They love me like I was a brother, They protect me, listen to me, They dug me my very own garden, Gave me sunshine, made me happy…
The blog has been quiet and that is because I have been spending my weekend seeing my first ‘Casinader’ in 3 months. Justin arrived from Prague on Friday afternoon and an hour or two ago he headed back. It was a great weekend as not only did I get ‘that family connection’ you need while you’re away but I was also able to show off ‘my town’ and ‘my life’ in Leeds on top of catching up with Justin for the first time in 6 months.
My first task was to figure out how to get to Leeds Bradford International Airport to meet Justin when his flight arrived at 5:20pm on friday. It turns out there is a very good bus that leaves from the Station that gets there, costs only a 2 pound 50 and is easy enough. The main problem is that it takes 40mins but it is reliable, very reliable, as I walked off the bus at 5:19pm just as the timetable had said.
There was a little waiting around but eventually Justin emerged through the somewhat dodgy electronic doors…looking not any different to when he left. His accent hadn’t even changed and besides being greeted with an awesome big bottle of Czech spirits, his surprise that “everything is in English” and the stories about our respective trips/lives abroad – not much had changed. It could’ve probably have been happening in Huntingdale, Australia…although the odds of us actually ‘hanging out’ back when we were both in Australia were somewhat limited haha
As the bus got back in to Leeds, we alighted and began to stroll through the city. Justin was slightly surprised at how small the city was (walking from side to side in a matter of 15 mins) and that the buildings were “actually old”. These were two observations that most of us Australian International students had made when we arrived. I showed him all corners of the city as we walked and talked. My attempts to be a tour guide were somewhat lacking as I didn’t necessarily know what each building was – something Justin was quick to point out😛 The weather was our friend though, as it was for the entire weekend, both of us “europeans” embracing the warmth that was double figures!
“It is the town hall….not quite, but something ‘town hall-y”
Eventually it was dinner time and after encountering a booked our Spice Quarter we went to “Brown’s” an ‘expensive restaurant (or so us students had thought) in the city. It turns out both our steaks were great and neither cost that much more than any other restaurant in town. More discussion was had and Justin had been able to point out that my use of “cheers” had increased exponentially since I arrived here. Something I hadn’t noticed. I hadn’t even noticed how common the phrase is among the British.
After dinner I showed Juz the uni and we went for a pint or two at the Eldon. Although we made sure we went to bed quite early as Saturday was going to be a full day. I say bed…although as Justin will atest, he had to sleep on the floor (with my tiny dorm room not being made for multiple occupancy). He did have a pillow and doona borrowed from Josh, but it took until night two for us to realise a pile of jumpers and shirts could take the edge off what he described as a “hard floor”. It turns out, according to him, there are hard and soft floors haha
Saturday, after getting up early and grabbing a coffee thanks to Justin’s university life being years behind him, we took the train to York. I had been told repeatedly by people that “I HAD TO SEE YORK” and I can see why. It was a lovely ‘English’ city, full of history, full of character and it was great to show Justin a different side of English life.
The main tourist sight in York is the York Minster. It is an amazing gothic building and for the relatively cheap price of 8 quid (or 9.5 for the ‘adult’ Justin) you got to see quite a lot. The main church part was amazing. The pure scale and detail of the building was breathtaking. There was such an ‘age’ to the building and its fixtures that it really just leaves your jaw opened. For example there was stained glass windows from the early 1400s!!!
Also at the York Minster you can walk through the crypt and below the main church floor and a history of the site is given. Not only does it explain its use through Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Norman times, but through excavation you can actually see the remains of the buildings that stood at this site. The actual concept for human occupation being here for so long that the ground level has risen a metre or so was astounding to both of us. Unlike most other churches I have visited so far, the ability to have a museum of its history that was really well organised was a true plus.
