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Mon Aug 15 2016: Discrimination in Whitby

We're hanging out at the North York Moors National Park for the next couple of days. The sheep lady we met gave us some suggestions on things to see and places to go. First stop: Robin Hood's Bay, on the very north-east coast of the park.

The historic town at Robin Hood's Bay is pedestrian only, so we park at the top of the cliff and walk down

On our way down, we get the sense there may be a lot of seafood in this area...

Robin Hood's Bay is a small fishing village that now caters more to tourism than fishing these days. It's a popular weekend destination to hike, cycle, eat, drink and shop by the seaside. From what I gather, it has very little to do with Robin Hood, the steal-from-the-rich-give-to-the-poor guy.

But you can still find a fishstore or ten while walking through the narrow streets of the old town

They say that smuggling was a big industry in the 18th-century. Tea, alcohol and tobacco
were illegally shipped here from France and Holland to duck import taxes

The main intersection of Robin Hood's Bay leads down to a beach where vacationers frolic on the sands

And not just people either. We watched these cute dogs playfully chase their ball into the waters

People and pooches enjoying the best of the Yorkshire coast

There are lots of seafood restaurants in Robin Hood's Bay, but we're saving our appetites for something more special...

Very neat old English town. So glad we ran into those farmers in the park and got this recommendation. We jump back on the bikes for a quick 5 mile jaunt to nearby Whitby.

Whitby is another seaside town in North Yorkshire

Still not sure about the legality of parking our bikes on the sidewalks. So we hide them behind this metal box and hope nobody notices.

You can barely even see them. We should be okay...

Man, if this were North America, our bikes would have been ticketed and towed over a hundred times by now!

What can you do in Whitby? Eat, drink, shop... also take some boat trips up and down the River Esk

Neda looks cold

So we go find a place to eat and drink and warm up

Our quest for the best fish and chips in the country continues. We did a quick Google search for "Best fish and chips in the UK" and the Magpie Cafe came up consistently. Since we were in the area, we decide to drop in and give it a try. We arrived right during dinner hour so it was a bit of a long lineup to get a table. But when the food came:

Nice! That noise you hear is the sound of my arteries hardening

I'll admit our Google search turned up many places that claimed the best fish and chips in the country. After trying Magpie's f&c, I don't know if this is *THE BEST* we ever had, but it was very good. The batter was very light and crispy and equal attention was paid to the chips so that they weren't overly fried or soggy. Delicious! But our fish and chips quest has only begun and there are many more notches I can still undo on my belt before I have to buy new pants, so...

Red roofed houses crowd all the way down to the shores of the River Esk

Ed Sheeran Jr doing some fishing in the River Esk

The streets overlooking the river are lined with shops, bars and restaurants

What else is there to do in Whitby? What's that up there on the hill?

Whitby Abbey. It's already pretty late in the day, so we'll have to visit tomorrow

There is a beautiful campsite right next to the abbey. We pull in and a person from reception walks over to us.

"Sorry, no motorcycles allowed. There's another campsite a couple of miles down the road"

Discrimination! I get that some motorcycles are loud. I get that there is a perception that motorcyclists are unruly. But our bikes are whisper quiet and so are we. So if a guy in a loud muscle car pulls up with the tunes cranked and a two-four of bitter (do they have two-fours in the UK?) on the front seat, they'll let him in over us?!? Sucky policy.

Our new campsite is not as nice and doesn't have a view of the Whitby Abbey

Neda's bike is a bit low on oil. It's only been a thousand kms or so after the last service? Is she burning oil or is there a slow leak somewhere?
We'll have to keep an eye on that.

When you have tools, you become a very popular person at a campsite

The guys beside us were having problems with their cooking gear and needed some pliers to get the line reconnected to the gas tank. Nice guys. We may not have a primo view or a swanky camp ground, but our peeps here aren't snobs! :)

I crank up the tunes and I pull out a two-four of bitter out of my topcase and we party with our new friends! Neda revs her engine in rhythm to the music! PAR-TEEEE!!!!

Next morning, we head out to check Whitby Abbey just down the road

Whitby Abbey is a Benedictine abbey dating back to the 6th century

Beautiful gothic ruins!

It's been said that Whitby Abbey was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. After visiting Transylvania, we're now adding this to the list after Castle Poenari and Bran Castle. Any other buildings want to claim inspiration for Dracula? Might as well also claim that these castles/abbeys also make the best fish and chips as well!

If you read it on the Internet, it's basically true.

Wow, can you imagine the stained glass window that must have originally been here?

From the grounds of Whitby Abbey, you can see the town of Whitby below, across the river

Sunlight streaming in through the holes where stained glass used to be

The original monastery was built in the 7th century, but the current abbey on the same location was constructed in the 1300s.

Very cool ruins, glad we stopped by!

Much has been stripped away from Whitby Abbey. Time and the elements have not been kind. You could say it was roofless.

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