Continuing my trip reports.... The photos corresponding to this entry, and the rest of my trip are at http://www.travbuddy.com/Vikram/blogs , click on "England, May'06".
Links to previous trip reports on the TALF forum (pasted from the Travbuddy site) are:
Part One: http://tinyurl.com/mok9j
Part Two: http://tinyurl.com/pfe53
Part Three: http://tinyurl.com/np6ua
Part Four: http://tinyurl.com/f3nbt
Part 5: http://tinyurl.com/nfwkn
Hope you enjoy!
Tuesday, May 23rd
So much so for my planning a trip to Lincoln and emailing all my friends back home that I'm next in line to Tom Hanks in visiting the place, it was an impulse decision that morning that I'll go elsewhere. Thanks to all the brochures I saw at the hostel the previous night, I thought I might as well explore a bit more of Yorkshire. So the most natural and touristy thing to do was the Harry Potter ride.
The problem with most parts of Northern Yorkshire is that while they're all beautiful, they didn't seem that well connected by touristy Britrail trains. They do have buses going there regularly but the frequency isn't that high. I walked to the railway station and caught the bus to Pickering where I'd be boarding the "Hogwart's Express". The bus ride was lovely, different as the landscape were all farmers' fields and not wild greenery. Pickering as a town seems very nice and very open. It's supposed to be a market town. Lots of people, outside cafes, it seemed perfect for a sunny day although one wonders how it would fare in the rain.
Lunch was soup and sandwich at the lovely cafe in the railway station. The Hogwart's Express arrived! This is the only (or one of the few) locomotive trains in the UK. It was a delight just seeing it. Note, I am not a Harry Potter fan but this train is really nice to see. Check out the picture of the interiors... just as good.
The train ride was nothing that special. It took about an hour or so till we reached the 3rd stop which was Coathland. This was the legendary Hogsmead Station also featured in Harry Potter films. The city is really a handful of shops and houses, and is an UTTER delight. This place doubled up as Ainsdale in the 90s British TV series "Heartbeat". I went for a walk, and had some lovely fresh ice cream. I BEG you guys to look at the picture of the railway station, it's a CORKER by itself, and goes down as one of my better pictures.
The train ride back, I slept throughout, reached Pickering and another 1.5 hours later, I was back in York. I feel bittersweet about this day. I would think the train ride wasn't really worth it but just to get off at Coathland station and walk around the town was worth the whole day. I cannot wait to get back to Yorkshire and do a bit more exploring around. I can't believe that a lot of these places aren't even properly promoted in tourism books. Good things I s'pose, you get to see them while they're still unspoilt.