Living in a Castle.

My summer trip abroad at Harlaxton College in England.

Yorkin’ it up, round two.

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As our final free weekend approached, Danielle and I spent some good time deliberating over how we wanted to spend it. We didn’t want to do anything too expensive and crazy, but a lastlittle trip was a must. Every time we thought about possible day trips, we kept comparing them to our time in York. Then it dawned on us: why not just go there again? So we did, along with a couple other gals, Mackenzie and Anna. Such a good decision.

One of our main motives in York was to accomplish some must-do souvenir shopping. When we entered the town, our first plan of action was to hit up the market that we loved so much the last time. However, when we reached that part of town, we were disappointed to find that it was drastically smaller; upon asking a local in a shop, he said that the vendors we had encountered previously were part of traveling market. Instead, this weekend the spot was hosting a festival of local concert bands.

So even though we were somewhat let down, we had the opportunity to visit many more of the town’s little shops, done while hearing some bands toot their horns. It reminded me of the good ole’ Arts in the Park days in downtown Peoria. Likewise, last weekend Harlaxton hosted the Nottingham Youth Orchestra. There were junior high aged musicians running around the manor when they weren’t heard rehearsing their pieces. It definitely felt like something a young Helen would have been involved in, were I a British child.

Anyways, we did a lot of shopping in York. A LOT. But I ended up with some really nice gifts for my family and several neat stories to accompany them, which I cannot wait to share.

Lunchtime rolled around, and we decided to stick with what we knew was good by returning to Georgina’s. This time I had a hot, open-faced sandwich of sun-dried tomatoes, onions, and cheese on granary bread. Absolutely delicious. I am not always the biggest fan of some of the meat they serve in England, so I have been able to discover some really good vegetarian options that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise chosen.

ImageNext up, we were drawn over towards the Fudge Kitchen, where we proceeded to spend the entire next hour. The workers there were so fun and entertaining, as well as generous–many a fudge sample was devoured. When we first arrived there, they were pouring out the mixture for strawberries and cream fudge onto the cooling table, and we were told that if we stuck around for a while, we could watch the demonstration. And so we did.

We leaned up against the banister in front of that table for quite some time, waiting in giddy (probably sugar-induced) anticipation for the coveted demonstration. We talked for a while with the king of fudge himself, Ian, who recognized our Americanness by our “accents and nice teeth.” He was quite a charismatic fella, and surely kept us entertained. Let me be the first to extend my congratulations to him and Danielle, as she claims they are getting married.

So finally it was time for the big demonstration, and it was actually quite fascinating. A large crowd of both kids and adults gathered around us to view the spectacle as well. It started off as this hot, runny liquid and cooled into a sticky, crystallized rectangle. Then as Ian worked at it and kept air moving throughout, it became more malleable (fifty point vocab word right there! Thanks, Earth Science.).

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The guy continued to interact with the crowd while he worked, noting that while all of the British audience members reacted passively like, “oh yes, he is making fudge…”, us four American girls were loudly enthusiastic with his every move, such as, “OH MY GOD! This is amazing!! He’s making fudge!!! He is so handsome!!!!!” I’d say that is a pretty accurate depiction; we were having a very good time. And finally, after all of our devoted waiting, we were rewarded with the first samples of the delicious strawberry fudge.

I received the first piece, and jokingly hollered out, “Oh my god, this is amazing!!” The other girls took the plunge and commented on his handsomeness as well. So yes, it was a good time. And Danielle is in love.

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So. Five paragraphs later…the rest of our day was spent walking around town, doing some more shopping, and enjoying the beautiful weather. For dinner we stopped at a fish and chips takeaway place and ate outside on a grassy area.

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We once again finished off our day by walking around the old castle walls to view for the last time the simple beauty of York before boarding the train back to Grantham. I don’t think I could ask for a more perfect final day trip.

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Author: Helen Plevka

Lover of books, warm beverages, nieces, and cats. Graduate student in Comparative Literature at Indiana University. Clarinetist. Former English teacher and study abroader.

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