It was our last day in York. We explored the York Castle Museum, which included displays about life in England and York from the Victorian age to the 60’s. There was a good display about the first World War, and how it affected York. Did you know there was such a thing as embroidered post cards? Women near the front made them to sell to soldiers to send home. Very pretty. There was also a show up about fashion and how we shape our bodies. It started out with a history of fashion, with historical examples, and then moved on to how we’ve eaten and exercised for the past few centuries.

We also spent some time shopping this afternoon. I had a particular wish to try on cardigans at Marks and Spenser, so here I am from that fashion show:

Above is the house we’ve been staying in while in York. Our room is the one with the two arched windows.

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This is why it’s been so warm here in York. But now the wind is howling as I expected it to in the north of England.

Today was the Yorkshire Museum, where there was another viking exhibition going on. I’m learning a lot about vikings here. York was the largest viking settlement in England, and people keep discovering more old goods to put in museum displays.

We also went to Barley Hall, a reconstructed medieval townhouse. It contained mostly info on Henry VIII and the time he visited York. There were some costumes from the Wolf Hall TV show there as well, along with all the stuff one might find in a medieval home… like a writing desk:

Not much else today because we’re tired.

Food

We’ve been buying a few groceries for breakfasts and snacks so we don’t have to eat out at every meal (which is expensive anyway, but really expensive here). I think the food section at Marks and Spencer is my favourite. They have dairy free yogurt, and I had some tea buns, and also a packaged salad that was pretty good.

York.

It’s ridiculously warm in York this weekend. I thought, being in northern England, I’d be wearing all of my clothes layered atop another due to the coldness, but I was absolutely incorrect about that. Around 18 Celsius, maybe warmer, and even some sunshine!

Here I am in the sunshine one the wall that runs around York:

Today Susan and I walked along the wall and checked out a couple of museums. One was called The Henry VII Experience. The other was Jorvik Viking Centre, about a viking settlement in York. We got to ride around a viking village in a trolly! And the a guy showed us viking combs made out of antler, and bits of jewelry made of amber, and an ice skate made of cow bone. The highlight, however was getting to see the biggest fossilized poo in the world.

We’ve also spent some time here poking around the shopping area and the shambles market, because they’re easy to walk around in. We also walked along the wall, which led to a river, which we walked along until we got to a bridge, from which I took this picture:

Today was Chatsworth House day. It was beautiful. We had to walk 2km to get to the house from the nearest village, Baslow. Most of the walk looked like this:

It rained a bit and sunned a bit, but it was otherwise really warm. Really warm. I haven’t been cold all day.

First view of Chatsworth House (there are some renovations going on):

The reason for going to Chatsworth House was there is a fashion exhibit happening and I wanted to see it. It was good- lots of old things mixed in with modern, all things worn by people from or visiting the house. I should have studied the blurbs more. I have a pamphlet about it I can read later. Here is some fashion:

(I thought the feathered neckline looked nice on the bald mannequin)

After Chatsworth House, we travelled to York on the train, grabbed some Chinese take-away, and now bedtime! We have a beautiful AirBnB in York.

Tomorrow is the start of York adventures.

(Updated Oct 14 to add photos)

I didn’t write yesterday because we were out late. Susan and I watched a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream that included both Shakespeare’s play And incidental music by Mendelssohn. It was a delight. But, as I have watched a few productions of Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as many other plays, I had some notes for them.

It was in the Sheldonian Theatre, which is at the heart of Oxford. Here is my view of the inside:

It was a fun venue, and was originally build for university ceremonies, no not a normal theatre set-up.

Today we hung out in Oxford for a bit, then lunched at a pub called The Crown, before meeting up for a Morse Tour – I got to see lots of places where all versions were and are still being filmed, as well as hear some stories about what it’s like in Oxford when they’re being filmed. The tour guide had some tid-bits from her chats with Colin Dexter, which I liked.

I’ve summarized the above because I’m tired due to the the following:

Right after the Morse tour, Susan and I walked back to our AirBnB, collected our suitcases and headed straight for the train station. I say “straight for” like we zipped there, but it was a bit of a bus adventure trying to find a bus that would drop us at, or even near, the Oxford train station. There is construction on the way, so the bus I thought would get us there wasn’t going there. Lucky there were some helpful bus drivers to get us on the right bus. Also luckily, we had left plenty of time to get there.

So we got to the station, ate pork pies, got on our train, switched trains in Birmingham, and now are in a B&B in Chesterfield.

