Saturday, May 26, 2012

York in May

With friends visiting from the States, we decided to go one morning to York. Using our favorite park and ride, we were able to get into the heart of the city hassle free and ready to begin our adventures. Our first adventure was to find a snack!

We walked on some of the old walls of the city and discovered one of the turrets on the River Ouse has been converted into a coffee shop!

The Perky Peacock cleverly disguised as a battlement

Right under the Lendal Bridge near the train station, this coffee shop is a hidden gem. We ordered some drinks and they had a nice variety of snacks. Being of a zombie-bent, I ordered the "Pat's Pie" which was also labeled "Fly Cemetery." Having had something with the same name in the Jamaican/Scottish bakery which made our wedding cake (sorry there's no link to Loch Lomond Bakery), I was excited to try this pastry filled to the brim with raisins (the flies who are in the cemetery). I ordered a chai to go with it. They both were delightful.

How do they do that with the foam on the chai?

Jacob had a flapjack and Lucy had a brownie. My wife ordered regular tea and some ginger cookies that were probably the best ginger cookies I've ever had. She let me have a sample. I happily let her sample mine.

Most beautiful customer the shop has ever had

The children did really well and had a table to themselves...until Lucy got too rowdy and was forced over to our table.

In hindsight, it's obvious who was going to be the grumpy one

After a while all the kids were antsy, so my wife took them outside to walk around while the rest of the adults finished up. I was able to see them from one of the windows.

Jacob, Colin, and Lucy with Mommy

Fortified for the rest of the morning, we walked across the bridge and into the city.

Minster ahead!

Our main destination was the Jorvik Viking Centre, which we had visited before but were happy to see again. We rode through the authentically-odored Viking village. The animatronic people were a little scary for Lucy. In the museum, we were able to chat a bit with one of the docents about the uses for a cow's horn. In addition to providing access to yummy cow brains when it is detached, the horn can be used for many household items. After hollowing it out, the middle can be cut out and a bottom attached to make a drinking cup. The whole horn can be boiled to make it soft and then reshaped into spoons, windows, lantern covers, and many other useful items. If left intact, the horn can be used as a trumpet-type horn. The horn could be used on ships to warn other ships in the fog or to alert the port that a valuable shipment of perishable goods is coming in, so get ready for a quick unloading and trip to the market. It could also be used to announce guests at large houses or castles. It's amazing what you can do with a simple cow horn.

Naturally, the Centre exits through its gift shop, where young Colin turned into Colin Blurhand of the Viking lords. He even wore the right shirt for the day.

"Blurhand" sounds a lot better than "Lollypop-hand"

Time was getting away from us, so we wandered our way back through the streets of York, admiring storefronts and old-style architecture. A lot of street corners had nice statues adorning them.

Is that Athena up there?

We also saw one street performer whose puppet at first fascinated and then scared Lucy. She said, "It's eyes are scary!" She wanted to continue on.

It was nice enough to cover its eyes for a little while

Jacob was not afraid. He took a coin and put it in the man's violin case. Yeah, he was playing violin and making a puppet dance at the same time. Pretty amazing, huh?

After all that excitement, we made it back to our bus stop with a few minutes to spare before getting back on and riding back to our car. It was a fun excursion for everyone.

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