After three days experiencing World Travel Market 2012 and London at what felt like the speed of light, stepping from the train into York’s historic streets was a soul-soothing antidote to the full-on, in yer face, fast and furious life in London’s fast lane.
Don’t get me wrong, I was enthralled by the infectious buzz of Britain’s capital but switching to the more leisurely pace of York was equally appealing.
Having recently had the pleasure of watching the TV adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskill’s North & South, our immediate impressions were that its tale of class and cultural differences between different parts of blighty was still relevant in some ways. They simply feel like very different worlds.
Sadly, for us, all we had was a one night stand with one of Britain’s most endearing and camera friendly cities. It was barely enough time to indulge in a bit of foreplay with the city… but it was enough of a thrill to leave us gasping for more.
It’s just so Dickensian. How can you not shop in places that look as warm and cosy as the ones in this picture? It’s a joy to walk down streets where the shops still feel intimate and independent (even chain stores in York don’t seem like chain stores). York offers a refreshing change from those bland, interchangeable High Streets that are found in too many British towns and cities.
If the shops look warm and inviting, the staff inside them are equally welcoming. Within half an hour we’d munched on Champagne truffles, sipped a sprightly cup of Prosecca and my camera ended up with a new eyepiece without us actually spending a penny. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, the free truffles did inspire us to fork out on some choccie treats.
If I have a criticism of York it is that it is just too damn picturesque; walking through the old centre had our heads spinning to such an extent that locals must have considered contacting the local exorcist.
The great York Minster. Impossible to not be impressed by its imposing presence and grandeur. Gazing upon it is to put yourself at risk of a Gothic overdose. For some reason it made me think of Dracula and vampires – maybe it was the drama of dusk adding shadowy atmosphere to its legions of spires combined with nearby signs advertising ‘Ghost Walks’.
I’d have a drink problem if I lived in York, the bars are simply too cosily inviting to walk past. With nearly every one we saw it was a case of ‘I could easily be tempted to sink a jar in there.’
In the end we only had time to enjoy the hospitality at Brigantes with our friends from Inntravel. Brigantes’ herby Cumberland sausages brought on an embarrassing bout of ‘MMM-ing’ whilst the slightly fruity quaffability of York Guzzler ale had us kicking ourselves for ignoring the allure of real ales over the years.