Arrived in York on Friday night after a nightmare train journey (though we met some really nice people on the train), and discovered an excellent Chinese restaurant, the Happy Valley on Goodramgate that serves traditional Chinese food. I had squid in Hoi Sin sauce and Nick had chicken in Hoi Sin sauce. Our sleep was disturbed by mad women screeching and shouting on the stairs from 4 to 6 am. Grr.
On Saturday, after breakfast in a lovely café called the Pantry, we visited Clifford's Tower, a Norman tower on a very large motte mound. This was the site of the massacre of the Jews of York in 1190. They committed mass suicide and set fire to the wooden tower in which they had taken refuge from the ravening mob outside. A few surrendered on the promise of safe conduct and baptism, but the mob killed them anyway. The current stone tower was built as a replacement. Sad story. It was hoying it down with rain, and we got soaked, but went next to the Merchant Adventurers' Hall, a medieval guild hall, a splendid half-timbered place, which still has all the heraldic flags of its guilds. After that we went to York Minster and its crypt. I was again struck by the very Kabbalistic-looking painting of the vision of St Cuthbert on the roof of the small modern chapel at the west end of the Minster. In the afternoon the weather cleared up, so we walked the entire length of the city walls. After that we really needed a sit-down, so we went to the Snicklegate Inn, and thence once more to the Happy Valley Bistro, where Nick had Taiwan sizzling steak and I had Udon noodle soup.
On Sunday, we had breakfast in the Pantry again, then walked along the river to the Yorkshire Museum and its gardens. It was raining again so we didn't spend much time in the gardens. The museum was interesting but there was the usual problem with numbered captions, which made it very tiring to identify all the objects. However they have some really good stuff in there, like the Middleham Jewel, and their Viking and Anglo-Saxon and Roman collections. After that we visited the Treasurer's House, a bizarre confection of styles and periods assembled by an Edwardian gentleman. Then we went to Barley Hall, a reconstructed medieval house. This was great fun as you could dress up in the costumes and play with things. Later we walked to Dick Turpin's grave and then had dinner in the Happy Valley Bistro again. This time we had a Chinese Satay hotpot - a big wok full of hot soup and lots of fresh things to cook in it. Delicious. That's the first time in my life I've ever eaten in the same restaurant three nights running!
Today, Nick went to a work meeting with a colleague, and I went shopping and bought most of my Yule presents in Shared Earth. I also got a really nice bag which was reduced to 2 pounds - what a bargain! The train journey back was better than on the way up.