I had a weak feeling in my knees after descending the tower of York Minster. Yet I was able to walk briskly because my appetite was exceeding my fatigue. Yuko and I were heading for a famous café in York: Bettys Café Tea Rooms. (Former episodes on my travel are here: My Travel in London1, My Travel in London 2, My Travel in London 3, My Travel in London 4, My Travel in London 5, and My Travel in London 6)
On our way to Bettys, there was a pub named Guy Fawkes Inn across from York Minster on High Petergate. Most Japanese people might not be familiar with the name, but I happened to have an English class dealing with Guy Fawkes Night last November. I was happy to find the birthplace of the notorious plotter in U.K. by accident.
Walking on High Petergate toward Low Petergate, we turned right at the first corner. Bettys Café Tea Rooms was there on Stonegate. There was a dog waiting for its owner to finish his or her lunch outside and there were many people waiting for tables inside. The left side of the café was a cake shop, where wonderful-looking sweets were arrayed on its tables and shelves, and the right side was a tea room, where people were enjoying tea and food. But it was the basement floor where we were led to after a short time.
Descending the narrow circular staircase, a vast room in dim light loomed before us. There were also many people enjoying their lunch on the basement floor. After wavering, Yuko ordered “Breakfast Rosti – grated potato and gruyere cheese mixed with cream and fried until golden. Topped with grilled dry-cured bacon, a grilled plum tomato, chestnut mushrooms and a poached egg – and I “English Breakfast” – grilled dry-cured bacon, scrambled eggs, a grilled plum tomato, Bettys Yorkshire sausage, chestnut mushrooms and buttered toast. Sound delicious? Yeah, they were very nice. We enjoyed them with Bettys Breakfast Tea, though it was in the afternoon.
We finished our lunch and were about to climb up the circular staircase, when a little boy came running down the stairs shouting, “Where is Betty?” That was funny. After leaving the café, we enjoyed walking on an old street named Shambles, where buildings of the 14th Century were standing along the narrow passage. The old structures are still used as shops and attract many tourists. I felt as if I was wandering into Hogsmeade Village, one of the places in Harry Potter. And then we were exploring in an open-air market called Newgate Market. There were vegetables, fruits, and fish that I had never seen in Japan selling in the stalls. If I lived in U.K., I would try them…Chagrin.
Leaving the market, we walked through Piccadilly to York Castle Museum. There was a prominent stone construction in front of the museum: Clifford’s Tower. It is the remains of a medieval Norman castle built in the 11th century. In spite of the peaceful-looking appearance, it has a bloody past as a prison, and a place for public displays of enemies’ bodies or for massacring Jewish people…Although I did not know the fact, I could not climb up the tower. Was it because I sensed something? No, I was too tired to go up after climbing the tower in York Minster.
Actually Castle Museum itself used to be a prison…But nowadays the building displays everyday life in U.K. The most famous one of the exhibits in the museum is a recreated Victorian street, Kirkgate, which was named after the place’s founder, Dr. John.L. Kirk. You can enjoy exploring not only in the main street but also in the backstreet, where you can enjoy talking to clerks and shopping in a chemist shop or a sweet shop of the era. I thought the sweet shop was almost the same as the one we had seen in Shambles. The town of York itself looked like a museum to me.
Then we went to Marks & Spencer on Pavement to buy something for our breakfast. I was supposed to stay at Yuko’s room in Hull that night. After shopping, we took a rest at Costa until the bus for Hull came. It was the first time for me to take a bus in Britain. Double-Decker! We sat on the upper deck. While riding, I noticed that the bus had no announcements for the next stop. I was wondering how people got to know where they got off the bus when it was dark outside. Yuko said, “You need to get used to it. I got off at wrong stops many times.” That was why she was concentrating to see outside when the bus was approaching the nearest stop to her dormitory.
At last after a two-hour ride we were able to get off the bus at the right place safely. Leaving our baggage in her room, we set off to a pub, the Old Gray Mare near the University of Hull, where Yuko studies. Yuko and I enjoyed beer and fantastic food at the pub. Who said “British food is bad”? It is excellent!