Although I’ve been pretty good at posting daily for my English drip trip so far, I ran into a snag last night because the hostel didn’t have wifi—which means this is a double edition of the awesomeness from the last two days!
Since I’m pretty bad at sleeping, I woke up at around 5am, and, after dozing for an hour or two, decided to get up and have a morning walk around where we were staying at Haworth. It was surprisingly “warm” (in that it may have been in the double digits Celsius), and marvellously foggy. Sarah has been baffled about my enthusiasm for the unpleasant weather this weekend, but I maintain Yorkshire needs to be experienced through fog, mist, and rain.
Back at the hostel, Sarah and I decided to meet in the foyer before departing for Scarborough. When I went down, however, she was nowhere in sight, so I did some running about into the other communal rooms, small suitcase in tow, and basically being quite flustered and making a fool of myself (as usual). A woman in the foyer saw me run to and fro, and after passing her for the fifth time, I thought it best to “justify” myself. The ensuing conversation, while somewhat amusing, demonstrated a very special kind of everyday casual racism:
Me: Sorry about the running around—I’m looking for my friend, who seems to have disappeared.
Woman: Oh, I think I saw her go that way.
Me (being pretty sure she hadn’t seen me or Sarah together before): Uh…?
Woman: She had a suitcase, and went that way.
Me (getting really confused, since Sarah only had a backpack): I don’t know what you mean…
Woman: Someone who looks like you.
Me (suddenly realising her implications, since there had been another East Asian girl at the hostel, and getting too pissed off to be polite): What do you mean, “someone who looks like me”?
Woman: With dark hair and dark eyes.
Me (deadpan): My friend’s a ginger.
Woman (suddenly all flustered): Oh, well, yes, I know all sorts of people… I have a [some kind of relative] married to someone from France, and [another relative] married to German who has a Polish father, and then there’s [another relative] who’s married to someone from Pakistan. We have all sorts of people in the family.
Well, lady, I would’ve accepted a simple apology, but your attempt to justify your remark only served to further your ignorance and idiocy. Well done, madam—and oh, that white dude who just walked by must be your son, because he has hair and eyes just like yours.
The racist hilarity was indeed hilarious, especially when I relayed the incident to Sarah afterwards. A good chunk of the day was then taken up by our attempts to get to Scarborough, which was easier said than done on a Sunday. A cab (£2.50 each), two trains (£20.50), and a luggage storage service (£3) later, we were finally having fish and chips (£5.85) at the seaside.
Lunch was delicious, and as we strolled along the harbour in an attempt to encourage digestion, I couldn’t help marvelling at the mystical beauty of the fog.
Lots of walking, exploring, purchasing Scarborough rock (basically sticks of flavoured boiled sugar), eating ice-cream (a peach and mango twist at the renowned Harbour Bar for £1.75), some dark cider (half a pint at Weatherspoons for £1.25) later, we found a place that was open for dinner on Sunday night: Saba, a Thai and Indian restaurant.
Yup, for our last dinner together in Yorkshire, we went for something “ethnic”—but as Sarah keeps reminding me, chicken tikka masala is indeed a British classic. At Saba, Sarah went for the Thai menu (£16.80), I went for the Indian (£16.45), and we mixed and matched our goodies.
Since buses are a little tricky on Sundays, we caught a cab (£2.50 each) to our hostel (£18), which was a little out of the way from Scarborough centre. But while the place didn’t have wifi and wasn’t the most well-designed (only one light and one power outlet in a dorm for six), our other roomie, Kirstie, is an incredible hiker and camper who is both an awesome human being and one who can survive “out there”. We had some great chats, and I look forward to visiting her in New Hampshire one day—yay awesome people!
Food & drink: £25.30
Transport & related: £25.50
Walking: 24,676 steps; 17.74km
It was Scarborough Castle day! Bus from the hostel (£1.90), luggage storage (£3), an on-the-go Yorkshire curd tart (£0.62), more climbing through the fog, and we were at Scarborough Castle (£5)! The visibility was very low, and I absolutely loved it—oh, the mood and drama and glory and magic! We spent a good few hours walking around the site, shrouded by fog, unable to see past about 20 metres. The following iPhone camera photos don’t capture the utterly stunning sensation of exploring a castle on a cliff while under these conditions, but I just felt so happy and fortunate to be there, luxuriating in the atmosphere.
And then it was time for our final meal together: a lovely English “afternoon” tea. Le Jardin Cafe did them for £15 for two, and while there wasn’t as much food as the usual set (especially in the mini cakes/bakes department), it turned out to be perfect since we struggled with our sconces. The staff was very friendly, and I left without feeling as stuffed and practically comatose as per usual.
We caught the same train (£13.65), but parted at Leeds, where Sarah alighted. I had such a wonderful time with this lovely Yorkshire lass, I hardly have the words for it. She has simply made the past weekend one of my best in recent memory, and I really hope we’ll get to hang out again, wherever and whenever we next convene.
Although the trip to my final destination (Disley; £3.90) was a little tricky due to flash flooding affecting the train lines, I eventually arrived at my b&b, The Albert Hotel, which was above a pub. Now, I simply can’t stress it enough: I love this place. Since it’s the only accommodation in Disley (basically a commuter village), I was a little uncertain about its quality—but golly, as soon as I stepped into my beautiful room, I knew I was in for a treat.
At the affordable price of a twin room for £42 (an important factor given solo travelling can be so expensive), the room is clean and beautifully presented, while the loo/shower is pretty spacious. I love the linen, the towels, the tea tray and biscuits, the continental breakfast partially laid out for tomorrow—but most of all, I love the warmth and friendliness of the owner, Paul, and the kind folk who frequent the pub. After acquiring some sustenance and supplies from the Co-op (£5.75), I settled with a pint of cider at the bar, and had a nice chat with two especially lovely gentlemen, Neal and Brian. Brian was even kind enough to offer me a lift to my next destination tomorrow (Stratford-upon-Avon), since he’s heading down to London and Disley station is currently unoperational. As much as I’ve loved the places and sights of my English dream trip thus far, it is ultimately the amazing people who are making this a journey to remember.
Transport & related: £20.55
Total (sans souvenirs): £81.42
Walking: 13,728 steps; 9.36km