On Saturday I celebrated my birthday in Whitby, the historic, picturesque sea front town in North Yorkshire. The harbour splits the town into two parts, with the older located on the East bank. Whitby has old houses, narrow cobblestone streets from mediaeval times, beautiful shopfronts, colourful doors, taverns, cafés, sandy beaches and cliffs, not to mention the famous ruins of the Whitby Abbey, the gothic church on top of the East Cliff.
Whitby is probably familiar to those who have read the Gothic horror classic Dracula by Bram Stoker. Count Dracula is shipwrecked off the Whitby coast and comes ashore disguised as a black dog, and then the "fun" begins! After having been to Whitby I must say that it is the perfect setting for the tale.
The marina in Whitby and in the background the North York Moors National Park.
The view from the 199 steps in all directions is simply breathtaking. When you look over the old red rooftops it feels as if you have travelled back in time or have entered a fairy tale. I can recommend entering the town from the steps, which have an adjoining donkey track (there is parking on the East Cliff by the Whitby Abbey ruins). When you walk down the steps you step right into Church Street (see my images below), a charming narrow cobblestone street, where you will find all kinds of wonderful shops, inns and cafés.
Everywhere you look there is something to photograph but on Saturday the town was packed with people, which made it difficult to snap photos. We drove to Whitby and on the way into town you have to pass the North York Moors National Park, which has a beautiful landscape.
Marie Antoinette's Patisserie in Church Street.
There was only one thing I spotted in Whitby that bothered me (not for the first time). As we were walking in Church Street I saw the sign of Marie Antoinette's Patisserie with the phrase 'let them eat cake'. It's a phrase commonly misattributed to the Queen. She was supposed to have said it upon learning that the peasants couldn't afford bread. The fact is she never uttered these words; it was just French Revolution propaganda. It so happens that in my bag I had my copy of Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter by Antonia Fraser (an early birthday present from hubby). A few years back I read Fraser's biography Marie Antoinette: The Journey, where she corrects the 'let them eat cake' story and I think it's my duty to do so too, in case you spot the quote in my photo of the sign.
I took some photos of the Whitby Abbey, which I might share later. As I said earlier, there were so many people in Whitby that day that made it difficult to take photos. This trip was also a pleasure trip for the family and I wanted to spare them; it's no fun continually having to stop walking while someone is photographing. The idea is to return to Whitby on a weekday and go for a stroll with the camera while they relax on the beach.