Thursday, May 28, 2009

Travel Tidbits, or vignettes from the road.

We are now back from Germany having spent a rather wonderful short week renewing an old friendship and gathering in a last few pretty great pens, as it turned out. All the time enjoying the great weather and fine sights of Nürnberg.

On arriving in England Tuesday, we set off from Heathrow mid-afternoon and got into Bedford in the evening. Wednesday brought us to York, and today, Thursday, we set out to explore the city, which we last visited in the 1970s.

To be honest, for a number of reasons the trip back found me grumpy, but not so much so that I did not enjoy perhaps the best response to pens since the institution of current security procedures, bearing in mind that I fly an average of five or six times a year, often more, with a significant number of pens in my carry-on luggage.

At Schiphol (Amsterdam) you go through security at the gate (often for a second time, if your flight originates elsewhere, as ours did), a really efficient manner of dealing with the problem. So we go through, off comes my belt and I empty my pockets, including the Tighe M800 set that are generally my travel pens, into my backpack. Out comes the laptop, and we go through. At this point one of two things usually happens, either the pens and I go through without comment or the backpack gets searched.

So, I was not too surprised when the head of security came over bearing my bag and asked if the pack was mine. “Yes,” I answered. “I have to make a note," he replied. "Would you happen to have a pen?” My bad mood broken I replied, “I may have.” We both grinned widely and he walked off.

Having stayed the night just beyond London at the Bedford Swan Hotel, we set out Wednesday along back roads headed for York. Along the way we made two stops, one in Fotheringhay village, based on nothing more than a whim, and the other born of my desire to visit Peterborough, the scene of the infamous Peterloo massacre of 1819, the last truly revolutionary moment in modern British history. Well, one for two ain’t bad. We struck out, totally, in Peterborough, a thoroughly modern city that, honestly, we were too fatigued to cope with, but Fotheringhay turned out a treat.

The village is the birthplace of Richard III, a crossroads in the War of the Roses, the site of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots and is little changed since then with its simple early Gothic church.

From there we continued north without stop after the abortive detour to Petersborough. On the way, though, we did notice in one village perhaps the best name for a fish and chips shop we have seen, Frying Nemo.
We got to York mid-afternoon, settled into our B&B, Sharon got some work done and then we headed out for a bit of dinner at a local restaurant the owner of the guest house had mentioned as being good and close. Score!! Melton’s offered us one of the best meals we have had in quite a while. If you are in York, don’t miss it, especially as the prices are quite reasonable for the UK.

Fotheringhay church. A simple late Romanesque/early Gothic parish church the villagers struggle to maintain it. I emptied my change pocket (about £5) and should have left more.

The village.

The farmhouse, understandably, is more modern.
Today, we explore York. Stay tuned.

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