History and Hauntings (Part Two of Two)

Continued from Tuesday’s post

So after a stunning (yet exhausting!) whirlwind trip to Madrid, I arrived back in Stevenage, a bit later than expected, since some genius managed to get his luggage on the plane and then couldn’t actually find the plane. Which resulted in missing the last bus back! But I eventually made it, and spent a bit more time with Nan, who distressingly, had had a pretty bad accident right before we’d walked in, and had injured herself severely, causing her to be laid up in bed the rest of the trip. In all her stubbornness she refused for us to call a doctor, but consented by Friday, when both a nurse and doctor visited and thankfully declared that though bruised and in a lot of pain, she hadn’t broken anything. It’s things like this that make it so incredibly difficult to be so far away, but my Dad is heading over within a few weeks, which will mean the world to her, and hopefully something can be done to help make sure she is as safe and comfortable as possible.

The next day, I visited some beautifully kept gardens at Hatfield House (where Elizabethan history began!), with another good friend, Shareen, and her boyfriend, who was great! We had afternoon tea and scones, Victoria Sponge (well worth the three pounds I put on in the last week), and talked travel, memories, and Extreme Ironing – a venture yet to come! That night, another one of my oldest friends, James, took us out to an historic little town just outside Stevenage, where we spent hours talking about everything and anything, learning about life in the military, reminiscing, laughing, and sharing hopes of the future. It still blows me away that someone I sat with in school over a decade ago, who I’ve only seen once or twice since, can still be so close and so comfortable to be around. Nights like that truly make me count my blessings.

The next day, we made way to Leeds, where I learned that booking train tickets in advance is crucial. Clearly I hadn’t; and discovered it was consequently going to cost about $200 to travel there and back! C’est la vie, I suppose – didn’t let it spoil the time I had with one of my oldest friends, who I’ve literally known since I was about nine or ten years old, and her fiancé, who was incredibly hospitable and such a laugh. After a night of dinner, exploring the city, cat cuddling and zombie fighting, he drove us into our final destination: York.  London may have a piece of my heart but I have to say York has a little part of my soul, too. It’s the most haunted city in the UK, and the sense of history that consumes you the second you cross the city’s walls is just awe-inspiring.  Surrounded on all sides, York’s streets are made of cobblestones that date back hundreds and hundreds of years. Lining them is an assortment of speciality shops, boutiques, and small pubs, one of which is built without foundations, giving rise to an inside full of warped nooks and twisted crannies with no regard to symmetry or balance at all. The walls were lined with newspaper clippings and framed ghost stories – the perfect place for a good English beer and a bite to eat on Friday the thirteenth! I squeezed the day dry, exploring the Dungeons, learning about Highwaymen, conspirators, plague and witchcraft, not to mention being scared witless as a group of us made our way through the dark. I walked a recreation of 10th century York and learned all sorts of Viking history, as well as the Shambles, an ancient street of mismatched buildings recorded as early as 1086, leading to Europe’s largest Gothic cathedral. I was led on an award-winning ghost tour where I laughed, cried, and was left wondering if I’d capture a glimpse of the plague girl abandoned by her parents, or the medieval army of ghosts. It was perfect.

I made my way back to Stevenage for a last goodbye with my Nan, a night with family friends in London, and onto the flight back – bags packed with sweets, souvenirs, and photographs, eyes heavy and jetlagged from a whirlwind of excitement, and hearts full of memories and contentment that would soon be making space for nostalgia and wanderlust.  Times like these may be few and far between, but the lifelong memories and friendships make them more than worth waiting for. This week, it’s back to work, back to reality, back to ROSE KITTEN, and back to catching up with all of you who I missed terribly! I took a look at my Reader, which is pretty close to 300 unread. Not going to lie – that’s a pretty scary number. So tell me all what you’ve been up to for the last two weeks – and I promise, I’ll get round to catching up on everything ASAP. 🙂  And as an ad said quite aptly on the plane:

Onto planning the next trip! I don’t think I’ll ever get the travel bug out of my system, not ever. Prague, Italy, more of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and India are all very much still on my list, and I have every intention of exploring every one inside out. One day…


  1. So, for some reason, I find the shots of pigeons in the album hilarious – but also reassuring that pigeons look the same everywhere. 😉

    Glad you got to see your Nan and that she’s doing well. All of the other places you two visited sound crazy awesome, and being able to see good friends, old and new, is an essential part of travel.

