“Cold and damp, that’s how the southerners see the North.” – Game of Thrones
Cold and damp. That’s the best way to describe how I felt camping in Helmsley, North Yorkshire. During the day, the weather was great, but temperatures dropped to below ten at night. And then, in the night from Thursday on Friday, it rained. A lot. As it turned out, my tent was not waterproof. All my stuff was soaking wet.
I was camping on the grounds of a hostel and tried to get a bed for that last night. Unfortunately, they were fully booked, so I had to find somewhere else to stay. I was in a horrible mood and tossed my tent and air bed in the bin (they were cheap ones, fortunately, but I do kind of regret not taking them home. Could have used them again…). Then I found a different hostel near Eyam in the Peak District (which is where I had a room for Saturday night), so I left North Yorkshire a day earlier than planned. But before I left, I visited two amazing cities!
York was one of the best parts of my trip. I’d heard so much about this city before going there, and I couldn’t wait. On Wednesday, I finally drove to the P&R and took a bus into the city from there. I got there fairly early in the morning (before nine) and had an entire day to explore, but I still wish I’d had more time. I would have liked to see the Museum Gardens and to go up in York Minster. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have time for this. But that gives me the perfect excuse to go back there again!
My favourite part of York was the Shambles – rumoured to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley. Though we all know that there’s a street in Edinburgh that’s more likely to be the real inspiration, you can definitely see why this could be Diagon Alley as well. The Shambles is narrow enough that the buildings almost touch at either side and it’s filled with independent shops, among which three shops filled with wizardry stuff (they even sold Butterbeer!).
One of my mechanics told me to go here. He grew up in North Yorkshire and kept recommending all these places for me to go and visit. I wrote them all down, but since I was only there for a few days, I couldn’t visit all of them. Whitby has an abbey that was the inspiration for Count Dracula’s castle. Literary connections always have priority over anything.
When you want to go to this abbey, you have to walk up 199 steps. And it’s very steep. I was winded when I got to the top, but it was so worth the view. Not only do you get a stunning view over the town, but you also get to walk around the old abbey. It’s a really spooky place, and even in the daylight, there was something dark about it. I can definitely see how this would be a good place for a vampire to live.
And that was the second part of my trip – cut a bit short due to rain, but I wasn’t really planning on doing much on that Friday anyway. Next week the final part of my road trip: the Peak District.