I began Day Twelve by sleeping in a bit, once again skipping breakfast. But eventually, I made it through the usual morning routines and was soon walking to the train station, which like most things I’ve found on this trip, looks far to someone who’s used to having to drive everywhere, but is actually easily walked to in no time. I bought a day return ticket to Selby – where my mum’s ancestors came from – for less than £8, sat next to four very loud, annoying women who were returning to Hull from their holiday, and got off the train in Selby just as the rain started. But with my trusty umbrella, I was still able to enjoy a lovely stroll through Selby Park as I headed for Selby Abbey, which I had only intended to stare at from the sidewalk, but then I noticed that it was open to visitors so I made my way inside.
Like the other churches I’ve been to on this trip (and those words must sound a bit odd to some of you who know me well), Selby Abbey was breathtakingly beautiful inside and out. A very nice volunteer named Stewart filled me in on a bit of its history and told me that it was founded in the 1060s and survived the Reformation and later, a fire that destroyed the roof and the rest of the wood structures within the Abbey. But it was lovingly restored and is still used as the parish church, holding regular services and events. There is even a link to George Washington with one of the highlighted bits of the Abbey being the “Washington Window”, the fifteenth century coat of arms of the Washington family which bears both stars and stripes.
Once I’d had my fill of the Abbey, I asked Stewart if he could recommend somewhere for lunch and he suggested a little bistro around the corner. They were very busy and my waitress in particular was especially swamped, but my sandwich was very good and since I had nothing left to do except catch a train back to York – and one left every hour – I didn’t mind the wait. Eventually, though, I made my way back to the station, stopping first at Boots for a few thing, then taking a detour around the Abbey and through its churchyard, and finally winding my way back through Selby Park.
I arrived back at York around 3:30, picked up another falafel wrap to have later for dinner (I don’t even really eat falafel at home, but it’s a common alternative here to pork and beef, which I don’t eat), and made my way back to the B&B. I got a bit of reading and typing done, sat on the front stoop and ate my falafel wrap while listening to/watching the rain, and then talked to one of my best friends back home via FaceTime, which was wonderful. Tomorrow, I plan to walk back to the station to see about reserving a seat on a Monday morning train to Edinburgh – just to ensure that I get on a specific one – and then spend the rest of the day wandering around and exploring York.