The final part of the York Minster to explore was the tower. A tiny staircase of 280 odd stairs leads the way it is managed to a military level to ensure people flow smoothly. I was a little surprised that some people took the trip up the tower as the size of the small stair case, the height of the tower and exercise it was to get up was made abundantly clear…but of course there were some people who got half way up and couldn’t go any further – this lead to an interesting exercise as only one person can fit on each step at any one time and how does one person in a middle of a file of 40 people change direction? :P The views from the top were amazing though. It was a little ambitious to list Leeds and Edinburgh on the “can you see it?” signs at the top, but the perspective of the town was great. After a “knee hurting” trek down the stairs it was lunch time.
Making the most of being in England we went to a lovely little restaurant with great service and Roast Lamb on offer (gravy, vegies, yorkshire pudding, potatoes and all :)). Justin lamented his inability to get lamb in Prague, although on top of lamb his trip to Leeds also allowed him to stock up on Cadbury Creme Egges (24 of ’em), Cold/Flu drugs and an AFL Football courtesy of ‘Simon’s Courier service’.
After lunch we then explored York. There were amazing little streets and markets filled with interesting little stores. Of note were the more Chocolate and Fudge shops than you could ever imagine and a oil painting store that lead to my ‘future’ promise of buying Justin a cricket oil painting when I am a “rich ass lawyer”. York had many things on offer such as Clifford’s Tower and the Viking world but we decided to see the York Castle Museum and the Model Railway (supposedly reliving Justin’s childhood but anyone who knows him knows…that childhood is still being lived in some respects :P).
The York Castle Museum was pretty cool. Although it was a consensus that it was the most bizarre museum we have ever been in to. The mock up of the old Victorian street was great, like most of the Museum it helped give us ‘foreigners’ a picture of English history, although I must admit finding historical inaccuracies with the world map from 1890-9 showing Australia named such with the Northern Territory and ACT clearly labelled as well. What got weirder was that there was ‘no flow’ to the museum. One minute you would be in an exhibit on Victorian costume and then you would be seeing toys of all ages with little chronological or logical flow before you were seeing costumes from World War Two, some prison cells and an exhibit on the 1960s. Most of the items were interesting and there was many points of discussion (the 80s kitchen giving us a few childhood memories of ‘gobble gobbles’ and the like). It just made no sense how they were arranged!
The model railway wasn’t the largest one we have ever seen, but it was still quite detailed. I am still amazed at how many different types of people, places and things that can be bought or made for these environments. Also pushing buttons to rotate a Hills Hoist or start/stop a train is always fun! Not matter how young (or in our case old) the kid is.
We then headed back to Leeds (on a larger train ;)) both quite exhausted after a long day. After we dropped stuff back at Sentinel Towers we headed off for dinner at Akhmal’s. Curry and rice is always a winner and we were able to work out some of the basics about my trip to Prague. Making sure that Justin would be there, that he won’t be too busy and the like. Also making a few lists of things I should see around Prague and the surrounding towns.
We then had a few drinks at “The Library” (Where Justin’s shock and my non-shock at the numerous people in fancy dress showing how adapted to Leeds/England I have become) and the “Fox and Newt” (My first time in ‘the local’ confirming that I love English beer and Justin can’t stand it. It was interesting though as our conversations as we sat and walked around ended up being about “why we like where we are” and the like. Justin confirming that he ‘suits’ and likes Prague. Simon confirming that he ‘suits’ and likes Leeds, while a uni student. Justin and Simon both confirming that we LOVE Melbourne and that a lot of qualities in Prague and Leeds we like are just a few of the parts of Melbourne we love. You can just love from a far😉
Today it was another early morning and another coffee before Justin headed off on the bus to Leeds Bradford International Airport to head ‘home’. It was interesting though as unlike last time, we were just saying goodbye for a matter of 2 months and not 6 months. It will be just a few more ‘blinks of an eye’ before he is my tour guide around Prague.
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- This is the last song, (This is the last song). That I will dedicate to you. Made my peace and now i’m through..
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- Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir (ce soir, what what what) Voulez vous coucher avec moi
- I’m leaving for Paris, no I don’t think that I’ll see you. I’m leaving for Paris, no I don’t think that I need to. So I’m leaving for Paris, won’t you try to take care of yourself?
- Lillee’s pounding down like a machine. Pascoe’s making divots in the green. Marshy’s taking wickets. Hookesy’s clearing pickets…
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