Sometimes human relationships are tough and when it comes to love, it’s no different. Finding the right person is incredibly hard but you cannot just relax once it happens: connexions need to be nurtured to survive the routine and the passing of time. Personally, I have not always paid so much attention to my significant other as I tend to focus on “what’s next” and put my energy towards career goals, learning new skills or just whatever new obsession I am going through at the time *hello drumming classes or English anthropologists!*
After a bumpy couple of months with my husband, he decided to surprise me organising a weekend away. He planned everything: from the actual trip to choosing an accommodation or scheduling activities for us to do together. As you can probably guess by my writings, I am a very hands-on person and I struggle to let go my inner control freak – but this time I had no choice as he wouldn’t reveal any details for me.
With very little information, I packed a suitcase and a taxi picked us up on Saturday at 7.45am. We headed to Edinburgh Waverley train station and on boarded a train that was going South, to London Kings Cross. There were a number of stops so every time the train was entering a station, I would ask him whether we had to get off.
Berwick Upon Tweed with my favourite chocolate shop Cocoature? Nope.
Newcastle with the astonishing armadillo museum which I love? Nope.
And so on until we got to York: we had arrived to our weekend getaway destination.
I was very pleased as for quite a long time I wanted to visit this amazing English city but never got to actually make it happen. It is crazy how often international destinations take priority in our plans yet there are beautiful spots just round the corner to your home that we never visit: York is one of the best conserved medieval towns in Britain and its cathedral (called Minster by the locals) is the best specimen of gothic architecture in whole United Kingdom.
Day 1: what we did on Saturday
The first thing we did was to walk to the Grand York hotel to check in and leave our bags. The building was just magnificent and all the hotel staff made us feel really welcomed and comfortable. They gave us some chocolates when checking in and offered us water, fruit and of course, using the toilet facilities as our room wasn’t ready. I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone planning a weekend in York – it is a bit on the pricey side but it is worth the money.
After leaving our bags with the hotel concierge and getting ready, we went for a walk in the city centre, as my husband needed to pick up something that he had pre-ordered as a gift for me. I was excited as well as intrigued: what possible gift would he need to pre-order in York for me? After a brief walk, we arrived to one of the best shops I have ever visited: The Cat Gallery, which sells all sort of things for cats and for people that love them. Just as promised, there was a small present waiting there for me: a pair of socks featuring a tuxedo cat which looks just like our own cat *cute*
Lunch was next on the agenda and we had actually booked to eat at The Ivy, which exceeded my expectations. They had a table for us on the first floor and the décor and atmosphere was just perfect. Floral fabrics, proper table cloths and napkins as well as a very attentive service… and good portions of food that was just delicious. I had a tomato soup and a salad, whilst my husband opted for a garden pea risotto.
We didn’t have time for dessert as we were booked for a city tour to learn more about York and its history and hidden secrets. It took us about 2h and I learnt some interesting things: did you know that the only roman emperor to be proclaimed outside of Rome was Constantine and it actually happened in York?
We then headed back to the hotel as we had a reservation for a couples massage and facial treatment in the hotel spa. Even though I loved the cat socks, I think this was the best thing of my Saturday. We got to be in the same room with two therapists, relaxing music and a really good range of products from ESPA, a brand that I have known before for all things aromatherapy. After our 2h treatments were completed, we spent some time in the spa *mostly in the jacuzzi* and then headed back to the room to get ready for dinner.
I was craving some Asian food but I don’t really like Chinese restaurants as I find the food is too greasy and they usually lack of vegetarian options. We opted for Wagamama and even though I usually don’t support food chains, I make an exception with them as they have done some really good work with one of my favorite vegan chefs, Gaz Oakley. Also, I cannot go to Wagamama and not ask for a huge bowl of edamame!
After a very intense Saturday, I was looking forward to get into bed even though York was immerse in Saturday night atmosphere.
Day 2: what we did on Sunday
On Sunday we woke up just after 8am and had a small breakfast in the hotel room. We had tickets to go to the York Viking Museum (Jorvik) at 10.30am and this visit was a great experience too. After an introductory video, you jump on a time ship that literally takes you to York when the Vikings were living there. You get to see how they lived, traded and worked; it is a fantastic activity that no one that ever visits York should miss! Also, the tickets are valid for a whole year, which makes me want to come back every weekend!
After our time travel, we walked around the city a bit more, enjoying the Shambles, the Bars (as in city gates rather than pubs!) and the views around the river Ouse. I feel like I have taken hundreds of pictures but everything was so gorgeous, I didn’t want to stop myself.
Lunch on the second day was at Goji, a vegetarian restaurant that has some tables in the back door patio. We got to enjoy our food al fresco which is always a plus. I had a hummus salad platter which was full of broccoli *one of my favorite veggies ever, believe it or not!* and then ventured for dessert too with a chia and fruit pudding which was fresh and very good. After lunch we went for our final visit which was the stunning cathedral and again, I was thrilled to see so much gothic splendour around me. The glass windows are very impressive and I loved the Chapter Room, with its octagonal shape yet no central pillars for support – a true architectonic dream.
After a good hour wondering around the Minster, we went for our last walk around York, stopped for a coffee and picked up our bags in the hotel to return to Edinburgh. I think this probably has been one of my best Easter weekend breaks ever, even though we just travelled 260kms and didn’t even need my passport! <3
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