An Afternoon in Whitby

I never thought that visiting Whitby, even for only a couple of hours would leave me with such a nice impression. It was a gloomy summer afternoon. The day before, it had rained the whole day in Scarborough. Getting used to British weather, I didn’t expect the weather would change much and didn’t even bother to check the weather forecast. Initially, the reason I wanted to visit the seaside town was because it would take only one hour from Scarborough where I was based, and also because the famous Whitby Abbey was there. Yet, things didn’t go quite as planned. Well maybe it’s because there wasn’t any detailed plan anyway, my bad.

I left Scarborough after lunch time and had to wait about half an hour for the bus. It’s quite depressing to wait that long especially when you have lived in London for quite some time. There you won’t have to wait for more than 10 minutes for the next bus to come and the tubes come and go every 2 minutes. The bus ride, however, immediately washed my discontent away. The journey was amazing. The road was mostly narrow and winding but the driver was surely a skillful one. About the first half an hour, the landscape was breathtaking with the view of rolling hills that spread right before my eyes and the shades of green, the kind of  soothing and calming green that I love.

The next half an hour, the journey entered the coastal area. I could see the sea in the distance and before long, my eyes caught the shape of the ruined abbey perching on the top of the cliff, overlooking the North Sea. The abbey looked so majestic even from far away.

Arriving in Whitby, I was blessed with the change of weather. Suddenly the sun shone brightly. The weather changed and so did my mood. It wasn’t hard to find the way to the abbey because it was a small town anyway. To reach it, we had to climb the 200-year-old 199 steps, also known as the Church Stairs. Halfway to the end of the climb I made a pause. No, not because I was tired but because I just had to stop and turned around. Behind me, the view was fantastic. On the left, there was this sweeping view of rooftops glowing as they reflected the sunlight. On the right, the sea along with its two piers made a lovely seascape to enjoy. The two piers, the west and the east, are situated next to each other, each with a lighthouse and beacon.

The west and east pier, each with a light house and beacon.

As I reached the end of the ascent, my eyes immediately caught large gravestones from hundreds of years ago. The gravestones actually stood in the graveyard of the church, St. Mary’s Church. The 12th-century church, along with its graveyard inspired the world-acclaimed writer, Bram Stoker and was used as one of the settings in his famous novel, Dracula. I spent some time to read the inscription of the gravestones and finally went to the abbey only to discover that it was…closed. It’s closed at 4 PM daily (noted).

The huge gravestones that inspired Bram Stoker for his novel, Dracula.

Anyway, I managed to see parts of the abbey from outside of the wall that surrounded it. What I meant is to see halfway up to the top, and well it wasn’t that bad 🙂

The abbey, a view from the outside wall.

There was nothing else I could do and so I walked back. As I was about to pass the church I decided to turn and see the rest of the graveyard at the back of the church. It was a decision I didn’t regret because another great view was waiting. The graveyard, like the church, lay overlooking the North Sea. Some benches are placed along the pathway of the graveyard. I guess they did it on purpose because by just sitting there, one can enjoy the astonishing view of the sea. I know it doesn’t sound like a romantic idea to sit on a bench at a graveyard, but it was for me one of the most peaceful moments I’ve ever had in life. Not too many people were there at that time, only one or two. It was so quiet. I could even hear the sound of the wind rustling the wild grass and smell the fresh air of the sea.

The view from the back of the church, even more gravestones.

It was showering for a couple of minutes while I was sitting there. After that the sun went back shining and a rainbow appeared in the sky. How can I complain to this kind of British weather? I can say it was a fine afternoon after all.









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