Tag Archives: Hull

My Travel in London 8 ~ Back to London ~ I was making a strategic plan!

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     I cannot believe I have not finished writing about my travel in London yet. This is the eighth episode on my travel in London. (The previous ones are here: My Travel in London 1, My Travel in London 2, My Travel in London 3, My Travel in London 4, My Travel in London 5, My Travel in London 6, and My Travel in London 7) I have just said “in London” above, but I was in York on March 20 and stayed in Hull that night. A friend of mine Yuko, who studies English at the University of Hull, let me stay at her dormitory. London 2013 269

     Yuko and I got up at 6:00 next morning. We shouted for joy when she opened the curtains. It was sunny! Surprisingly there were no clouds in the sky. We made a quick change and headed to the kitchen. Yuko began preparing for our breakfast in a very assured manner when we arrived there. I asked her, “Do you need a hand?” in a fashion, but I did not help her. I was just watching TV in the sitting room instead. Hmm…we looked like a sweet mother and a spoiled daughter…London 2013 276

     Wow! What a lovely breakfast! Boiled potatoes, a boiled egg, a sliced cucumber, cheese, ham, blood oranges, toast with cream and jams, and tea, which Yuko had bought in York the previous day. Everything was fantastic. We enjoyed our breakfast in a relaxed atmosphere. London 2013 275

     There is a bus stop across from the dormitory. We left the dorm and took a bus for Hull Rail Station at around 10:00. I do not know the details, but it seems that there are at least two bus companies that run buses to the station, and that the fare is different. So, I did not know how much I would pay when I got on the bus. London 2013 278

     Actually I do not know how much I should have paid still now. When I asked the bus driver what the fare to the station was (You tell the driver where to go and pay the fare when you get on the bus in York and Hull.), he said something, blocking the slot of the fare box with his left hand, and motioned me to get in with his right hand. I did not understand what he said exactly, but I got the meaning. It looked like the fare box had broken. That was why I took the bus without paying. Oh, I’m lucky! London 2013 281

      After about a 20-minute ride, we arrived at Hull Rail Station. There is a statue of a British poet Philip Larkin in the concourse. Yuko says to him, “Wish me a safe trip!” when she sets out and “I’m home!” when she arrives at the station from her journey. Well, I will say to him, “Hi, Mr. Larkin! Nice to see you again!” next time when I visit the station.

     We were going to London. Most of the scenery we saw from the train window was the rural countryside to Doncaster from Hull. Suddenly Yuko shouted, “I’ve just seen a hare!” “Where!?” I looked for the form but missed it. What I just found from the window was a power plant where a chimney and its cooling towers were billowing out white smoke. Those concrete structures looked ominous in the idyllic view. London 2013 282

     We changed trains at Doncaster to King’s Cross in London. The train was almost filled with passengers. Our seats were rear-facing table seats. It was my first time to sit at a table seat in a train. Yuko and I were sitting across the table from other passengers. At first, I felt a little awkward, but soon I noticed the advantage of our seats. Surprisingly, Yuko had prepared for our lunch: sandwiches! It was very convenient for us to use the table when we were having the sandwiches. They were, of course, delicious! 907249_502287319819908_976877235_n-a

     We arrived at London at around 2:00. Yuko was going to her hotel in Bayswater to check in and then to St. James’s Park to see daffodils. In the meantime, I was going to the British Museum. We decided to meet each other at the shop in the British Museum at 4:00 and went to each destination separately at King’s Cross. I took the underground to Russell Square. It was an about 10-minute walk to the British Museum from the station. I entered the museum from its north gate, which was under construction when I visited. London 2013 283

     My main target in the museum was that famous chunk of rock: the Rosetta Stone. As you know, the Rosetta Stone was a part of a stone pillar discovered by Napoleon’s army in the Nile Delta in the 18th Century. There are the same text written in three scripts- ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic and ancient Greek- on the surface of the stone. It is beyond renown that a French scholar Champollion deciphered the text in the 19th Century. London 2013 284

     I found the stone easier than I had imagined. The stone was sitting neatly in the Egyptian Sculpture section in the Ancient Egypt Department on the ground floor near the shop. It is wonderful to see the real thing that I learned from the textbook in my school days. I had thought the stone would be much smaller.

     London 2013 290After the Rosetta Stone, I began exploring in the museum. But I could not. I was more tired than I had thought. I could not climb up the stairs from the ground floor briskly. My legs were heavy like lead. I had to drag myself. I was walking somehow, but I did not have stamina or concentration to appreciate precious exhibits. I was just browsing. I got more exhausted because I was just walking without a plan.

       At last, I got too tired to move any more. I used all my strength that was left and bought a guide book of the museum, and then slumped in a chair at Court Café on the ground floor. It was almost 4:00, when I was seeing Yuko. Then she phoned me and said that she would arrive at the museum near 5:00. “Take your time,” I replied and decided to rest there for a while. It was funny and pitiful to scan the guide book of the museum without looking at actual things…Well, I was making a strategic plan to walk in the museum efficiently if you look at it another way…

My Travel in London 7 ~ York 2 ~ Where’s Betty?

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     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) London 2013 229

     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. London 2013 235

     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.London 2013 236

     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 – andLondon 2013 241 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. London 2013 247The 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.London 2013 250 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. London 2013 252

     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. London 2013 255

     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. London 2013 259Double-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. London 2013 261Yuko and I enjoyed beer and fantastic food at the pub. Who said “British food is bad”? It is excellent!

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