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  • Day116

    Day 116: Exploring York

    June 11, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Today was the day for exploring York, so we headed out the door at the usual time with no real plan in mind. Our house was actually out in the burbs a bit, maybe 25 minutes walk from town, so we ambled in along the riverfront.

    First spot was a castle tower, standing since the 16th century on a Norman-era mound, though we'd heard there wasn't much to see inside and it cost a few pounds for entry. Skip.

    Next up we made it to the old centre of town, where there was a Viking museum I was interested in having a look at. It might seem a little incongruous, but the vikings actually raided here many times over the centuries pre-Norman conquest, and occupied it for quite a while. They even gave the town the name, Jarvik/York. But from what we could see from the outside, it looked fairly overpriced and aimed at kids. Plus a long queue. Skip again.

    Third stop for the morning was the Shambles market, which is a large street market over several streets that covers the original area of the medieval markets. So basically, it's been going for hundreds of years. Lots of fancy food options to choose from, so we had a couple of local delicacies and some Indian food as well. It wasn't quite midday, but close enough to eat lunch.

    Next we checked out York Minster, the famous cathedral in the city. It actually predates most of the gothic cathedrals in England, being originally constructed just after the Norman conquest. Very impressive and we had a decent look around inside as it was free entry for a nice change! We also wandered around the nearby city walls which still stand from the middle ages. Good view from up here, and finally a bit of sun allowed us to get a couple of quick photos of the cathedral.

    We wandered back through the old streets, including the main Shambles street which looks very cool with Tudor-era buildings almost collapsing onto the main avenue. Everything's very close in and claustrophobic, but also very atmospheric. As a side-note, the classic Tudor image of white walls with vertical and diagonal black/brown timber struts is actually completely inaccurate - there's no real evidence Tudors ever did this. Apparently it was just a Victorian-era fantasy that took hold as "common knowledge" and has never really gone away.

    Decided it was time for a drink so headed into "the most haunted pub in York", the Golden Fleece. It was apparently built without proper floor supports, so the interior has walls and beams leaning every which way. Atmospheric, and yes a little spooky I guess. I had a pint and Shandos had a cider, and though it was very dark, neither of us saw any ghosts. Just a bunch of nerds at the next table discussing a Star Wars trading card game in nasally voices.

    It was at about this time we realised that if we weren't going to pay for stuff or head out of town, we'd mostly exhausted what York had to offer. So I decided to head back to the house, while Shandos went shopping. I worked on some videos and took Schnitzel for a walk at the racecourse nearby, which was fun until we got a bit wet by a passing shower!

    We briefly considered heading out again to do a ghost walking tour, but since the town was a 25 minute walk away and we'd already done a fair bit of walking, we decided it against and stayed in instead!
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    Joel Baldwin

    York Minster, front face

    Joel Baldwin

    York Minster, from the walls

    Joel Baldwin

    Tudor buildings

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