1. Sleepless in Harrogate - I feel completely adjusted to this time zone except for one thing - I'm about three hours off. I can't seem to even feel tired before 1 a.m. and morning doesn't start before 9:00. Which would be great if we were home and there was nothing interesting to go see. But when we sleep in until 9:30 here, we're burning daylight that could be spent doing some doing serious sightseeing. At least my kids are on the same schedule - we're just rolling with it for now. On Monday, our train to the airport leaves that the ridiculous hour of 6:00, so we'd better readjust ourselves to normal sleep times soon.
2. Hometown Internet Cafe - This is my family, in a nutshell.
We are done for the evening, so we plop down on the couches and everyone grabs a laptop and we fiddle with whatever while we gab. "Gab" is a word of my mom's - I don't know why, but whenever I use that word, I think of her. Not that she's a huge gabber, but maybe it's because the rest of us gab so well that I remember her using it a lot. In this picture, I'm uploading photos for a blog entry, Drew is trying to fix my dad's internet connection, and I have no idea what my dad is doing. Whenever my dad visits me, he spends a decent amount of time fiddling with the pc we keep downstairs. We rarely use it anymore, but we keep it around so my dad has a hobby when he comes over. Apparently, Drew is doing the same thing at my parent's house now.
3. I love the way the Brits name things. I assume these are all really old names, that there's not some modern naming committee that is coming up with these things. I've decided that I want to live in a house with a name - we visited Windmill Cottage, and there was nary a windmill in sight. Here is a list of my favorite British names:
If I ever have a dog, I want to name him Pudney Shuttleworth. Oh my gosh, I just love that name so much. I saw a road called Dragon Crescent today, but it reminded me of Crescent Dragonwagon, who is an author but her name sounds all hippie and dopy and as such ruined the road name Dragon Crescent for me forever. But Pudney Shuttleworth lives on.
Oh, and there are some fantastic signs here. One is some instructions for driving an "articulated car" through a roundabout. Ryan said an articulated car is one like in Knight Rider. And there was this sign that I absolutely adore:
I didn't have a chance to take this picture, so I snagged this one on the internet which feels a little insincere but whatever. I saw a sign like this on the way to York yesterday. It reminds me of the signs you see on the freeway around San Diego that warn you of people running across the road with a sign that shows two parents basically dragging a child behind them - I wondered what it would look like if the two signs merged, like the parents are dragging the elderly people while they run across the freeway. Love this.
4. Old York - If New York was named after something, the city of York in England was it. Old York, as I like to think of it, was so crawling with history that I kept stepping on it. York had about 2,000 people living there under the rule of the Anglo-Saxons until 866 A.D. when it was captured by the Vikings. They called the town Jorvik (pronounced yor-vik) which is where the name York came from. Vikings ruled for about 200 years until it was captured by some guy named Norman, and then it was called the Norman period.
If downtown Harrogate is every city's dream of what Main Street should look like, then downtown York is what every Renaissance Festival should look like. I expected to see people in period dress walking around and street hawkers selling giant turkey legs and a guy in the stocks in the town square, instead of an ATM machine around the corner from the McDonald's. It was so old-feeling and old-looking that it didn't feel modern at all. It was great, like stepping back in time.
Let's take a quick pictorial tour of York.
This is what the streets look like. Ryan says it looks like Disneyland, except this is the authentic stuff Disney is trying to copy.
The area is tons of shops and pubs and restaurants and, obviously, people. I would have liked to browse in these stores for hours, but there were eight of us traveling as a pack, so anytime we entered a store we pretty much filled it. It looks uncomfortably crowded, but I didn't have too hard a time navigating the stroller, and the Brits aren't very effusive in their "excuse me's" so when I bumped into people I didn't feel too bad. They didn't feel too bad when they bumped into me, after all, so it must be okay. My mom finds the Brits kind of rude in that, but I haven't noticed it much.
Here's just some old church, smack dab in the middle of this shopping street. I can't believe how beautiful they are, these churches. Something about the stonework and the arches and the pointy tops I can't get enough of. Notice the Starbucks sign immediately across the street.
Here are some pictures of one that's not just some old church - this is York Minster.
Isn't that beautiful? A Minster is like a cathedral - the difference is that a cathedral is the seat for a bishop, while a minster doesn't. Or something like that. York Minster is the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. My biggest disappointment is that the Minster was closed for a wedding, so we couldn't go in. Who gets married in York Minster? It's not exactly reserving the local chapel, now, is it?
We were heading off to our next destination when we pulled over right next to an ice cream cart to look at a map. Instantly the kids were asking, "Can we have ice cream? I want some ice cream! Is it ice cream time?" I was shushing them and telling them no and trying to drag them away, when I all of a sudden realized, Hey! We're on vacation! Let's have ice cream! I ordered some cones and we hung out in this tiny park for about 15 minutes, enjoying the atmosphere and the views while listening to some guy play broadways hits on a harpsichord. The best part of a vacation is when you just sit, I think.
This is what I get when I hand Ryan my camera - pictures of statues that are actually straight! Mine always end up crooked. When I hand the camera to Brad, I get pictures of pigeons.
Tim and I were sitting together, teaching Darcey how to hold out her tongue so I could swipe it with her first ice cream cone. We realized that we looked more like "the happy couple" than brother and sister, which happened frequently when we went places together last summer.
This house is crooked, I don't know if you can see it. It reminded me of a house in, like, Sleeping Beauty or something.
This street is called The Shambles. It has been around forever, and was rebuilt in 1400, which is when it took on this character. Some of the houses lean together so closely that you could touch one from the upper window of the other.
These are the houses, they are maybe six feet apart. Maybe it's Pinocchio I'm thinking about.
Look at how that house bows in the middle. Of course it's all shops now, but I wonder if people still live up there? We had to move out of the way for a car to pull into a garage at one point.
Okay, I've spent all stinking day doing this, and I've got to call it quits. Remind me some time to tell you about having tea at Betty's, the Viking museum, and the horrid public nudity incident, which thankfully I did not see nor did any of my family participate. More tomorrow.