In England, I got so used to touring solo that I almost forgot how much fun it is to travel with a group. I was quickly reminded when I was asked to join a girls' weekend in Bath, where we stayed in a rowhouse with a view of the Mendip Hills in the distance (top). The town's name and claim to fame come from the Roman Baths right downtown (bottom left). They attract a lot of tourists, but the streets were crowded not for submersion in history but for immersion in the annual Christmas Market, which features plenty of craft stalls and cozy chalets (bottom right).Bath Abbey (bottom).
Quite a few months later, a friend and I took a road trip to York, another Roman city, this one known for its protection instead of its plumbing. People come from far and wide to see its city walls, so to find reasonably-priced dog-friendly accommodation, we had to look outside of town, to the Fauconberg Arms (top). Sadly, we never got to mingle in the pub as we quickly checked in to our doll-house room (bottom left), so we could go explore the city, much to Sage's chagrin (bottom right).York Museum Gardens on our way to downtown. On the grounds is St. Mary's Abbey, whose ruins are impressive even in comparison to the city's complete cathedral (left). Down the hill next to the River Ouse sits an outbuilding that the abbey used as a guesthouse or warehouse; now, The Hospitium can be hired out for private events, including weddings (right).
Lamb and Lion Inn, whose beer garden is overlooked by the City Walls. We waved to the passers-by as we enjoyed some pints from York Brewery (top left). We never actually got around to walking the walls. We also didn't hike to the top of Clifford's Tower, the sole remnants of the city's castle (top right). And we didn't even climb the towers of the York Minster to enjoy the view (bottom).
The Habit, we got downright touristy by taking a selfie with the cathedral in the background (top left). Then we mingled with a lot of tourists and taxidermy at The House of Trembling Madness (top right). Both were right around the corner from The Shambles, an area of narrow streets with enchanting buildings at wonky angles. Behind them is a daily market that had lots of treats on offer (bottom), but we opted for Mr. P's Curious Tavern for dinner.
Coxwold, which bills itself as one of the prettiest villages in Yorkshire. The town's church, St. Michael's, is recognized for its octagonal tower and its regular services for cyclists by cyclists (left). If I were riding in the Yorkshire Moors around the town (right), I might end up pleading for god's help on some of the inclines.
Fountains Abbey (top left). The Benedictine monastery founded in the 12th century is remarkably well-preserved, mostly due to its location in a wind-protected valley (top right). In the 16th century, the abbey and surrounding land was bought by a private citizen, who turned it into an estate with a hall, mill, and deer park that are now part of the National Trust (bottom).