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I’ve decided to impose a new rule when I plan a trip ~ if at all possible, two days minimum at one locale. I left both Glasgow and York feeling rushed. But even though we were limited on time, I still did one of my favorite things which is to wander the streets to get a feel for the area. Here’s what caught my interest, both the silly and the serious, as I meandered through York:

York gate into the city

Micklegate Bar (meaning Great Street) was the most important of York’s four main medieval gateways. At least six reigning monarchs have passed through this gate and the tradition is for them to stop at the entrance to ask York’s Lord Mayor’s permission to enter the city.

The lower section dates from the 12th century while the upper two stories are from the 14th. The building was originally inhabited in 1196 and, for centuries, the decapitated heads of traitors were posted above the gate. The last severed heads were removed in 1754. Thank Goodness…

York Roman Wall

York Roman Wall B&W

Thanks to the forethought of the citizens of York in the early 1800s, the medieval city walls of York are the most complete still standing in England today. The Roman walls survived well into the 9th century but then in 866, the Danish Vikings invaded York and went all Taliban (as when they destroyed the Buddha statues) on the wall and buried the existing Roman wall under the earth.

York looking for a restuarant
There are lots of restaurants ~ we had a hard time deciding where to have dinner.

York Pub
Pub in York

York yellow bike
The symbol of Yorkshire is the White Rose but in 2014, in honor of The Tour de France, York went YELLOW with painted yellow bikes showing up all over the city.

York Home
What a beautiful location for a beautiful home

York The Hat Company
Hat Shop

York Ghost Trail
York is considered the most haunted city in Europe but we didn’t have time for the ghost tour. Probably just as well ~ not Logan’s favorite subject matter.

York converted church to a bar
A church converted into a pub. Looks like a Bro hangout as evidenced by all the men hanging outside smoking.

York Constantine Statue
Constantine arrived in Britain with his father, the emperor Constantius, in 305. His father died the following year in York and, according to the succession rules, another Caesar should have become emperor. But the soldiers in York immediately proclaimed Constantine as their leader. He later became known as Constantine the Great because he managed to unite the whole of the Roman Empire under his rule.

The following photos are of the single, engaged and married in York:

York Saturday night club outfits
I definitely don’t have the shoes to join these ladies who were heading out for a night of clubbing.

York Hen Party
We saw no less than 15 Hen Parties in progress ~ good fun!

York Just Married
Just Married!

York is a wonderfully historic city and also a lot of fun (especially on a Saturday night).  Thrilled I finally got a chance to explore it.

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Ascot No Nay Never and the rest of the pack

I was on the fence about attending Ladies Day at Royal Ascot but since the outing was being organized by a fun British friend, I decided if nothing else, I’d enjoy the company of my new international friends. Little did I know I would thoroughly enjoy myself once I got into the to the races ~ the atmosphere was formal, fun and something I probably won’t get a chance to do again anytime soon.

During the year, Ascot hosts a total of 26 days of horse racing, but the five-day Royal Meeting in June is the most famous with race goers dressed in formal attire. Before the races, many of those attendees enjoy the traditional Car Park Picnic or, as we call it in the states TAILGATING. Our package included Champagne, Wine, Beer, Buck’s Fizz (aka Mimosa) and a few snacks.

The first race ever held at Ascot occurred on 11 August 1711 at the instigation of Queen Anne but it was during George II’s reign when the race became the second most popular in England. The Royal Enclosure was established in the 1790s to ensure privacy for the royal family. In 1822, George IV commissioned the exclusive Royal Box and it was only accessible to guests with the coveted royal invitation. There are MANY dress rules for the Royal Enclosure so it’s just as well I was in the Silver Enclosure.

The five-day meeting of Royal Ascot starts on Tuesday with the Royal Procession entering the racecourse through the Golden Gates. The Queen and her party are in horse-drawn open-top carriages parading along the track in front of the race-goers. Each day has a theme and we chose to attend Ladies Day (Thursday) which features the prestigious Gold Cup event.  Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot can be traced back to 1823 when an anonymous poet said of the Thursday Royal meeting as ‘Ladies’ Day… when the women, like angels, look sweetly divine.’

Ascot Waiting for the Gentlemen

I thought it was funny seeing all the beautifully garbed ladies hanging out side the men’s toilets.

Ascot White Hat

Ascot the ladies

The international ladies in my group.

Ascot no Shoes

This lady had the right idea ~ just take the shoes off completely!

Ascot The biggest Hat

This was my vote for the biggest and most unusual hat of the day (that I saw) but there were obviously more elaborate ones in the Royal enclosure. Click here to see the fabulous hats.

Ascot Red Hat

Those heels make my feet hurt just looking at them. Pretty but painful.

Ascot Pink Hat

This woman was an obvious “regular” of Royal Ascot. She seemed very comfortable with the whole thing.

Ascot Gray Hat

Ascot Brown hat

Ascot Big Hats

It was a lot of fun to see all the beautifully dressed women attending Ladies Day. I got into the spirit of things by wearing a bright pink fascinator and carrying a matching pink handbag. I thought I was being “bold” but paled in comparison.

Ascot traveling by carriage

Several people came to the party in horse-drawn carriages.

Ascot Uniform of the day

And the men were dressed so elegantly.

Ascot No Nay Never

“No Nay Never”

People watching was a lot of fun but the real excitement for me was actually placing a bet on a horse, watching it run and seeing it WIN! This was my first venture to a horse race and I can understand the excitement people feel from the thrill of the races. Since none of the ladies in my group knew a thing about betting on a horse, I “picked” a name from the list which at first glance I thought it said “No Hay Fever.” With my allergies raging these past few weeks, I thought that was the perfect horse to bet on. The name is actually “No Nay Never” but I stuck with it. On further research, No Nay Never is from the US and has a US owner and trainer so how could I not go with it. Odds were 6:1 when I placed my bet but I didn’t realize the odds could change. As the race got closer the odds went to 4:1 which would pay out less. Turns out, in order to keep the odds stated at the time of the bet, you have to say “Fixed Odds”.  Oh, well ~ live and learn. I placed a £10 bet to win and made £40.  Chump change for some, but I was thrilled.

Ascot Times Up

“Times Up”

Since I got my feet wet with the first bet, I decided to go for “worse” odds in the hopes of a bigger payoff. I placed a £5 bet on “Times Up” to win the Golden Cup. But The Queen’s horse, “Estimate” came in first. Watching her face during the win of her horse was so nice. It was obvious she was truly and completely in the moment and so happy. In the past, The Queen has owned 20 winning horses at Royal Ascot but yesterday was the first Gold Cup a monarch has won in the 207 years of the race.

Ascot is located southwest of London. Since I don’t have a car, I took the Jubilee line to Waterloo then a train (about 50 minutes) to Ascot. Biggest worry was my hat getting crushed by the rush hour mob. It’s a bit of a walk from the Ascot train station to the Silver Enclosure so if you go, wear comfortable shoes to walk in. I ended up keeping my comfy shoes on even after getting into the race area ~ I’m in awe of the ladies who could pull off the 4+ inch heels.

I would definitely recommend attending Ladies Day. Be sure to wear a hat and DRESS UP!!

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