Ambient Light with a Side of Credit Card Fraud: UK 2016 Post 7
On our 7th day in England we continued our slow journey north. Since it had been 7 years since my husband had been home he had a few favorite haunts that he wanted to see again. We made our way to Scarborough via the Humber Bridge and through the lovely town of Beverely with a quick picnic and a stroll at Flamborough Head.
I look back now a bit amazed by all we fit in each day while on this holiday. I've often had to ask my husband whether I'm remembering the days correctly because it seems like we did so much. We set off that Monday morning feeling optimistic and in full vacation mode. I'd say we were finally fully relaxed and in the spirit, over our jet lag and embracing early mornings. Although I was looking forward to staying in Scarborough again -it had been 12 years since I had been there- I really couldn't wait to get to Durham and Edinburgh.
Originally we were going to stay overnight in Durham and just make a quick stop in Scarborough along the way but Daniel found an amazing off season deal at a luxurious 4 star hotel so we quickly altered our plans and made Scarborough a destination and not just a stop over.
As I mentioned earlier in the post I have been to Scarborough before so this was not a day of new discoveries but rather a day of reacquaintence. The first time I visited Scarborgouh it was by train, this time we drove our rental car over the Humber Bridge which spans the impressively wide River Humber. When opened to traffic in 1981 it was the longest bridge of its type in the world. Though not as picturesque as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco it's no less grand.
We drove through the historic market town of Beverley. It was our intention to do a quick drive by of the Beverley Minster (which was huge and could be seen from miles away) but we took a wrong turn and by the time we realized we were driving away from the Minster and not towards it we decided not to backtrack. Beverley, we have a future appointment with you.
Photos above and below: lovely Beverely
The seaside town of Flamborough provided us with sickly sweet Ribena fruit juice, chocolate, and a convenient toilet. We followed the signs to the Flamborough Head Lighthouse and along the way passed the oldest surviving complete lighthouse in England. Our weather thus far had been pretty decent. While the temperatures were cold, the sky was pretty clear most of the time- scattered clouds but more blue sky than clouds. It was not what we expected and so welcome. It was clear and bright at Flamborough Head, though the muddy paths and puddles said that it had been otherwise recently. While exploring a path down to the beach below we came across what can only be described as a mini bog- there was no way around it so we had to just squelch through it. My boot got stuck up to my ankle and made a very satisfying suction sound when I finally freed myself. That mud is powerful stuff and I have sinced scrubbed and I still can't get it out of the crevices. I can honestly say that I brought a bit of Flamborough with me through Windsor Castle, so I suppose I should apologize to the Queen for soiling her carpets.
Pub life Flamborough
My lone husband strolling to get us refreshments in Flamorough
Flamborough Head Lighthouse
The steep path that leads down to the beach. It was rather bog like at the bottom of these steps
We took one last look at the stunning chalk headland and walked to the octagonal chalk tower which I mentioned previously. Building began in 1669 and was completed in 1674. Apparently it was never lit but evidence shows that it was designed for a brushwood fire to be lit at the top. The tower seems to have been used a residence based on the placement of windows and a ground floor fireplace. It's grounds are open in the summer months so we missed out on being able to go close to it but we were able to stand at the gate and check it out. It sits back from the coastline, alone in a field, serving as a beacon to the golfers putting away on the course next door.
The chalk tower
We rolled into Scarborough and proceeded to find ourselves in the predicament of being able to see our hotel bit unable to figure out how to get to it. Our GPS was no help and kept sending us to the back of the hotel. Eventually we figured it out, but we had a new challenge in the way of parking. Parking in England is like a game of musical chairs. You go around and around, the music stops and everyone runs to park in the one space that becomes available. It's definitely obvious that England was built well before the car so having a car is pretty impractical. We got lucky on our 3rd time around with a space opening up close to the hotel. We got a parking permit from the front desk, grabbed our things and made our way to our upgraded ocean view room. (Rm. 311)
Crown Spa Hotel Scarborough
Fancy hotels are a little bit wasted on us. We really appreciate the nice rooms, but we never use the facilities. The Crown Spa Hotel is a really nice 4 star hotel that overlooks the sea and harbour, and offers a health club, spa treatments and a nice restaurant. Because we booked directly with the hotel and didn't use a third party website (a tip from my husband who works in the industry- never book through a third party, always book directly with the hotel- you are more likely to get discounts and deals and if there are any problems the hotel has the authority to solve the issues instead of having to go through the third party), we got a voucher for 10% off food, spa treatments and laundry services. It also granted us access to free wifi and lake check out. If we had stayed more than one night I would have taken advantage of the spa treatment discount but we were only there one night and were quite busy. The unique thing that the hotel has that I've never seen anywhere else is the mood lighting in the bathroom. Our lighting was a soft purple. It was really soothing.
