Yorkshire – Robin Hood’s Bay
This is an Ian Day, at least it is planned that way. There are a few things he told us we must do and see while in Whitby. Robin Hood’s Bay is one, the Silver Street Fisheries for fish and chips in Whitby is another.
I am not ever terribly excited when I see a Pay and Display car park before entering a town—just for tourists—warning them to insert enough coins, buying proper time to see all there is to see in their village. We feed the machine all the change we have, after it refuses to take our credit card. While Michael returns to the car to make sure he locked the doors, I stand in front of the most charming holiday let, wondering why I didn’t explore the possibility. I take a picture of the information. There’s always the proverbial tomorrow.
We begin walking toward the distant bay, passing a row of charming Victorian era hotels. One B&B is for sale. Michael isn’t impressed when I point out the possibilities. The way down is gradual—a good thing—and then we start meeting tourists, huffing and puffing on the climb back up.
We descend and descend and descend. Sometimes on a path. Sometimes on the road. Sometimes on steps. I try not to think about the trip back to the top. When shops and pubs and tearooms and restaurants appear, and the street transforms into a narrow gray ribbon, Michael sees a sign that points to The Square; that must be it.
Climbing some steps, we go straight and turn again. And again. And climb. This doesn’t seem right, I think we should be going down. We just came from up. But I like walking among the small charming cottages better than I do the shop lined streets. I continue to follow Michael till we reach a dead end and choose another path. The Square, when we find it, is nothing more than a row of cottages with breathing space in front of its doors.
We continue working our way up and around, walking through gardens, looking over hedges, taking narrow paths. We wind our way up to a grassy glade high above the bay, home to several viewing benches. We head for the one vacant bench and roost for awhile, stopping to smell the roses, and just be here. Inhaling the day. The moment.
Deciding we have lingered long enough we make our way uphill. Again. Detouring down another small road we see an unusual church steeple in the distance that draws us forward. The interior of the charming village church is small, quietly beautiful and unassuming.
Back in Whitby we make our way to the apartment amid larger crowds than usual. They seem to be clustered in front of the place we are trying to get to—the iron gate that leads to the stairs that leads to our temporary home. Someone is sitting near the gate trying to set up a computer. Maybe it’s a tour group?
Excusing ourselves all the way, we agree it is time for a gin and tonic with crisps, but are distracted by more noise filtering through our open windows. Looking out I see donkeys—six donkeys—and an old man looking very peasant-like and a little girl dressed in what looks like pink pajamas holding his hand. Someone is adjusting his clothes and talks about a run through. Time stops. No one moves. I wish I knew what was really going on and how to find it and see the completed project. If only it had a name.
At 5:30 we leave the apartment and head for Silver Street Fisheries—I may turn into a fish and chip. As luck would have it—or design—we climb steep narrow streets to attain our goal. For awhile it is almost straight up, and I begin to think our friend is trying to do us in—or keep us healthy. I’ll go with the latter.
Seeing the chip shop in the distance, we worry it is closed, but walking further we discover we were looking at the wrong building. Michael orders haddock for me and cod for him and comes to the table bearing napkins, malt vinegar, salt and squishy pouches of tartar sauce and ketchup. We dine on crispy goodness at a tiny table by the side of the road—the only table in the entire miniature space that is not set at a slant.
Sitting here I notice that the building opposite is a holiday let, and leasing information is on a large sign almost directly opposite. I see a couple hauling a suitcase walking toward us. They knock. No one answers. They try opening the door. Locked. They are living my worst nightmare, but they seem to be taking it in stride.
There is much discussion, and laughter on the part of the female. The male patiently uses his phone to call the letting agency trying to find out how to gain entrance. I hear something about information being in an email. The young man seriously searches his phone for clues he can’t find.
Taking what we are sure is the long way home, because we walk away from the direction we came, we pass a parking lot and light dawns. I’m glad we didn’t know it was here—that wouldn’t have been any fun at all.
We work our way down through high viewing areas toward the Khyber Pass and down again till we reach the Quay. Lines of closed shops surround us, with the exception of the arcades and slot machines. I stop and look at a sign posted in another fish and chip restaurant—a chip butty is £2.10. It can’t be. A chip is a fried potato. A butty is a bun for a sandwich. Surely not.
“Michael, I need to try one of those—I can’t even imagine.”