the hoofindex - rewind to the previous trip (Geneva) - fast forward to the following trip (All Black's in Cardiff)


This weekend (18th/19th Nov) it was going to be a road trip up to York visiting some mates from NZ. The question that lingered in our minds was "is Maude the Ford going to make it?".

After a little sleep in on Saturday, we finally got on the road about mid morning. We decided to take the fast road up to York - the M1, even though it has the reputation of being a giant parking lot if you are heading north at the weekend. However we had no such troubles and actually made record time to York in just over three hours - and managed to get little ol' Maude up to 100mph. We also found Karen and Johns apartment pretty easily....they live just outside the city center, right next to the old city wall! They have an amazing view over the city wall and the river and its an amazing two bedroom, two bathroom apartment! It was kinda like staying in a lovely hotel while we were there! Karen offers a bed turn down service, lovely soft pillows, huge bath sheets and magazines by the bed....actually way better than any hotel we have stayed in so far!

So then it was tour time, with our guides showing us round the city centre. We walked along the city wall which is still almost fully intact, went to see the Minster which is York's amazing church which looks a lot like Notre Dame. Then it was into the old city which is where all the shops are but they are mostly housed in extremely old, original Tudor is all very much like stepping back in time.

The best bit was walking down what's called 'The Shambles' which we think is where the expression came from. It was one of the first streets in York and was extremely narrow and all the buildings look like they were put together by a 5 year old, they lean in different directions and whoever built them definitely didn't have a level! In fact they must have had only one eye.

On the other end of town is the York Castle... not really a traditional style castle with walls, moats, keep, etc. More like a palace really - with a nice little skating rink for entertainment.

Saturday night we had a few beers (and the girls shared a bottle of wine) then we headed off to a Spanish Tapas bar for dinner. Then the plan was to see the new Bond film but unfortunately it was a very busy night so we went to see Borat instead - it was classic, especially the scene with Borat and his manager running naked through the conference room full of people.

Sunday morning John cooked us a huge cooked breakfast before we headed back into town for a spot of shopping - it was the Hoof'ess chance to shop with a girl for a change - but she was very well behaved and didn't buy anything....but she did lead Karen astray.

We hit the road just before lunchtime on Sunday for our trip home and this time decided not to stay on the M1 all the way but instead go in search of castles. We got off the M1 a bit south of Leeds and headed for a castle that we could see from the motorway. It was called Bolsover Castle and was the 'Pleasure Palace' to one of the Kings cousins back in the day. From there we drove through little country roads lined by hedges or stone walls to Sherwood Forest. We were on the hunt for Robin Hood. Unfortunately there is very, very little left of the forest and our map was deceptive! Turned out that there were just a few stands of trees left and they had been taken over by tacky, overpriced touristy activities.

So we made for Nottingham instead. By the time we finally found the city center the sun was starting to disappear (3.30pm!!!!!!!!!) and the grounds of the castle were closing. Nevertheless we did a full lap of the reasonably impressive Nottingham Castle which was home to the real life Sheriff of Nottingham. It stands atop this rocky outcrop in the city center and certainly gave the impression it would have been very powerful in its time.


We also found the statue of Robin Hood which now proudly stands right outside the castle....the Sheriff would not be impressed!

And then there was the oldest inn in England - amazing to find a pub which first opened in 1189AD!

So finally we got back to Harpenden with Maude still in one piece - she survived her first road trip and not too much worse for wear.

Next week we are in Cardiff to watch the AB's - go All Black's!