    Don’t get rid of that travel bug just yet! There is SO MUCH of the world to see!

    1. I loved your pigeon comment on the boat ride picture 🙂

      I don’t plan on getting rid of the bug any time soon! And this was D & I’s first BIG (other continent) trip, and I’m thrilled he’s (finally!) got the bug now too!

  2. ahhh this sounds amazing – and lol at nicopolitan’s comment =) i’ve never been up to york but it’s only a couple of hours away, and you’ve just confirmed it for me, i’m going!!!

    sorry to hear about nan’s accident, i hope she’s ok….

    1. GO! Why haven’t you gone to York yet?? Why aren’t you going RIGHT NOW?? 🙂

      I’m hoping Nan is okay too – will find out another update this weekend hopefully…

    1. I know!! I can’t even believe it – I had an email from my Dad this morning talking about the wedding and it hit me it’s only 3 and a half months away. I can’t even get my head around it 🙂

  3. What an amazing trip! Sorry to hear about your gram’s fall though…. scary…

    You really have not missed much on my blog over the last 2 weeks. Just a whole lot of running! I am pretty lame these days I guess you could say… But oh well!

    Welcome back – I hope the jet lag hasn’t been too bad. I always seem to have a tougher time when I come back from Europe…

    1. It was so scary to find her like that… we’re hoping to hear this weekend how she is doing…

      The jet lag hasn’t been too bad (thankfully), just the bug we caught on the way back, but I’m ALMOST over it 🙂

  4. My boyfriend and I really want to travel lots before settling down too. Definitely do Australia – it’s such a friendly country. I was excited to read about York. Haunted? I’m in!

  5. Ah, I can’t even FATHOM this vacation. You did SO MUCH! I’ve actually never been bitten by the travel bug, but I think it’s because I haven’t traveled much. Once I go on my first big trip, I think it might happen.

    Awesome pictures, Em!

    1. Thanks!! 🙂 And it’s funny, I got back and thought “we only really did four places”, not realising it was within about eight days!! It was exhausting but a MILLION percent worth it. But lesson learned: bank those vacation days so next time we can take an extra week! 🙂

      And you’ll DEFINITELY be bitten once you take your first big trip. D hadn’t either until this one, and now, I think he’s hooked!

    1. Awww, thanks – it was perfect, and so wonderful to be able to introduce him to my grandparents and spend some time with them before the wedding. As well as show him EUROPE! 🙂

  6. If I win the lottery, I sure will save some of the money for travel and leisure.
    Your travel really sounds amazing!

    P.S. So glad that your Nan is doing well. 🙂

  7. I hear you on the train tickets! We wanted to take “the tube” when we went to Paris and possibly see London for an afternoon, but it was far too expensive. We found out, from a nice older couple on our dinner cruise, that buying tickets in advance lowers the price significantly… FYI, said old couple was doing the opposite of what we intended; they took the tube from London to see Paris for a day!

  8. Now where is York, in regards to regions in England? I wonder if I’ve passed through in the past, because it looks a little familiar.

    I love those cobblestone roads in England. They were in Cornwall as well 🙂

  9. It’s a bit north east of Leeds – mid to north east England I’d say?

    I do love cobblestones but my heels didn’t – had to pick up a pair of flats 🙂

  10. What a fun trip! I can’t imagine how hard it had to have been to leave. 😦 My grandma is leaving to go back to Guatemala tonight. I’m so sad. We said goodbye to her yesterday and then my mom ended up bringing her over today to say goodbye again. It’s so fun to see her with Danny, she loves him so much and just can’t get enough of him. I hate not knowing if we’ll see her again. She wants us to go there for her 90th birthday next August and I’m hoping we can! I’m so glad you got to see your Nan!

  11. Seriously you went to Hitchin!? Thats like 20-30 minutes from my house lol. I go to the Opticians in Shefford (not to be confused with Sheffield which is t’up north). Hatfield House is down the road from where my cousin went to University.

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