To look into the rearview mirror…you have to look up to the left vs. the right. The driver’s seat was on the right side of the car and everyone was driving on the left side of the road. This was the beginning of our driving journey in the United Kingdom and Giff was now in the driver’s seat! I was in the front on the left side of the car and mom in the back. It was recommended that we mark an arrow pointing left and tape it to the inside of the car as a constant reminder to stay on the left side of the road which is what we did the moment we got in the car. It was pretty strange to have to look for oncoming traffic on the opposite side of the road and when driving through the many roundabouts to yield to cars coming from the right instead of the left, but after some time we got some-what use to it.
We checked into our Marriott hotel and jumped on the bus which took us to the city center (no need for Giff to drive in a city on the left side of the road quite yet!) We were super hungry…we really hadn’t had anything since breakfast so once in the town found a place to eat. Giff started with the warm goat cheese on crostini with mixed greens and then had slow cooked duck drenched in its own juices. I had the crusty sautéed brie cheese drizzled with raspberry sauce served with mixed greens followed by a baked chicken breast marinated in herbs and garlic with potatoes. Mom had the same brie cheese starter followed by crispy salmon and potato cakes. We indulged and had wine with our meal before exploring the city.
York had many cobblestone streets to wonder about and we found all kinds of little nooks and cranny’s throughout. Numerous pubs lined the streets with tales of various ghosts still allegedly present in the old buildings. The architecture of the massive cathedral was stunning. There were quite a few tea rooms to sit down in and have a scone with clotted cream and a cup of tea the “proper way” (with milk). We decided to sit down at Betty’s tea room and have a pot of classic british blend tea and a bite to soothe our sweet tooth. We shopped a bit in the bakery portion of the tea room before leaving to take a few more pictures and finding our next spot, The Three Tuns.
The Three Tuns is one of York’s oldest pubs. We found three stools at the bar and ordered a drink. We noticed the spouts on the draft beer were long silver nozzles and had a spout on the end with many little holes. We also noticed the beers here had thick foamy “heads” at the top. I asked the bartender why the spouts looked so different…he said that the “head” on a beer is what keeps it fresh. If you were to pour two beers, one with a thick head and one without and leave them on the table, the one with the head would taste better and still have its fizz and the one without would be flat. Therefore they have the little spouts to create air into the beer as it is pouring which creates the “foamy head”. Well, isn’t that fancy!
While sipping our beers, Curtis pulled up a stool next to us, he introduced himself and told us he wrote articles about traveling the UK and if we had any questions to ask him. So…we asked him all about his thoughts on our travel plans to Scotland and the highlands. He gave us tips on where to go and told us some stories he had learned. After much chatting, we left the bar, took the bus and ordered a small dinner at the hotel before going to bed.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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