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Trains, Samuel Smith and The World's End

Saturday, July 20, 2013 @ 06:35 pm from England England
Day 24

The first thing we did today was go to the bus/train station so I could get my bus tickets for tomorrow and Eric could get his train tickets to take him to London tomorrow. After getting our tickets we went over to the National Railway Museum and toured it.

The museum is actually really nice. They have a recreation of an old train station with different eras of trains. There's also another huge room filled with trains from all over the world plus the Flying Scotchman (a fast train that took people between London and Edinburgh starting in the 30's).

We saw everything the railway museum had to offer so we went and grabbed lunch then went to a pub called The Kings Arms so I could get some fresh Samuel Smiths beer. Samuel Smith is brewed in Tadcaster (not too far from York) and has several pubs throughout England. The pub was absolutely packed but we worked our way in and had a couple pints. I've yet to have a bad beer from this brewery and was not disappointed here either.

Since we had seen pretty much everything we wanted to in York, we decided to go see the movie The World's End. It was about 5 highschool friends who get back together later in life to try to complete a "Golden Mile" of drinking with one drink in 12 different pubs. It turns out the town is taken over by robots and a bunch of crazy stuff happens. The movie was pretty funny and it probably helped that we had a few pints before watching it too.

When the movie ended we weren't quite sure what to do so we went back to the Kings Arms and had some more beers. Apparently York is where all the stag, hen and birthday party groups come for a weekend of drinking. They all dress up in ridiculous outfits and pubcrawl their way through town. It was pretty funny watching some of the groups as they made their rounds.

We're back at the hotel now relaxing for a bit before heading out for dinner. Eric has to catch his train at 8:30 tomorrow morning and my bus is at 10:30 in the morning. I think we're going to go find some fish n chips since that's what Eric wants for his last meal before he heads home.

Tomorrow I had to Llandudno, Wales for a few nights. It's a coastal town with some nice hiking areas, beaches as well as some castles and other old buildings.

Walking around York

Friday, July 19, 2013 @ 10:23 pm from England England
Day 23

We took our time getting ready this morning since our only plans for the day were to walk around and explore the city of York. The weather is still on the hot side with a high today of 92 degrees. The first place we visited was the York Minster. There has been a church on that site since 627AD and the current structure was started in the 12th century.

One of the things I've been struggling with during this trip is trying to decide what to spend money on visiting and what to pass on. Pretty much all of these old churches, museums and castles have admission fees ranging from 5 to 20 dollars. There's no way I can justify paying these fees every time just to take a few photos inside an old building. Since I didn't want to pay the 10 pound (15 dollar) fee to enter the York Minster, we just walked around and took some photos outside.

After the York Minster we made our way down to The Shambles. It's a street here in York that has a bunch of really old buildings that are all uneven and leaning into the street. It gives you a bit of a feeling of Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. Next to the Shambles was a big market that had all kinds of stuff ranging from fresh fish to leather goods. If we had a fridge or a kitchen I would have bought some fresh food for the next few days.

York is a very old city and has a lot of fortifications and towers throughout the old city. One of those is the York Castle (Clifford's Tower). That was next on our list of sights to see so we made our way there. As we were walking there we passed by a pub that was advertising a Festival of Cider with ciders as cheap as 2.09 pounds (about half what other places typically charge). We went in and had a pint before heading to the tower.

The problem of paying money to take a few photos struck again when they wanted 6 dollars to get the privilege to climb up the tower. We just took some photos around the outside then walked over to the old city walls that still stands around most of the city. They turned it into a big walking path that's filled with nice views of the city. Fortunately they didn't charge to walk on it so we spend a little time walking around the city.

Both of us were getting a little hungry so we stopped into a pub and had some more ciders with lunch. I had a ham and pea soup with a side of fries. The British like their peas which is fine by me! After lunch we walked around the city a little more then ended up finding a Whisky shop. We bought a couple of the tiny bottles and enjoyed them by the River Ouse.

We'd been drinking for the majority of the day so we came back to the hotel to relax for a bit. I started researching what my plans would be after leaving York and tried to purchase some bus tickets. For some reason the National Express website kept saying my credit card transaction was declined even though there are pending transactions that appear on my credit card website. I'll have to make sure those don't actually clear or get charged for them.

I went down to the bus station to ask about buying a ticket but they had already left for the day. I'll go over there tomorrow to check on it since that'll determine what my plans will be. My plans are to head over to Llandudno, Wales and spend a few days there. It's got some nice hiking areas and it's also by the beach which works great for this heat wave that's been going through the country.

For dinner we went back to the place where we had our first cider today since they were advertising fish n chips plus peas and a beer for 5.99 pounds. The food was pretty good and the place was crowded. I think drinking all day had got to both of us though because after the first drink we decided we were done for the night.

I was doing a little research and found out that there's a bar pretty close to the hotel we're staying at that serves Samuel Smiths (one of my favorite breweries that brews their beer a few miles from here). I'm going to swing by tomorrow and have a pint or two.
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York Minster
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The Shambles in York
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York England
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Old city wall in York England

Another Day, Another Country - England

Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 10:18 pm from England England
Day 22

Eric and I started off by having breakfast at the hotel then we set off to tour the St Andrews Old Course. They have a tour each day at 11 and 2 so we rushed to get to the course in time for the 11:00 tour. The tour lasted about an hour and walked us through a few holes and the Swilcan bridge.

After the tour we had a quick bite to eat and then made our way into Edinburgh to return our car and catch a train down to York. We made our way into the city and successfully navigated to a gas station and back to the rental car center without any issues.

Apparently the Edinburgh Waverley train station doesn't have any trash cans available due to bomb scares or some nonsense so we had to carry all of our trash around for the next couple of hours until we got off the train in York. The train ride was another experience all together. We waited too long to buy our tickets and ended up paying about double what we should have (quite the costly mistake). When we boarded the train, some seats were reserved and others weren't and the non-reserved seats filled up pretty quickly. We ended up standing up for about an hour and a half until the train got near Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and the train emptied out.

We got into York and checked into our hotel. It was nice to have access to an air conditioned room since it was 93 degrees outside and we'd been sweating on a train for the last 2.5 hours. We relaxed for a few and then went out to find some dinner. We ended up at a place called Yo! Sushi and then went to a Tesco to buy a few beers.

We've got a few full days here in York so we're going to walk around the city and explore tomorrow. There's quite a few old buildings and the old city wall is a giant walking trail now which will be fun to go on. I also want to head over to Tadcaster and check out the Samuel Smiths brewery and try some of the beers fresh from the source.
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Me on the Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews Old Course
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Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews Old Course
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Clubhouse at St Andrews Old Course
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River Ouse in York

Where I've been:

Good Evening… Planet Earth
All the countries I visited on this trip (in yellow).

What's this about?

Traveling is something I've loved doing for as long as I can remember. I've been lucky enough to travel out of the US a few times but never longer than 2 weeks at a time. I decided that I should go see the world and experience all it has to offer. I booked a one-way ticket to Dublin, Ireland to depart on June 26, 2013. After I get to Europe I'll let serendipity take hold and see where I end up. No schedules and no itinerary… just go with the flow. That's as close to a plan as I'm making.

Who am I?

My name's Brandon O'Brien and I'm a travelholic. Before this journey I've been to 11 countries and put over 17,500 miles on various motorcycle trips through the USA and Canada. I'm a self-employed web developer so I'm fortunate enough to be able to work anywhere there's an internet connection. That's what truly made this experience possible.


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