Chatsworth House tomorrow.

The Ashmolean today, as promised. We spent the morning in the classical era.

Then lunch.

Then back to the Ashmolean to check out all the other eras. We planned to just look at modern art on the third floor, but then I saw there was medieval, renaissance, 17th century, and 18th century art on the second floor as well, and we looked at those, too. I like all eras of art.

We also checked out Blackwell’s bookshop. I didn’t buy anything, but Susan found something for me:

Today Susan and I explored a few of the sights in Oxford. We started by walking a shortcut from our AirBnB to the Natural History Museum. The shortcut took us along a bike/pedestrian path next to fields and over some brooks. Very pleasant. Much nicer and 50% shorter than walking along the roads, like we did last night and got lost. But we had directions from our AirBnB host today and we did much better!

The natural history museum is full of fossils, rocks, old bugs and other natural history things. Susan is keen and knows a lot about birds and animals. I am less interested, but there was an exhibit about brain development that had real human brains! So that was neat.

I’m touching a badger:

Next we tried to visit the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, but it’s closed on Mondays so we’ll go there tomorrow.

The Bodlean library was on our list of things we must see because there is a Jane Austen exhibit on right now. It explores some of her influences: books she read, people she knew, the Napoleonic war. There were copies of her books, and of books she read. There was also samples of her handwritten drafts, and her little lap desk she worked on. I enjoyed clips of adaptations of her works that have been made by the BBC.

Jane Austen’s portrait in the window, me posing for a portrait outside:

Standing in front of an Oxford landmark (edit: which Susan informs me is called The Bridge of Sighs).

It was time for lunch then, but we got distracted by the covered market. After lunch we checked out the Oxford University Press Bookstore, went shopping for snacks at M&S and walked home.

We’re still jet-lagged so the evening is for rest, colouring, and planning tomorrow.

There’s maybe three hours to go on the flight. I’ve slept two-ish hours, which isn’t bad for me but I’d like more. I’m going to be walking around like it’s the middle of the night once we land, which of course it will be for my body. It will be around noon in London, though. So that’s gross.

My movie thing on the plane doesn’t work. I thought this bothered me, but it turns out I don’t care and am more keen to sleep. Also, I have about 30 hours of podcasts on my phone to keep me entertained if needed.

Review of the lacto-ovo vegetarian meal (that means there’s no dairy):

The main dish was pasta, broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes with a sprinkling of small white beans. It had no taste until I added salt, at which point it gained a mild, salty flavour. I didn’t eat the salad because it was corn and beans, but I was full. I’m saving the dinner roll and dairy-free carrot loaf for later. Wisely, Susan and I ate a hearty lupper of hamburgers at the airport. The fries accompanying that were melt-in-your mouth perfection.

Now I try to sleep again

Today Christina and I did a day trip to Cordoba. We saw the Mequita (beautiful), the Roman bridge (beautiful), had lunch at Taverna Las Salina (beautiful and tasty) and wandered around a while (as we do).

It was rainy when we arrived, and cold, and we had not brought our umbrellas because we decided it wasn’t going to rain. But it wasn’t too long before the rain stopped and it got warm. As a result, after visiting the Mesquita in the miserable morning, when it was cold cold cold, we went back to give it a second chance in the glorious afternoon. It was still cold, but less cold when coming in from the sunny warm. (It’s probably a good place to visit in the summer. After a chat with our taxi driver, Christina found out that it can get up to 45 degrees C.) We also had a change to climb the bell tower to take pictures of the sunny afternoon view.

image

I’m on the train now, going back to Jerez. We took the express train this morning, so it was and hour and 50 minutes to Cordoba. This was delightful. The train back is not express, and not only does it take about *infinity*, it is dark out so there is nothing to look at.

(It actually takes an hour longer. I used hyperbole for effect there.)

On Sunday mornings in Jerez there is a big market/crafters fair/flea market set up by the alcazar. We went to check it out and we’re amazed my the never-endingness of it. Tables and tables of used goods and antiques and crafts and Barbies and books and used clothing and tools and stuff and more stuff. We only saw a portion of it.

On Sunday afternoon, Christina and I left the apartment we’ve been in this whole time, walked our wheelie-bags for 10 minutes or so along ancient cobbled streets, and we are now installed at a fancy hotel. We decided to splurge a little for three nights: there’s a jet tub and bathrobes so I am very happy. We did room service (tuna sandwiches) because we were too tired to go out and get anything and then had hot baths with jets.