After York we continued onto our destination: Whitby. Actually, we were staying in the tiny town of Sleights. Cousin Mary had mentioned to us that she was pretty sure that this was the town at the bottom of a steep grade and she was very correct. Gorgeous scenery along the drive through the Yorkshire Moors with views out to the coast and Whitby itself as we approached. With a minor bit of trouble getting access to our cottage, we were happy with our new accommodations, though nothing could compare with the first (we were spoiled for the rest of the trip). Dad and I headed to the store again for a minor restock of our food and drinks. We cooked with our existing food supply that night and generally fell asleep early.
The next day we woke early for breakfast; in keeping with the theme of this trip, Dad and I walked down the street toward the cafe in the cold rain - the cafe was closed on Tuesdays. Of course. After passing by it the night before, it was super easy to find the car park where we boarded a double decker shuttle bus to take us into Whitby.
Parking is very limited and hectic in town, not helped by the hillsides and narrow streets. We were dropped off in the center of town and made our way to the Abbey. We found an area where they advertised boat rides, which was something Olivier said he very much wanted to do and decided we would do it on our way out. Despite the cold and wind, it was sunny and we assumed the afternoon would turn out nice. Next we walked along the narrow streets and did some window shopping before we started the climb to the Abbey. Whitby Abbey
It took some convincing, but eventually our parents made their way up the 199 steps to the Abbey. Up here, you get magnificent view of the City and along the coast. We wandered through St Mary's graveyard, checking out the old headstones (most are really from the 18th through 19th centuries, though they look older). Then we used our English Heritage Pass to get into the Abbey grounds. You walk through a souvenir shop and mini museum before you get to the grounds. Our parents stayed close to the building while the rest of us went up
to the ruins. There were few other people there, so the kids used the ruins as a place to play hide and seek - perfect! I wandered along the grounds taking photos; with the blue sky and fluffy white clouds, it was the perfect day for pictures.
Whitby Abbey is one of my favorite places in England. It may sound weird, but I love the history of it and in no other place do I get that full sense of imposing history of such an important location. Everything else seems so modern, with life going in and out and by it, where as at Whitby Abbey, time just seems frozen.
The original Abbey was founded in the 7th century and its first abbess was St Hilda. The Abbey was also fundamentally important to Christianity as the Synod of Whitby was held here in 664 and determined many of the future practices of the Church. The original monastery was destroyed in the 9th century while the replacement was destroyed during Henry VIII's reign with the Dissolution of the Monasteries and these are the ruins you see today.
The ruins supposedly inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula. I figured Mom would
like that but Dad was the only one who joined us in walking around the ruins. We all caught up with her back inside the souvenir shop, and the shop with its staff was actually pretty incredible. We stocked up on some local spirits and I got some passionfruit curd (yum!).
Our next stop was down the hill at Hadley's Fish and Chips restaurant which was delicious and among the best food of our whole trip. Seriously, we ordered the small fish and chips and it was more than filling. Not to mention a great atmosphere. When we got back to town and the dock, we realized there were no boats going out in this wind. Olivier was quite upset and by then the kids and parents were tired, so we took the bus back to the park and then went back to the cottage. Sandsend
After getting a rest at the cottage and visiting a local antiques store, Dana and I took to the kids to Sandsend, a small beach town just north of Whitby. We were hoping to let the kids enjoy the beach, but it was not to be. At least, not in the
way we thought. The waves were fierce here, so while they did not get to play in the sand, they really enjoyed watching the crazy waves slam against the seawalls. We did a hike along the coast north of town, where we saw a few dead birds (weird, right?) and not much else except the beautiful, active coasts. Olivier spotted some ships at sea and you could hear the longing in his voice but he seemed to accept that there would be no boat ride.
When we returned to the parking area, the kids were so excited that we walked a little further into town, hoping to spot an open cafe or something. Nope. Emry was determined to get "soaked" so I waited near the seawall with him while he hoped for a big wave. He got a little splashed and was happy, so it was a pleasant drive back to the cottage.
Tot: 0.907s; Tpl: 0.052s; cc: 33; qc: 112; dbt: 0.0635s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.6mb