Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dream Vacation - Day 16

I was up around 8ish, enjoyed the comfy bed. I had some leftover pizza for breakfast before packing up and heading to the city of York. It was a 75 miles drive from Durham to York and it was once again very foggy and misty. I didn't stop a single time as there really wasn't anything to see. I could tell there was beautiful countryside out there I just couldn't see it.

I got into York around 1pm and made it to my hotel, I couldn't check in right away but they allowed me to park my car in their lot. Figured I'd explore for a few hours and then come back and check in. My hotel was about two miles from city center so it was a good 20 minute walk. Outside city center it was kind of a boring town, it was old and not in a good way. But as you get closer to city center you see the gates, the one I walked through is called Micklegate Tower. This is a gated city like London-Derry in Northern Ireland, but unlike London-Derry only half of the walls are still standing. But you are able to walk along what portions of the wall are still standing.

Once you go through the gates you're in city center and then it turns into your typical charming English city. I wandered through the city streets until I saw this "ruin" on top of a small hill. I figured I'd give it a look.

It was York Castle aka Clifford Tower, it's a fortified complex comprising, over the last nine centuries, a sequence of castles, prisons, law courts and other buildings on the south side of the River Foss. The now-ruinous keep of the medieval Norman castle is commonly referred to as Clifford's Tower. Built originally on the orders of William I to dominate the former Viking city of York, the castle suffered a tumultuous early history before developing into a major fortification with extensive water defences. After a major explosion in 1684 rendered the remaining military defences uninhabitable, York Castle continued to be used as a jail and prison until 1929.

There was a fee to going into the castle but again it was something like 8 pounds which I felt was worth it. Once inside all you can do is take a spiral staircase to the top and get some great views of the city of York.

Walking through the streets of York reminded me the most of Harry Potter and Diagon Alley. But one street in particular was pretty amazing.. it's  called The Shambles. The buildings are close together, and leaning inward. It was a very magical feeling walking down that street. I almost felt as though I would turn the corner and see Olivanders Wand shop :)

Just down the street from The Shambles was the amazingly beautiful York Minster, it's one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. The minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the second-highest office of the Church of England, and is the cathedral for the Diocese of York. It is run by a dean and chapter, under the Dean of York. The formal title of York Minster is "The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York". The title "minster" is attributed to churches established in the Anglo-Saxon period as missionary teaching churches, and serves now as an honorific title.

There really are no words to describe how amazing this structure looks. It's so huge and ornate. I've seen quite a few church's in my travels but nothing compares to this one. You're able to walk inside and check out the inside which is also very beautiful (but no photo's allowed), but you have to pay something like 24 pounds to go up into the towers. This was one thing I didn't feel was worth the money. I mean just seeing this place from the outside was good enough for me. 

I wondered through different parts of the city making my way back to my hotel to check in and call it a night. This hotel is very unique and must have been a big house at one point and converted into a hotel afterwards. The room was extremely small and the bed was even smaller but I had my own bathroom which was nice and it was quiet, but the best thing about this hotel was the key.. it was an old school skeleton key.... very cool.

1 comment:

  1. I loved The Shambles. It's like being wrapped in a city. The price to go up into the Minster tower has gone up a LOT since I was there two years ago!
    Did you spot the birthplace of Guy Fawkes nearby?