Subject: York

On my trip to York, I stayed at the Kismet Guest House - 147 Haxby Road, tel (01904) 621056. I could not find a web site, but they do have an email address - kismetguesthouse It sits about a 10 minute walk from the town walls. I recall that it met all my basic criteria - quiet, clean, plenty of hot water. Nothing else stands out, but I was only there one night.

What I do recall very fondly is the time I spent in York. It is a rich town for a visitor. In its history, it has been under the Romans, Norse, Normans and Anglo-Saxons. I spent a full day touring the city (including a terrific free tour offered by the York Volunteers) and walking the walls. In York, streets are called gates, gates are called bars and bars are called pubs. It might seem confusing, but you'll catch on pretty quickly. A special highlight for me was the local folk music that I found at the Punch Bowl Inn and pub on Stonegate. A group of locals met there every Monday night to play. Accordians, mandolins, bodhrain, fluto, banjo, Irish whistle, fiddle, even bagpipes - a real magical evening of reels, jigs and ballads for the price of a pint. Highly recommended.

You also asked about seeing an English premier league match. On the same trip that took me to York, I also saw Tottenham Hotspur play Aston Villa at White Hart Lane in North London. We just walked up the day of the match and bought tickets. Previously, I had seen West Ham play when they were a Division 2 team. If you consider all of the London area teams (Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Fulham, West Ham), I have to believe that one of them will have tickets available for a game while you are there. Looking at the schedule, I see that West Ham is hosting Ipswich on March 30. Also Tottenham plays Leeds at home on April 1. Either game would be a good one to shoot for. By all means, do give it a try since it is a special treat to see a sporting event in another country. My only advice would be to see a day game since the stadiums are not in the best parts of town.

Mark Los Angeles