March 22, 2012 - Our original plans were to get up, get breakfast, and head to York. Well, two out of three isn’t bad. We got our gear packed and headed upstairs for breakfast. Although the breakfast room quickly filled up we were the first ones there and helped ourselves to fresh fruit and bread. Tony selected the hot cooked breakfast, while Louisa went with the “Mama bear” serving of porridge. The cooked breakfast was great, and the porridge was alright (though given the chance she’d order something different). Regardless we were ready to get out and about. The weather was perfect – sunny, slightly breezy and not a cloud in the sky.
We stashed our gear at the B&B and headed out on foot towards Arthur’s Seat (the weather was too nice to pass up a morning hike!). We wandered through town and eventually came to the park. Even though the paths aren’t marked, it’s rather difficult to miss the large hill, and there’s a nice map to check before you begin your hike. The walking is easy, and the views from the top (particularly on a clear, only slightly hazy, day) are wonderful.
On the way back we passed a small ruined church, and cut across the park by Holyroodhouse and walked back to the B&B. By this point we were tired of walking up the hill to the train station so we counted our coins and hopped on the bus. This was a much simpler way to get to the train station, even if the on-going construction made finding the entrance a trifle challenging. We got a large steak/potato/onion Cornish pasty to split (not a problem, since it was about the size of a pie plate) and waited for the train.
The trip to York was a pleasant several hour ride through the countryside, where the rugged terrain flatten into rolling hills and the grass became a brighter shade of green. York was just as sunny as Edinburgh, and much flatter. The walk to the B&B went fairly quickly, even though we paused along the way to snap a few pictures of the stone buildings. After getting our room key and dropping off our bags we headed out to the York Minster. Fortunately we were able to get in on the last tour to the tower, which gave us some great (if slightly hazy) views of the town and old town walls, surrounding countryside, and the expansive moors.
The inside of the church is beautiful, and we were fortunate that the light cooperated for some cool photos. The church has beautiful stained glass windows; some are quite old, and others had to be replaced after WWII. They also have a roll of honour, displayed and preserved in a glass case. So different from how we do things over here. There’s also a large statue of Constantine outside in the courtyard, near the spot where he was proclaimed Roman Emperor in 306.
Rustique was our choice for dinner. We didn’t have reservations, but they did have a table available – as long as we were out in an hour. The food looked excellent, so we were willing to do a quick dinner in order to sample the menu. Each of us decided to order the three course prix fixe menu. We started with the Basque egg and the crab cake. The egg was placed over chorizo, potatoes and peas. The crab cake was good, and the egg dish was an interesting, spicy combination. Dinner selections were gratin de poissons (fish pie) and bouf bourguignon. Tony loved the beef, while Louisa actually preferred the fish stew at World’s End Pub (it was thicker than the Rustique version). For dessert Tony went with the banana crepe, while Louisa couldn’t resist the cheesecake. Both desserts were excellent.