18 March 2012

uk train trip -- Leeds

The family I work for went to the snow for the week with others leaving me with a free week since there were extra family members around to help with the boy. Since I've recently been to Iceland and I'm heading to Italy for Easter, I decided I'd take this opportunity to see some of the UK...and keep the costs down. From an email telling my of super cheap fares if I book early, I got train tickets for this past week a while ago. I also booked accommodation and then got distracted with other things. So this was going to be an interesting holiday with only those things booked and nothing else thought about. (I usually put more planning effort in.)

So on Saturday 10th March I rose early and dragged my luggage to Kings Cross Station to make the first stretch of my journey to Leeds. My new phone (fake iphone so it has lots of apps and gadgets and stuff) happily arrived a couple days before I left when I wasn't expecting it until after I got back. That gave me plenty of distraction, not that I mind travelling. I could plug it into the wall and fiddle away with my new toy. And thankfully I've mostly got my head around how it works now.

In Leeds I'd arranged to couchsurf with a local family and I caught the bus they suggested and met me at the stop they said to get off at. They were very friendly and chatty and welcoming. The mum is a crafter; an art class teacher in fact. We spent that afternoon pulling out supplies and crafting away. I had another go at felting. I haven't done much before. Just a little before I left Australia. She had a variety of greens so I did a basic swatch with the top layer being carefully placed as to resemble layers of grass. Then roll, roll, roll, roll, roll...for what seems like ages. I'm pretty happy with the outcome though. I think I'm going make it into a zip purse. Sometime...

I hung out with them all day and they ordered in Thai for tea. Yummo. After their little girl was in bed was sat and chatted and she helped me make a list of things I could see and do in Leeds the next morning.

Sunday morning I caught the bus into Leeds city centre and wandered down to Clarence Dock. There went to the Royal Armouries Museum to amuse myself a while until the shops opened. I only looked through the tournament section but it was fascinating. Jousting intrigues me. It's such a strange entertainment. And all the armour and things they wore and did as a part of it all. Some of the armour was funny too like the mo helmet below. They also displayed and explained the art on the armour and how it was done. I found that particularly interesting.

I then left the armoury and made my way back into the town visiting the Corn Exchange which is an interesting building to look at. Then I went along some arcades and streets which were really quite pretty. I just wandered around, eventually stopping in at a bagel shop for lunch. Then slowly made my way around and back to the bus and back to my hosts in the early afternoon.

That afternoon, with the sun gorgeously shining, my host and child took us to a nearby nature reserve for a walk in the woods. Followed by a late afternoon tea at a cafe.
The next morning I left early to catch my train to my next destination.

Leeds was not anything spectacular though I had a nice weekend there. Nothing amazing or noteable to visit. Though I did spend a lot of my time there hanging out with the host family who were lovely. Perhaps I'm just used to be overwhelmed by the fascination of being in other countries and seeing 'icons' I've only ever previously heard about. I tend to be having exploring holidays rather than relaxing ones over here. On to my next destination, where I intended to do more of the exploring holiday format...

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