Trip Start Aug 16, 2005
9Trip End Ongoing
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Yay! Steiner mission accomplished!
I am absolutely loving York and very glad I came here. The hostel where I stayed last night is great, it's an old Gregorian-style house, very large. The shower and restroom facilities are fantastic (for a hostel), and breakfast was decent. The bed was a bit uncomfortable, but that didn't stop me from getting a good night's rest. I might stay there again tonight, not sure yet. I'm going to look into a couple of other possibilities before making any decisions. One way or another, I think I will do some laundry tonight. I did some washing in London in the sink, but there are actual washing machines at the hostel at a reasonable rate, and I think everything could use a good wash at this point (only a week, I really could hold off if I wanted to...)
I got up at 8 this morning and wandered down to the kitchen in my pj's to enjoy a bowl of cereal, toast with strawberry jam, and orange juice. Then I got dressed and packed up my things for the day. There is a place at the hostel to leave your things which is most handy, so I was able to travel light today. I left the hostel around 9:30 and went to where the free city walls tour was to start at 10:15.
The meeting place was easy to find and I got there about 15 minutes early. I sat down and journaled and then put on some sunscreen, as the sun was really blazing (the weather is gorgeous here today! I have been forgetting to mention the weather. In London, the weather was overall great, with a bit of oddness. It rains periodically every day. The rain will come in, last for 5-10 minutes, and then the sun comes back out. This happens several times a day, with the temperature dropping 5-10 degrees every time. Strange. It never bothered me, I actually found it to be quite charming.) There were about 15 of us in the tour, and we had an elderly gentleman as our guide. He was very knowledgeable and told us all sorts of history about Romans and Vikings and the Dark Ages and so on. It's amazing how many different periods are represented in one little bitty town!
I ended up leaving the walls tour early because I wanted to catch the 12:05 train to Scarsborough on the Legendary Flying Scotsman. I made it to the train on time, but it turned out to be booked, which was just as well because it cost £20, which I was not prepared to pay. So, no Legend ride for me. I did, however, spend 2 1/2 hours at the National Rail Museum. I think one of my favorite things there was seeing the Royal trains. They are like palaces on rails! Absolutely gorgeous, and so much attention to detail! I also loved the really old trains. It was interesting, looking at all the steam engines, I got the feeling that in a past life I was a steam train operator. I kept getting these images in my mind and in my heart and soul of the responsibility, the intricacies, the subtleties of conducting, and I could actually feel the pride and the buzz of maneuvering all the levers and gadgets and gizmos. It was like I was having flashbacks or something. I don't think I've ever connected that powerfully to what I would consider a past life experience before. It was cool! (Ok, for those of you who now think I'm a total nut- get over it!) Before leaving the museum I also got to take a free ride on a steam train. It was a small train carrying only one car, and it only lasted about 5 minutes, but it was still fun. I can now say that I have ridden on a real steam train! =)
I ate lunch at the museum, too, a cheeseburger. They had this bbq stand set up outside since the weather was nice, and it smelled good so I figured why not? It, of course, was nothing like a Texas burger, but it sufficed to ease my hunger and my mood (I was feeling grouchy at that point, and all the crowds were starting to annoy me, which is what tipped me off to the fact that I needed to eat something quick!) After the museum I was all walked out and my mind was going numb, so I headed out in search of internet. I went to the library first, but they only allow visitors 30 mins, and all the computers were in use, so I checked out a couple of other places and ended up back where I was last night, at the cool loungy place. Turns out, you get atmosphere and it's the cheapest internet in town. So here I am.
Oh, more news on yesterday...
(this part I sent out with the announcement that my journal was updated, so many of you know this already...) Since arriving in London I have seen a lot of homeless people, something I was completely prepared for from reading my travel books. Sometimes they are begging, sometimes not. I had not made any firm decisions on what to do when asked for change, but up till yesterday had not given anything. After I left my new Scottish friends and was feeling particularly jovial and grateful, I walked past a woman sitting on the sidewalk looking forlorn. She had a suitcase and some bags next to her. At first I walked by, but something drew me back to her. I asked her what was wrong and she said she is homeless. I emptied my pockets of my change (only about £1.50) and gave it to her. I told her it wasn't much, but that I didn't have much and I hoped that it would help her a bit. She smiled and was very surprised. After I checked into the hostel and then went out to the internet cafe, I passed her again. At this point I had more change and gave her another pound. It felt good to know that I had made her day a little better, and to know that I was 'paying it forward.'
After the internet, I was walking back to my hostel and saw and 80s club called Reflex (if you ever go to York, and you like 80s, you've got to check it out!) I had really been wanting to dance, and there was no cover so I went in and headed straight for the dance floor. The music was great and I grooved to the beat for about an hour or so. There were a lot of people in there, and they were all dancing and having a good time. In the middle of the dance floor there was a revolving platform which I was pulled up onto a couple of times. I had such a blast!
I'm feeling pretty zonkered now, so I think I might just call it a day and figure out where I'm staying tonight. I've decided not to go to Liverpool, so I'll most likely just stay in York till the 20th, when I have a couchsurfer lined up in Edinburgh. I really like it here, and there is plenty to see!
Thanks for reading, I know this was a long one!