Monday, March 16, 2009

York Minsters and William Shatner... (Day 1 of Northern England)

I know your all probably curious about the last part of this post's title and I'll get there... but I hope you are comfortable and prepared to enjoy a little ramble through Northern England. "Ramble" is another British term I was unfamiliar with until I got to England... it means to walk or to wander. I had only ever heard in reference to talking too much before... so who knew? Probably everyone but me, but anyway...

So this weekend was my second to the last tour here in England. I am rather saddened that these tours are coming to end. From here on out I'll be alone when I trek through England and seek to see the sights and history. I have one more tour this coming weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick (basically everything Shakespeare). But this weekend was York and Northern England - AKA Bronte country. Filled with Moores, ghosts, and everything else that inspired the dark romances like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I was so excited. Let's begin shall we...

I awoke quite early saturday morning - 5:30am because I had to meet the bus by 7am outside Founder's Hall. Unfortunately right I after I woke up to my alarm at 5:30 I accidentally hit "stop" instead of "snooze" with turned my alarm off completely and therefore I didn't wake up again until 6:30 - CRAP! So I bolted out of bed, luckily I had already set out my outfit for the day and then threw stuff into my bag willy nilly and tried to straighten a little bit of my hair - it was pointless because of the ungodly wind all day - but we'll get to that. We made it down to the coach by 6:55am only for me to realize I had forgotten my coat (a sign that weather is improving... but I still needed to for that night I knew so I ran up to my room). This was only a sign of things to come as far as packing... I forgot so many little things that it got ridiculous... nothing I forgot to pack was direly missed, it was just frustrating to go into my bag to find my soap for the shower and not find it. Anyhow... we began our 4 hours long journey up to York! The tour bus was awesome and two floors!! I read some, listened to a couple of Open Door messages that I needed to catch up on and then we pulled into York around 1pm. It wasn't terribly cold, temp-wise (only 55 degrees) but the wind made things worse. Seriously there were times I though I was gonna fall over it was so strong. It was also overcast which added to the mood of the city, which is known as the most haunted city in England - awesome!!
The city boasts of a lot of history from Viking to Roman to ancient English monarchy - Richard III is Yorks favored son. He was not as great a villian as Shakespeare makes him out to be by the way - he didn't have a hump and a shriveled arm... all that was to appease Queen Elizabeth. But I'm getting lost on a tangent - back to York.

York (once known under Viking rule as Jorvin) is dominated by the view of the Minster.

We began our adventure with a ramble (walk) around York. I realize that one of the many things I will deeply miss about England is the ruined Abbeys and Cathedrals... this is one of them in the middle of York. They just have so much history and mystery to them... I would love to get married at some ruins.

I also love the very old cemeteries.
And if the rise in temperature wasn't enough to signal spring is coming... the foliage has. Even Royal Holloway has explored with colorful flowers... here is a park in York.
Our city walk ended at the York Minster

Then we had a bit of free time to find lunch and explore the city center. There is a tiny pedestrian street of shops called Shambles where I found a hot dog from a street vender and then delicious hot chocolate from a chocolate shop.
We also walked past the Guy Faukes pub named for the man who was caught in the basement of Parliament with a match in his hand and several tons of gun powder that would have blown up Parliament as well as Westminster Abbey - "remember, remember the 5th of November." Faukes is from York.
After a ramble through Shambles (hehe) we met back at the Minster for a tour... here are some pics of the outside and inside.

Then we climbed the tower to the top of the church... one thing I will not miss about England - all the stairs... especially the kind where they are old and too small for my big feet and are so steep that the next step is the level of my knees... my jeans no longer fit right because of my HUGE leg muscles. But I made it up without tripping and falling to my death. This was a balcony half way up

at the top
love what horribly fast wind does to the hair.
the scariest part of the stairs is walking down... that is where the danger lies.
Constantine statue outside the Minster... he was actually proclaimed Emperor of Rome in that exact spot... oh yeah - York rocks
one last view of the minster
After the Minster we all went to the hostel to check in and then had the evening to make our way back to the center of town, find dinner, and go on one of the many famous ghost tours of the city. There were three levels of tours 1. Funny one, where the tour guide is an actor and they make jokes and has fun with the crowd. 2. The scary one where people jump out at you 3. the historical one where they tell you actual real live ghost stories from around the city. I chose the 3rd because it was supposed to the creepiest. Our tour guide was a wonderful story teller... he was an older gentleman and looked strikingly similar to William Shatner. He told us true stories of the city, some were lame... some gave me chills. It was just really fun scaring ourselves. I didn't take many pictures because he seemed to take us to the darkest alleyways and places with no street lights to tell us these haunting stories. After the tour the bunch of us (Rik, Brie, Victoria, Dan, and I) went to dinner and then as we walked back to the hostel at around 11pm we told each other our own scary stories. Rik and Brie are from Azuza Pacific University in Cali and that college has some crazy demonic stories in it's history. Rik himself had some of the scariest stories. I told my stories about the creature at Mountain Meadows ranch (where our church has camp). It was a great night!!


kristen said...

That would some great places to get married!

NanAZ said...

I agree that those would be some awesome wedding locations. Imagine that pics you could get! I love the architecture in Europe. So much character and individuality. Not the tract homes and box buildings like we have here.