On Friday we went to Jorvik. It wasn't there when I last went to York with school about 30 years ago. It's pretty cheesy and rather expensive for what you get but it's good fun. You sit on this slow ride around a Viking village buried under the streets of York. There are a few original timbers but most of it was built 20 years ago. They also waft the smells of ancient York at you which, for the most part, is rather like sitting in a gents toilet for 20 minutes.
The exhibition is quite small and is a strange mixture of children's activities and academic research. They even have a few papers lying around so you can read about Viking burial customs. There are also some pretty knowledgeable people in costume who will try to answer any questions.
That evening we ate at Fiesta Mehicana. It was about £30 for one course and drinks each but we were so stuffed that we didn't need anything else. V. good.
On Saturday we did some further tramping round the city and looked for Bunter books for Paula. We found and old Magnet facsimile for £4 so that was pretty good. We also did both of the big Museums: York and York Castle. The former goes from prehistory to the Middle Ages mostly with a special Ice Age exhibition and the latter is mostly social history from the Renaissance onwards. It took us over 4 hours to look round both of them so the combined £8 ticket was well worth it. I remembered parts of the Castle Museum from my earlier visit but not much.
We tried to get into Betty's Tea Shop for lunch but it was packed so we made do with soup and sandwiches at the Last Drop Inn (Dick Turpin themed) a pretty decent pub near the Shambles. Once again, there was no skimping on portions. It seems that Yorkshire shares America's love of making sure that one course is more than enough. We also did a bit of shopping, visiting Travelling Man and Ye Olde Sweete Shoppe for Sour Plums. York is crawling with interesting independent shops and is a good place for just wandering about.
That evening we tried the Original Ghost Walk. There are about 5 of these every evening and it's probably quite easy to get mixed up when trails cross and go off in the wrong direction. We chose the least sensational walk and were well rewarded with a good time. The guide didn't show us many ghosts but we got an entertaining 2 hour walk around the town for £3.50 each. We ended up outside the Minster and popped into the Guy Fawkes hotel for supper at around 9:45. Once again the cost was about £30 for two courses this time with drinks. I had a very succulent piece of lamb and Paula some very nice Salmon with Crevettes. This was a very decent restaurant and much cheaper than what you'd pay in London for the same level of culinary expertise.
Sunday was our last day. I started to come down with a cold but we soldiered on. In the morning we caught an RAF parade outside the Minster at which they asked permission from the Mayor and her medievally dressed cronies (Sheriff, Town Clerk, etc.) to celebrate the Battle of Britain. They then marched around for a bit and came back for a salute. The band were in good form and didn't play anything too miserable or corny. Then we took in the Treasurer's House which is a 17th century building restored by a heat-exchanger millionaire in the 20's who thought his house was medieval. So it's a bit of a hotch potch but good fun. We didn't have time to take in the ghost walk round the cellar. Apparently Roman soldiers marched through a wall buried to their knees in the floor about 40 years ago.
We had just about enough time to have a tramp round the walls, and buy some Fat Rascals (big fruit scones) for our tea before it was time to leave. It took 2:30 to get back to London and another 2 hours to cross town. All the buses were disrupted by some parade along the Thames. If only they'd told us at Kings X we'd have taken the tube. By now it my cold had become flu and it seemed that every screaming child in London was sitting with us on whatever mode of transport we chose, so we were pretty glad to get back home. This rather soured our mood but there's no denying that we had a great time in York.