13 for a bed for the night, and remember that includes breakfast. It turns out their internet sucks, so I am now down the street at an internet cafe (ironically, it's the one that I was looking for earlier. I found a cafe in the general area that I had been directed to, and thought that was the one, but it was closed down. Turns out that 20 feet down the road there was another one, which is where I had been directed to. But if I had found it earlier, I wouldn't have enjoyed dinner with my 3 Scottish friends, so it all worked out most perfectly indeed!). It's a cool joint, playing very American music, oldies, jazz, good stuff. It's also a bar and lounge, way cool environment. There is a bar downstairs from the hostel that is like 400 years old or something, candlelit, so I will hang out there later on. I like York so far. = )
Tomorrow I will have breakfast at the hostel and then head out to explore. There is a free city walls tour at 10:15, so I will do that for sure. Afterwards I will head out to a museum or two, and this church that is supposed to be amazing, it's like the oldest gothic church in all of England, or something like that. I'll know much more tomorrow... I'm not sure if I'll stay again tomorrow night or not, but I think I very well may. Then I do believe I'll head to Liverpool, and then take a train to Edinburgh. I haven't had any luck finding hosts in York or Liverpool, so it looks like I'll just do the hostel thing. So much for never paying for accomodations. Oh well. I did get free dinner. (Thanks again, Brian!!!)
Alrighty then, that's all from me for now. I am absolutely loving life and feeling the flow of Universal energy through and around me. Life is great!!!
Love and hugs,