And what a contrast! We were in for a "culture shock" - after quiet, picturesque small-town Ripon, all of a sudden we found ourselves amidst the noise and the crowds of Sheffield; a place of about 16.000 residents v. more than half a million (1,2 million if you count the entire metropolitan area)!
Getting from Ripon to Sheffield by public transport involved a bus ride of 1 1/2 hours through beautiful Yorkshire countryside to Leeds. Naively, we had assumed that the central bus station would be close to the central train station, as is the case in most cities. Not so in Leeds! We dragged our luggage through the city centre for half an hour (which wasn't as bad as it sounds - we actually welcomed the walk after the long bus ride) and still had a bit of time to spare before our train to Sheffield, where we arrived early in the afternoon.
Another half hour later (it was 3.00 pm by now), we were at our hotel. On the way from Sheffield's main train station to the hotel, we walked through a rather shabby, run-down area; still next to the city centre (which is well kept), but neglected, with boarded up shops and heaps of rubbish in the corners.
The hotel itself was just your average business hotel, a Holiday Inn. We had to adjust now to sharing a small hotel room after the spacious cottage, where each of us had been in their own bedroom with en-suite shower room.
After a brief rest, we ventured out again. Before our trip to England, I had been browsing Yorkshire Pudding's blog for things to do in Sheffield, and come across this post about the Five Weirs Walk. It sounded like something my sister and I would enjoy, and I remembered having seen signs pointing towards the walk on our way from the train station to the hotel.
We quickly found where the walk began, and started out... only to turn round after a short while. Much to our dismay, we found ourselves between heaps of rubbish and the back ends of industrial estates and warehouses again. Nothing picturesque about it. Our hotel obviously was at the wrong end. So, no peaceful river walk for us.
|A particularly funny German translation - doesn't make much sense, really. Why didn't they ask someone who knows the language? The French looks alright, and I can't say anything about the Turkish bit.|
Instead, we went the opposite way, up into the city centre, which took us only 10 minutes. We found a place to eat, relatively expensive, but the food was good.
A few pictures from that first evening in Sheffield: Sheffield Cathedral, the entrance to City Hall, and some more post boxes for John!
In spite of our initial culture shock, we were determined to not let our holiday end on a less than pleasant note, and to make the most of the next few days until our departure on Tuesday.