Scarborough was exactly as I remembered it. Lots of aqua ironwork which has a distinctly Victorian feel to it. Much like Buxton I could imagine Scarborough in it's Victorian heyday, and also like Buxton, Scarborough has been maintained and kept up which was nice to see. The sprawling Scarborough Castle dominates the hill overlooking the harbour and makes a very picturesque backdrop as we walked from our hotel to the waterfront below.
Scarborough Castle looming over the harbour
Charming side streets with the castle looming in the distance
A reminder of the practical side of Scarborough
While wandering the streets we came upon the ancient historic inn, The Three Mariners. It dates back to the mid 1300's and is a private home now. It was a merchants house before becoming an inn. The building became a museum in 1905. As of October 2015 it is up for sale. I'm pretty sure it still is, as I think I remember seeing a sign in the window. It's an absolute steal at 375,000 pounds ($497,000). The above sign says: The Three Mariners. The ancient and historic inn. (Built 1360) Now used as a house. The famous haunt of smugglers with its secret hiding places. Paneled throughout.
Back side of the Three Mariners Inn. I can't even tell you how cool it was to see this building up close. I wish the owners had been home when we walked by. I read that the owners are antiques dealers who lovingly restored the inn over a 17 year period- I bet they had lots of interesting things to say about it's history.
Scarborough has this charming mix of kitschy fun fair/arcades and medieval buildings now housing pubs or restaurants right next to each other. Fish and chips takeaways, ice cream parlours, prawn stalls, 14th century inns all share the same space and it's endlessly intriguing.
The Grand Hotel in the heart of the Scarborough waterfront. Anne Bronte died in a house on the site of this hotel in 1849. Built in 1867 it was once Europe's largest hotel.
We wanted to eat at the King Richard III Bar and Restaurant, which is located in a building that Richard III (infamous "hunchback", which is an exaggeration as his remains have recently been unearthed under a parking lot in Leicester, and show a curvature of the spine but no hunchback.) was reputed to have stayed. I wanted to eat here last time but we didn't have enough time. This time it closed just as we were walking up. I think perhaps I'm not meant to eat there. We kept walking along the embarcadero and found The Tunny Club. The building dates back to the mid 18th century when it was a fisherman's cottage. The fish and chips were decent, the service was just fine so all in all it was a good meal.
It was pretty cold at this point and the sun was starting to go down. We made our way back to our lovely room, plopped ourselves down to read. It was at this point that I thought I should take advantage of a secure wifi connection to check my credit card accounts and bank accounts to make sure everything was on the up and up. Thank goodness I did!! Sometime on our second day in the UK our credit card number had been used at 2 different London stores making 3 purchases. This credit card had only been used at one location at that point so I'm positive that the number was stolen while it was used at our first hotel. I can't prove how the number was stolen, whether it was the staff that had access to it or whether their computer system wasn't secure when I made payment, but somewhere in our 24 hours there our number was stolen. That hotel was bad news from the start- if you read my first post you'll know that we had a nightmare of a time trying to find it. Every instinct said to just stay somewhere else and pay the late cancellation fee. Lesson learned.
I'm pretty sure I had a panic attack as I checked my account. My family can attest to the fact that I can take things from 0-60 pretty quickly, I'm such a stress case and simple things will send me over the anxiety ledge. Daniel had to practically douse me in ice water to get me stop freaking out about the fraud. Fortunately the card was only used one day (3 days prior! Note to self: don't wait so long to check on accounts while on vacation!!) and the amount put on the card wasn't too outrageous. The hotel kindly let us use the phone to call out toll free the next morning to get it handled and resolved with my credit card company but I'm certain that my overreaction gave me a few new grey hairs.
Daniel knows how to talk me down off of cliffs- I think that's his main job in this marriage- so he drew me a *bath, turned on the ambient light in the bathroom, and left me with Depeche Mode while I patted myself on the back for bringing more than one credit card with me.
*sidenote: Every hotel we stayed at while on this trip had fabulous, deep bathtubs that filled up to the brim! England definitely knows how to take a bath- I miss those bathtubs!!
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