Jul 1, 2014
We left the Lake District behind us with a certain amount of sadness that we had not planned to spend more time there. But we were on the final few days of our four months in France and headed off to York where we planned to have lunch with a dear school friend of mine. The journey took us through the southern part of the Yorkshire Dales via Skipton and Harrogate on our way to York. Once we got to Skipton we started seeing yellow bicycles everywhere. They were on the side of the road, outside of shops, bolted to walls and on the roofs of buildings. It wasn't until we got to York and started asking questions that we realised that the first three stages of the Tour de France were in England as follows:
We arrived in York and had a most enjoyable lunch with much reminiscing. I also noticed that Le Tour will pass through Woodford Green, where I lived for quite a while, on its way from Cambridge to London. What a pity I wasn't able to watch as the peleton made its way through the high street.
The next day we met our friends from Melbourne who had lunch with us in the Lake District. They planned to drive to York much as we had done but when they started to leave their hotel in Windermere they had a flat tyre and had to drive all the way to York on an emergency tyre at no more than 80 kilometers an hour. What a journey! We planned to meet them outside of Saint Mary Clitheroe's shrine in The Shambles and they arrived as planned. The had returned their hire car and bought train tickets to Manchester Airport rather than drive and later mentioned to us that this was a much more relaxing way of getting from York to Manchester. We had coffee, bought some rather good rolls from a deli in the market and drove down the A1 to Cambridge.
An old school friend is an accredited Cambridge guide and we were lucky enough that he had been persuaded to take us on a tour of the colleges, much as we did in Oxford. Unfortunately most of the colleges were closed but we were able to see the RAF Bar at The Eagle Hotel and Kings College Chapel.
The Eagle Hotel is famous for the graffiti of World War II airmen on the ceiling of the bar but also because it was frequented by Watson and Crick who interrupted patrons' lunchtime on 28th February 1953 to announce that they had discovered the 'double helix' structure of DNA.
Kings College Chapel is renowned worldwide for the Christmas Eve Service, A festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, which is broadcast on the BBC. However it is the building and the architecture that are breathtaking and the stained glass windows are just magnificent.