All posts by Graham Miln

York

We arrived in York late in the day with the sun having set a few hours before. The streets were dark and we could only catch a glimpse of the fortified walls and gates that surrounded the old town.

Micklegate Bar in the evening

Micklegate Bar in the evening

Bell tower at night

Bell tower at night

The next morning we were up early and we bought our first Costa Coffee. Costa is a brand that has appeared across the UK since I left. Despite many return visits, York was the first place I have tried their coffee. I am not a coffee expert but the drink was fine; more enjoyable was the little gingerbread biscuit balanced on top of Megan’s whipped cream covered treat.

Gingerbread man from Costa Coffee

Gingerbread man from Costa Coffee

York is a walled city and the walls are open to the public. The views across and into the city are impressive. The minster stands out and, in the right light, is stunning.

Micklegate Bar

Micklegate Bar

River Ouse

River Ouse

Lamp post on bridge in York

Lamp post on bridge in York

Defensive tower along York's fortified walls

Defensive tower along York’s fortified walls

Clifford's Tower, the keep of York Castle

Clifford’s Tower, the keep of York Castle

York Minster and city walls

York Minster and city walls

York Minster

York Minster

My Cupcake

The cupcake infatuation was in full swing during our time in Melbourne. We saw small shops spring up across the city dedicated to the baking and selling of cupcakes – small sponges covered with icing. Many cupcakes were extravagantly decorated to resemble anything but a sugary treat.

Cupcakes tick many of the boxes required to be the basis of a new craze. They are cheap to make, consistent, familiar, and infinitely differentiable through size and decoration. They can also attract the sizeable mark-up needed to maintain a business. A cupcake and coffee is often presented as an affordable luxury.

Melbourne: Boxes of mini cupcakes

Melbourne: Boxes of mini cupcakes

Melbourne: A multi-tiered stand of cupcakes

Melbourne: A multi-tiered stand of cupcakes

We saw this cottage industry appear in Melbourne and wondered if it would last. Other fads had come and gone. We moved shortly afterwards and I have thought little of cupcakes since.

So I was surprised to see a new cupcake store has opened in Lyon, France. When we passed the store it was attracting attention from others on the street. Passers-by commented and pointed out the business to their friends.

Lyon: My Cupcake

Lyon: My Cupcake

The cupcake store is clearly still a novelty in this city, Lyon. A food lover’s city in a country with pastries and delicious treats available on almost every street.

I wonder how the My Cupcake will fare against the established bakeries. It is unlikely to be the first cupcake store in Lyon but its existence suggests a growing market for treats from other cultures.

Scottish National Gallery

We often find ourselves in art galleries and museums during our travels. They offer us refuge, calm, and an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. The Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh was no exception.

The Scottish National Gallery is centrally located and is home to a fantastic collection of art both painted and sculpted.

Banners outside the Scottish National Gallery

Banners outside the Scottish National Gallery

Rodin's The Kiss taking centre stage

Rodin’s The Kiss taking centre stage

Rodin's The Kiss

Rodin’s The Kiss

An unflinching weathered face

An unflinching weathered face

Beautiful life sized sculpture

Beautiful life sized sculpture

Crimson adorns the walls of the lower gallery

Crimson adorns the walls of the lower gallery

A collection of busts fills a stairwell

A collection of busts fills a stairwell

Vivid blue offsets the bright impressionist paintings

Vivid blue offsets the bright impressionist paintings

The impressions mean more now having seen the landscape

The impressions mean more now having seen the landscape

Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch

Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch

National Railway Museum

We were surrounded by train engines, carriages, and history. The National Railway Museum in York, UK, was wonderful.

I did not know what to expect. What we encountered was more than I imagined possible. Two huge warehouses full of beautifully maintained and explained railway engines and carriages. The scale of the exhibits was as much the focus as the individual items.

A sense of humour crept into a few exhibits. In particular we laughed at some of the railway food posters and museum signage. It was clearly deliberate humour, subtle, and very well done.

The other vistors fell squarely into two age groups. Those bringing young children for a day out and an older set of mainly men. Enthusiasts wandering between the the engines delighting at the giant hulks of metal on show.

Japanese bullet train engine

Japanese bullet train engine

Inside a Japanese bullet train

Inside a Japanese bullet train

Eurostar engine

Eurostar engine

Partial wheel of train engine

Partial wheel of train engine

Full size cut aways showing the engine's workings

Full size cut aways showing the engine’s workings

Full size cut aways showing the engine's workings

Full size cut aways showing the engine’s workings

Model of The Rocket

Model of The Rocket

Train signs

Train signs

High speed steam trains

High speed steam trains

Mallard, a record setting train

Mallard, a record setting train

Mallard, a record setting train

Mallard, a record setting train

Longest train station sign in the UK

Longest train station sign in the UK

A treasure trove of artefacts

A treasure trove of artefacts

An engine in for repairs and restoration

An engine in for repairs and restoration

Engine workshop

Engine workshop

"Press to hear Hammering" – but why?

“Press to hear Hammering” – but why?

Royal Trains

A second warehouse was home to a selection of Royal carriages. Between each train was a seating area and cafe. A few too many cafes but they were all busy and maybe provided a welcome resting place for tired partners of those enthusiasts captivated elsewhere.

British flags draping over the platforms

British flags draping over the platforms

The British Royal family member associated with each train

The British Royal family member associated with each train

Inside a royal carriage

Inside a royal carriage

A full bathroom within a royal carriage

A full bathroom within a royal carriage

Pipework inside the driver's cabin

Pipework inside the driver’s cabin

Parcels waiting to be loaded

Parcels waiting to be loaded

Fun facts and stories are inscribed on the windows

Fun facts and stories are inscribed on the windows