Yorkshire – Home in York
One of the last things Michael tells me before we depart Whitby, while he sits in the chair by the window facing the Quay bordering the estuary of the River Esk is, “I really like this little town.” I knew he would. Unfortunately it is time to say goodbye.
After cleaning, packing, and then hauling our luggage down the stairs, across the street, down the pedestrian walkway and up the sidewalk to the car park, Michael loads the boot, stuffing it full. He programs Jeeves and noses the car west toward York.
With time on our hands we take the path less traveled, wandering along minuscule B roads up down and around the moors. More than once Michael asks, “Charlotte, what have you done to me now?” as we stop, holding our breath, while we watch a too wide lorry approaching. When I first saw the area on a map—North Yorkshire Moors National Park—I thought the entire region would be the landscape that now unfolds before us. But the past week has proved me wrong. There are soaring ruins, numerous tiny villages, a dale for almost every moor and green green fields filled with grazing shaggy sheep.
Once again hauling our suitcases, this time from a car park outside the old city walls a half mile away from where we now stand, I’m living my worst nightmare. Michael opens the lock box next to the apartment door only to find it empty. There is supposed to be a key. It says right here on my instructions that there will be a key. I remember the couple in like circumstances from the other night and their ce la vie attitude. I try adopting the same. When the letting agency answers the phone I am told that someone from their office is in the apartment turning on the heat, getting things ready for our arrival. They have the key. They will let us in.
One reason I rented this apartment—the thing that really sealed the deal—was that parking was part of the package. I guessed way back in March, sitting in the comfortable environs of my art studio searching through VRBO, that parking just may be a problem inside a walled city. Before the young woman prepping the apartment pops off and away, Michael asks her to explain the parking permit—where and how.
She gets out her phone and keys in something which brings up a multi colored map. We can park only in the blue zone. Only on the street. Only on certain streets. And only if there is a designated area on the street for parking. A parking space is not guaranteed. This isn’t quite what I bargained for, but we’ll see. The young woman tells us that this is just one of the joys of staying in an ancient city with more people and cars than space.
Avoiding the daunting task of figuring it out we decide to have lunch, but we need to hurry, our window of opportunity, noon – 2:30 is running out. I try Google Maps for a suggestion—everything is on the other side of the river. So I Google lunch in York. We land in the Missoula Montana restaurant steps from our door. I really didn’t expect to find myself in this restaurant in this city on this day seated at a table for two facing the Ouse River with Montana license plates hanging on the wall. But it’s cute. Clean. Fresh. Bright. Airy. I’ll take Montana.
Back on the streets, we walk toward the car park outside the city gates where our Toyata awaits. On the way to the car a young woman asks Michael for his help, watching to make sure she doesn’t bang into another vehicle, as she exits her space. She makes it, waving gratefully as she leaves us in her dust. It is then I realize that we don’t have a chance. Not even a prayer of a chance.
Finding a space for our little hybrid car isn’t pretty—far from it. We find ourselves on a dead end street with cars parked on both sides and a hairs breadth to use for maneuvering when trying to turn around. Jeeves would be having a fit. I hang my head out the window to make sure we, and everyone else on the street, stay in one piece as Michael inches along at a turtles pace.
Far from the madding crowd we find a sign that gives us permission to stow our car—R15SC. It is a far walk down paved streets, cobbled streets, and sidewalks hauling the rest of our luggage, but I don’t care. I m so grateful we found a space. And didn’t have a wreck. I feel like we won the lottery.We may just leave the car where it is for the month and use trains and busses and our faithful feet to get us where we want to go.
Back at the flat, I scrutinize our surroundings. I rented this centuries old attic apartment because I fell in love with the white walls and the massive wooden beams spanning the living area. They are actually all over the apartment, left exposed where ever possible. Gosh they are old—and no nails. And they still stand.
The kitchen is more modern than I would have ever imagined. Every appliance I need is at my fingertips, tucked behind slick wooden cabinets: wine cooler, dishwasher, washing machine, frig and freezer—half and half! However, storage for our things is pretty much nil. Making room for our clothes I rearrange the one closet in the hallway. This requires hauling one of the vacuum cleaners into the guest room along with an ironing board and clothes drying rack. I leave one of our suitcases in the corner of the room. The rest of our suitcases I stash in the giant time worn wardrobe.
I think we are home.
If anyone reading this has a desire to visit York, I highly recommend Stays York. Totally professional, they are wonderful to deal with, and the information manual provided with the apartment, contains absolutely everything you may need to know—about the apartment, appliances, places to eat, things to do.