Three hours in York – a lovely place for a few stolen moments. En-route from Kings Cross to Newcastle, I decided to hop off the train and have a quick look around on a gorgeous autumn afternoon. York’s small enough to cover on foot in a few hours, and it’s so old! I chatted to a San Franciscoan who’s living there but still couldn’t get over how people can take it for granted drinking in a 400 year-old pub – “that’s older than my State”. You can feel the layers of history and sense how important this city has been in the story of England – Romans, Vikings, Archbishops, a place of power. I guess that’s why the Minster, beautiful as it is, is so colossal. How it must have towered over the medieval streets and alleyways. Actually most of those medieval streets are still there – the Shambles most famously – it’s the land of a thousand teashops but still atmospheric. No time to join the wraparound queue for Betty’s, but I did get to take a train to Japan… (York’s great for train buffs!) And how pleasant it is just to be somewhere unscheduled, when nobody knows you’re there – you’ll get back on your train, carry on your journey and no one’s any the wiser – except you.