Trying to catch up! Hang on now, this is going to be a long one.
Monday morning (May 9) I said goodbye to my gracious host Elizabeth, took a quick trip to the post office to mail some stuff home, and then went back to the flat to pack up the rest of my stuff. Walked over to the train station with my pack, bought a ticket to Leeds, and got one with perfect timing. Ah, rail travel is nice. I arrived at Leeds station an hour later, took a cab to the hotel (Ibis; nice room for pretty cheap) and was able to check in. I dumped my stuff and headed out to explore!
The hotel is a bit outside the city centre, outside the ring road. Although the walk into the city centre isn’t terribly interesting, it isn’t very long or taxing either. The buildings were quite pretty. It did get gloomy and then super duper rainy, I managed to get stuck without my umbrella so I had to buy another one!
Leeds, like Manchester, has quite a compact city centre and it’s easy to walk around. I got a nice map from the hotel and that helped a lot. Most of the shopping is in a pedestrian area and various covered arcades. Really beautiful inside, with lots of high end shops.
Pretty much just walked all around that day. I hadn’t been planning on it, but I did end up walking along the river to the Royal Armoury and had about 15 minutes inside before they closed for the day. After that I took a bus back into the city centre (I had been doing so much walking!), had dinner at Wagamama and then went to the cinema to watch a film – Hanna. (I enjoyed it, though there are a few things that I had problems with.)
On Tuesday I had a meetup with a knitter who lives just outside Leeds, Kate! We were hooked up via the knitter’s network (aka ibecks in Manchester). Kate took me to lots of places I probably wouldn’t have ventured to on my own. First up was Baa Ram Ewe! Cute shop that sells British yarns and products. I just picked up some Harris Tweed covered buttons.
Then we headed back down to the train station and hopped a train to Ilkley, about half an hour away. The main attraction? Bettys tea room! We were definitely the youngest ladies in there (aside from some babies); the food was posh and absolutely delicious. We split a frittata and fried pea and mint risotto cakes. Yum! I even finished up with a puff pastry with whipped cream and strawberries, because why not do it up right?
We wandered around a bit to the local yarn shop and button shop before catching yet another train to Saltaire, a world heritage village near Shipley. It consists of a gigantic textile mill and village that were built by Titus Salt. Nowadays the mill has been refashioned with spaces for galleries, shops and cafes. It’s really quite lovely to walk around in, and the textile history is everywhere. There was even a small Yorkshire fashion exhibit on.
Doesn’t this dress look perfectly contemporary?
After saying goodbye to Kate (and thanking her for showing me such a lovely time) I headed back to Leeds, grabbed some dinner from M&S and spent the evening in my room, stressing out about booking places to stay in Ireland. It’s all sorted now, including the flights, and though my trip isn’t quite halfway over I’m starting to feel like it’s going by quickly!
(I’m a bit homesick though so I kind of wish it was going faster.)