Tuesday, August 15, 2006

England, Part 3 - Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay and Fylingthorpe

I suppose I can say very quickly what happened on Monday, but it's barely worth noting. No sightseeing that day. Instead, Melissa drove me to an outlet mall in Doncaster, where I bought some adorable shoes at the Clarks outlet and got a few other things. On the way home from there, we stopped in the charming town of Bawtry and had lunch at a pub. Then we went home, dropped off our purchases, grabbed laundry, and went to the laundromat in Gainsborough, where I ran into a young woman who thought that the United States used Euros as their currency. Apparently, she is a scholar of geography. *smirk*

Fylingthorpe, Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby

We were supposed to find a caravan park outside of Fylingthorpe where the parents of Melissa's friend (Gina) were supposed to be staying. They had been staying in the caravan for a few days already, and they were going to abandon it and let us have it for a few days. We had a nice drive through North Yorkshire, past the moors, which were covered in fields of heather. Then we found ourselves driving through Whitby, and on the bridge going over the harbor, I got to gaze on the most spectacular site - the whole of the harbor with the ruined abbey above it. It was breathtaking, but unfortunately, I wasn't able to get to the bridge again on foot to take pictures.

A short while later, we found ourselves in the tiny village of Fylingthorpe, and followed the signs to our caravan park. We found the caravan pretty easily, and since we were the first ones there, Gina's parents came out to greet us and fussed over us ever so slightly. Gina's mum put the tea kettle on and proceeded to make us sandwiches (she made me a lovely sandwich of herbed cheddar, tomato, lettuce, and salad cream on brown bread) and tea, and she showed us where everything was in the caravan. She kept calling me "Petal". I truly loved it. Gina showed up a short while later. After they were satisfied that we had eaten and that we knew what to do, they left us. We got settled in…the caravan only sleeps two, and Gina and Carol (who would be joining us later) were sleeping in it. There was a tent that comes out from the caravan…generally used as an enclosed eating space, but a small tent was set up in it for Mike and Melissa to sleep in, and then I was sleeping in that space as well (just outside of their tent). After we figured things out, we decided to walk to the beach. To get there, we had to walk through several cow pastures (avoiding cow pats along the way), climb over fences, and take a walk in the woods. But we made it in about 15 minutes and found ourselves in Robin Hood's Bay, so named because Robin Hood apparently kept a fleet of boats here to make a quick escape.

Once we got there, it was too windy to really do much of anything. We just spent a small amount of time looking at the beach and poking into a bookstore. Then we walked back to the caravan, where we met Carol, who was driving in. Once we got her settled, we walked into Flyingthorpe to the little grocers, where we got provisions for dinner that night - two frozen pizzas and some garlic bread. We spent the rest of the evening eating, having some drinks, and watching television.

It was quite cold when we went to bed that night, and since I had started developing a sinus infection and a cough at that point, sleeping outdoors really didn't help me too much. I woke up the following morning to light frost on the car windows.


Wednesday was the day we were to spend in Whitby. Melissa and Carol were hoping to actually swim, although since I thought it was quite cool and windy (but at least it was sunny), I was less than interested. But we piled into the car after breakfast (Sally Lunn Buns with jam) and drove into Whitby, where we stopped first at the large grocery store to get me some medicine and tissues, and then went to the visitor's center. After that, we began our walk toward the beach, stopping to look at anything that captured our interest. We finally made our way to the beach, where Mike proceeded to build a sand castle (Castle Every) and Gina and I stretched out on a blanket. Melissa and Carol ran off…later, they rang Mike's mobile and told him that we needed to meet them at another location on the beach. So Mike finished Castle Every and we walked…and walked…and walked, until we located them. We set up the blanket in the new spot, and Melissa and Carol went swimming. Gina and I put our shoes on and went up in search of food…seafood, as you can imagine, is prevalent there. I got cod and chips, and we got something for Mike, and Gina got some food for herself, and we made our way back down to the beach, where we spent a bit more time.

After Melissa and Carol were finished swimming, we packed up everything and went back up into town, where we stopped for ice cream and to get some candy at the confectionary…Whitby has all the typical seaside things near the beach: candy shops, restaurants, arcades, cheesy museums. Then we crossed the bridge over into the old part of town where the shops were - Gina wanted to look for jet jewelry, which is a specialty in Whitby. Jet washes up on the beach (I found some) and is made into really pretty brooches, necklaces, and rings. So we did that for awhile, and then headed back to the campground for dinner, where Melissa made a cheesy pasta bake thing. Our evening was again spent as the evening before…sitting around the telly, drinking, and eating Pringles.


Thursday was the day we decided to spend exploring Whitby Abbey. So after breakfast, we headed out there and spent a couple of hours. The Abbey was just beautiful…I think it will be fairly obvious when you see the pictures, because I think I photographed every square inch of it.

After that, we drove back toward Fylingthorpe, found a pub called The Hare and Hounds, and had a very nice lunch there. It was superb. I got ratatouille with goat cheese, which may seem like weird pub food, but it was really good. I had crusty bread and boiled, buttered potatoes with it. It was a huge meal and I was stuffed. Despite that, I noticed that they had Sticky Toffee Pudding on their dessert menu, which is my favorite British dessert (it's like a butterscotch cake with hot butterscotch sauce and custard), so I had to order some. We all had dessert. It was fantastic.

After that, we drove back into Whitby to go to the store for a few things, then went back to the campground. We sat around the caravan for awhile, but Melissa, Mike, and I were a bit restless, so the three of us went to Robin Hood's Bay again. We drove this time, because it was raining, but the rain only picked up once we got there, plus all the shops were closed, so we didn't stay long. We just went into a pub to get some shelter for awhile, and Melissa and I had some juice while Mike had a beer, and then we left. I also popped into a tiny internet kiosk and checked my email - bad news: my cousin Tami passed away. We weren't terribly close though, so it didn't ruin my trip. But it seems that every time I'm in England, something bad happens (my grandfather passed away during my study abroad program). It's a wonder I love England so.

I made dinner that night…used up the rest of the pasta with some tomato and mascarpone cheese sauce, crunchy breadsticks, olives, and cheese. Mike broiled some sausages too. Again, that night was the same as the previous nights…television, junk food, drinks.


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