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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Family Vacation in the U.K., 8th October 2016, Day 9: York

We reached York on the evening of the 7th, and proceeded to drive to where we had booked a flat through Booking.com, at Bootham Crescent. 






The place was called Clearly Apartments, and we were at #62. This was a narrow lane, and after I had allowed the family to disembark and take the luggage with them, I had a tough time finding place to park my car. In the event, I nearly ran into parking trouble when I tried to reverse park the car into a very small space and accidentally touched the rear bumper to the front fender of the car that stood behind the small space. I triggered the Neighbourhood watch CCTV because a guy came out from nowhere and confronted me. I showed him that no damage had been done either to my car or the car behind and eventually, he was pacified. Parking anywhere on this street was at £12 per night, and I had to retrieve a parking pamphlet from the flat and put it in front of the dashboard so that the car would not get towed away!

We went a long way off to get food for ourselves from an Indian restaurant. It was across the railway line at the back of Bootham Crescent. Food was good. We slept overnight.

In the morning, we set off to explore York. It is, in a way, a lovely place to see, but we really enjoyed it for its great people, friendly atmosphere, street activities, and the amazing attractions. 

We went to see the York Minster, but it was open to visitors only after 2:00 p.m. Hence, we skipped this for the time being and proceeded to walk to the Shambles Market. This market is known for its narrow lanes, interesting shops, and the general ambiance. 








We had lunch here. After this, we strolled around the town, 







Presently, we arrived at the back of the shambles, where we witnessed a remarkable street performance by a young man who did acrobatics, swallowed a full-length straight sword, ate fire, and cycled on a tall-shaft unicycle with his eyes and face blindfolded. Here are a few photos of him:






From here, we went to visit the National Rail Museum. This was a unique museum that showcases the entire history of British railways from its inception down the centuries to where it is today. A few photos:











Following this, we also visited Clifford's Tower. This is an imposing structure that commands a view of the entire area from the top. Which is what we did. We climbed up the long flight of stone stairs to go to the top and view the area below. The views were really very beautiful.




We returned to the hotel to spend the night. Tomorrow, we would go to Durham. However, before that, I had to call up the pilots for the Virgin Balloon Flights that I had arranged for all of us and kept as a surprise for everyone. According to this plan, we would start early morning to reach the Balloon flights centre near Durham and take the balloon rides. 

Disappointingly, inclement weather cancelled this marvellous surprise. In any case, we would still be staying a night at Durham before proceeding further on our journey.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Family Vacation in the U.K., 7th October 2016, Day 8: Cambridge

The drive to Cambridge was accomplished without much fanfare yesterday itself. We stayed at a place called Worth House - an expensive place to stay, as most hotels in Cambridge are expensive. However, Worth House, for which we paid over £200 for one night, was quite well-kept and worth the amount we paid, because the family room we took was well-appointed and spacious. On the morning, we were served breakfast in a large dining room by Guido and his partner Maria. 

They were a wonderful couple and they served food with a smile. Nishrin wasn't feeling too well, so we left her at the hotel, and we all went out to explore Cambridge. We decided to hire bicycles, since this is a student town that favours cyclists. We got the bikes for a sum of around £50 for the three of us for 2 hours. We went around to a lot of places. We explored the market area, and visited the famous Trinity College with its exquisitely trimmed central lawn, the giant cupola, and the petite but beautiful college hall and cathedral. Here are a few pictures we took of us and of the sights we saw:












We returned our bikes, and then walked back to the hotel. We set off for York in the afternoon, and arrived there in the late evening. We would spend the next two nights in York - and this would probably be the best part of our entire trip, as York is a lovely place to visit, as you will see in my next post. Thank you for reading this post. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Family Vacation in the U.K., 6th October 2016, Day 7: Sightseeing in London and onward to Cambridge

Today, we made grandiose plans to visit at least three attractions - viz. the Museum of Natural History, the Victoria and Albert Museum and perhaps one more --- before moving on the later part of the afternoon to drive to Cambridge, our next destination.

In the event, we only managed to see the Museum of Natural History. It was vast beyond comprehension. The museum is laid out over 5 storeys, and the inanimate world occupies three of those. For example. there were many exhibits of early civilisation, stories from the physical world, the world of scientific phenomena of nature, the stories of the mineral deposits within the earth's crust, and the story of evolution. In particular, the physical phenomena floor was really interesting. There were sections on earthquakes and volcanoes, waves and energy from the sea, wind energy, nuclear physics and what not. 

The displays on the minerals included hundreds of exhibits of semi-precious and precious stones and base minerals of the planet both. 

Moving on, the clear favourite was the huge exhibits in the natural history section. We literally waded through gallery after gallery of animal species. The one on dolphins and sharks took about 15 minutes to just pass through. The same was the case with the huge gallery on mammals. Finally, the piece de resistance - the vast gallery on dinosaurs, with moving models, skeletons, dinoramas, and so on. 



Take a look at some of the photos from this amazing visit: Click HERE.

Central hall with skeleton of Diplodoccus

A Rare Blaschko model of a sea creature

Another view of the central hall

An exhibit of hummingbirds in a tree

How water erosion smoothens a stone

Precious amethyst stones

Semi-precious coral jewellery

Model of a dolphin

Outside the Museum of Natural History

Stuffed bald eagle

Tectonic lines along the planet as we know today
By the time we finished our entire visit, we had run out of time to visit any other gallery. Hence, we simply went to the car rental agency and drove out of London to Cambridge, our next stop.