Sunday, February 22, 2009

York Is All You Need

If you had only one weekend to spend in England, after London (even though I haven't been there yet), I'd say go to York.  York has cathedrals (yes, plural), ancient ruins, and tons of history.  And we (there were six of us this time- Carly, Alma, Cassie, Jori, Aubrey, and me) happened to be there during the annual Viking Festival.  So it was pretty awesome to walk around ancient ruins and run into a Viking, hehe.  It was pretty crowded this weekend, so when I go back with Mom and Mary in April, I'll probably enjoy it even more.  So, here we go!

We all met out in the quad at 6:20AM, so we could get the 6:54 direct train to York.  Some of our other friends who had already been to York had been up ALL NIGHT (doing goodness knows what, lol) and were just getting back to bed when we were leaving.  They had a mattress out in their flat and were mattress surfing down the stairs.  Jori wanted to join in, so I got her picture.

Jori mattress surfing.  No injuries!
So we got to the rail station in plenty of time to get our train.  It was a two and a half hour ride, so most of our crew slept.  I did *try* to read my book for my Lit class (Tale of Two Cities, yuck), but I didn't get very far.  The route went through Leeds, so we got to see a little from our train.  As we got into Yorkshire, it got FLAT.  Like, Indiana flat.  Only with more trees, and much, much prettier.  And the soil is so dark, very rich.
We got into York at about 9:30.  The weather was pretty mild in the morning, great weather for walking around.  We headed toward the city centre, crossing the York River.  There were rowers out early practicing, and some other neat things.

Female rowers, even!
Pigeons on a turret, near the bridge. 

Bridge near river.

Our first Viking sighting!

We continued to walk towards the city centre and stopped at the Museum Gardens, where our program said battle practice was supposed to be.  In April, I'm sure the gardens will be even more spectacular.  I got some video of the Viking practice.  And enjoy my commentary, haha.
Here are some pictures:
This is an old hospital near the gardens.  St. Leonard's Hospital, built in the 1200s, dissolved in the 1500s.  Wow.
 Inside part of the hospital.  Those are tombs/caskets, right? Awesome.
One of my favorite pictures of the day, inside the hospital.  They don't make hospitals like this anymore.  Shame, really.
 Cool window outside the hospital.
 Vikings!! Preparing for battle.  Awesome shields.  Today, there are female Vikings, which I have a feeling weren't around (at least in battles) back in the day.
 Part of an old castle, near the gardens.
 I have NO IDEA why, but there was a "Birds of Prey" exhibit right beside the gardens, and they had a Bald Eagle.  I don't know how they managed to get it into England (pretty sure they're not native!).
We kept walking, and got quite close to the Minster Area.  There is an old 13th Century wall around the city centre, and we walked around a lot of it.  
Monk Bar, medieval gate into the city centre.

Inside the Monk Bar looking into the streets.
  We walked around a lot of the wall-- this is the Minster!
We were hungry about now, and we knew there was a huge food market a short walk down the city centre.  It wasn't Viking food, but a lot of international food.  I took a lot of pictures, because there was a lot of cool food!
No, I didn't try any.
 German sausages/salami.
Artisan bread.
 Olives + Spices
 Paella!!  A traditional Spanish dish (I had some when I was in Spain).  It has rice, onions, peppers, usually seafood and/or shrimp and saffron gives it the color.  This kind had chicken in it and sausage on top, and you couldn't taste the saffron.  I need to learn how to make this stuff.

Next, we walked to the Shambles.  They're not *in* shambles, its a twisting of the word "shamel" meaning stall or bench, where merchants would sell their wares.  They're tiny twisted streets with tons of little shops, cafes, tea shops, etc.
 Diagon Alley, anyone?

Everything looks like its about to fall in on itself, but its been there for centuries, so no worries.

There was another market right next to the Shambles, more pictures!
Cheese, seafood, and meat.

All of their meat was raised within 25 miles of York.

We all sat down for a while and tried to decide what to do next.  I was the only one who wanted to go the Minster, so I borrowed one of their cell phones and went by myself.  I don't know what they did while I was gone, but I got to indulge in my new favorite hobby of cathedral-stalking.
It's HUGE!!

And beautiful..

Remember, remember the fifth of November, of gunpowder, treason, and plot.
PLEASE tell me somebody knows what I'm talking about.


Columns, etc.

Apparently I can't center a photo properly...

Great West Wall.

Rose Window

Choir area, facing west.

The Tower

The Great East Window.  They're doing a massive, decade-long repair/restoration of the Great East Window and the outside.  It took me a good 10 minutes to realize that this was NOT the actual window, but, in fact, the largest printed photograph in the world.  No kidding!

BIG column.

After I saw all I wanted to see inside the Minster, I wandered down to the opposite side of town, towards Clifford's Tower.
This is all that's left of the medieval York Castle.

The Viking battle was supposed to take place in the York Eye (an area between three museums), but it was sold out!  We watched the fire dancers practice (without the fire, lol) and went back to Preston.  We met a creepy English guy and his creepy Polish friends and we were very thankful when they got off at Accrington, close to Leeds.  
Also, Flat Stanley hasn't come yet.  Hopefully, he'll get here before I go to Belgium this weekend!  
All of my pictures (I took 185 in an 8 hour span!) are here.
Photobucket got all of my pictures hopelessly out of order, so good luck sorting through them.  I might switch to another photo hosting website this week when I have time.  Maybe.

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