York (The Old, English One)

At the end of the week after official exam period for the university was over, the Weston Hall RA organised another trip to York, this time only for the price of £1. Having heard a lot of great things about the old town (one of them being that Phil Lester used to study in University of York lmao), it being the end of exam week and also being immediately attracted to the ridiculously cheap ticket fare, I signed up for the trip, along with Rumin, KY and CC.

The night before the trip, I told myself that I would sleep early because we had to leave early the next morning but like all my grand schemes in life, that failed spectacularly so I ended up sleeping for three hours that night and then passing out during the entire two-hour coach journey to York. Which was a blessing, because I didn’t have to ask Puru for motion sickness pills or find something to kill the travelling time with.

When we reached York, the first observation I had was that it was really, really pretty, with colourful flowers along the city walls and being surrounded by large ancient architecture. The second observation I had was that it was also really, really cold. Suddenly, all the flowers and buildings in the world could no longer appeal to me because not only was I starting to shiver but I had barely eaten anything and needed to pee really badly. So we walked (with much difficulty against the direction of the wind) towards our first destination: York Minster.

I had somehow ended up as designated tour guide for the day for the four of us and I was really nervous because I don’t trust myself with a Responsibility ™ as big as this but the trip (spoiler) didn’t end disastrously! so maybe I did a pretty OK job.

Credit: CC

Credit: CC

Credit: CC / View from the top of York Minster (allegedly the tallest viewpoint in York) as part of the Tower Tours which I didn’t go for because of my fear of heights

It was in York Minster when I suddenly saw a really familiar face that looked like my law coursemate, Kar Ling, at a distance but didn’t dare call out because it might just be my short-sightedness tricking me and also it would be too much of a coincidence to bump into someone I know in York of all places. But then the familiar face latched onto mine and inched nearer and I realised — it was indeed Kar Ling! And it turned out that she and her friend had taken a train to York for a one-day trip as well. On the same day. And at York Minster at the same time. The world is so small and strange.

Kar Ling and yours truly

My stomach was quite literally digesting itself from hunger by the time we came out so we headed for Betty’s Tearoom at The Shambles upon Yi Jing’s stellar recommendation but the queue was one that stretched out of the shop and into the streets so Rumin searched for two other alternative places to eat. One was Mannion & Co, which was also packed and cramped with so many people so KY and CC lined up there while me and Rumin joined the queue at another café a block away called Brew and Brownie to see who got called to an empty table first.

It wasn’t a competition obviously, but Rumin and I won at Brew and Brownie. And then we had meals of sandwiches, pancakes and pork pies and it was a really, really good meal with a nice quaint ambience too.

The Shambles — narrow streets of shops that someone on TripAdvisor dubbed “the Diagon Alley of York”

Smoked Bacon & Brie Sourdough Toastie (a name longer than the queue itself)

The cold didn’t seem to be letting up even though it was well into the afternoon, so we only spent less than half an hour at the Yorkshire Museum Gardens before heading for York’s next best landmark (next to York Minster, that is): Clifford’s Tower.

It was an approximately 20-minute walk down south and it was probably the coldest and windiest I’d ever experienced in the UK, even more so than in Manchester. I was wearing gloves in my pockets and my fingertips still stung from the cold. So when we finally reached Clifford’s Tower and I saw that it was pretty high up, I climbed up the stairs anyway thinking that I might seek shelter from the premises. Plus, the view wasn’t too bad either.


Credit: CC
KY, yours truly, CC and Rumin
View from the top: York Castle (or what remains of it, anyway)

We still had an hour left to kill so as usual, we went shopping.

I never actually managed to find Narnia 😦
KY and CC got very excited with Star Wars merchandise

York’s city centre surprised me because while it is a town that boasts of its historical buildings and architecture, simultaneously its city centre has as large, if not larger, an array of shops than Manchester’s ranging from small local toffee shops not unlike Whitby’s (but that’s where the similarities end) to brands that they don’t even have in Manchester’s city centre like Jack Wills. I also really loved the small intersectional alleys that went in every direction, an old town’s existence running parallel with the developments of urbanisation, a pleasant sight in comparison to Manchester’s busy metropolis. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve grown rather fond of Manchester, but I wouldn’t mind staying and studying in York if I ever have the chance, purely because I love the atmosphere and surroundings of the town, a meshed combination of the elements of what I like about Whitby’s picturesque suburbs, and what I like about Manchester’s diversity and variety.

I fell asleep almost immediately after getting on the coach at 5PM, fatigue from the previous night and walking around in the cold for the whole day catching up to me, which was good because by the time I woke up, I was already back in Manchester. I made a quick dinner and went to sleep rather early that night, heart full and satisfied from having a great time during the trip with good company for the day.

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Michelle Teoh

26-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

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