York

I’m so behind on the blog! Travelling is busy and bustling, our tour through the United Kingdom and Ireland was very fast paced and the last few days I have been unwell after eating a scotch bonnet chilli so haven’t been in the mood for writing. Nevertheless I am on the mend and below is the recount of our visit to York! Keep in mind this event was probably only about 10 days ago so it’s not too bad but I’ll try get a few more up soon…

York is a funny town that seemed to not buy too much into the industrial revolution, without loads of factories and periods of economic boom and bust. In fact, four hits of the plague left York still steadily growing! This has left a wonderful character of feeling like you are wandering into a 16th century city to attend some sort of medieval fair. Our first glimpse of this came at the Micklegate Bar, which (with almost a tinge of sadness), is not actually a bar but a gate (apparently ‘bar’ is slang for barrier but fact check me). It bears the crest of the town and was the entrance point to the city. Next to the gate are climbable walls in which you can boyishly pretend to be proudly guarding your home from invaders. Now it’s not exactly how it would have looked, over the chimneys of housing but we got a good idea.

 

Initially a Roman settlement on the River Ouse, York became a Viking Capital and the town became a wool making powerhouse. A recent dig found the oldest human poo we have found from this Viking Era! However after William the Conqueror took hold it became a trade town and still famous for wool, but leather as well. York was known for two massive ‘fairs run each year. People would travel great distances to attend, sort of like a 13th Century Easter Show… York wasn’t all pretty though, a stain on the legacy of the town came from the brutal massacre of the Jewish population in 1190, where many were burned alive in a Castle and those that surrendered were murdered anyway.

 

Moving on from the sombre; We wandered across a bridge at low tide and past a pub which claims to be the ‘most flooded establishment in Britain’ because the bank breaks so often. Eventually our group came to what I can only assume is Lucy’s highlight of the tour so far, the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. The legend goes that rather than poor building the old butchers lane had so much weight hanging carcasses from the front of buildings (so much for away from gore) and all the water and blood being drained into the ground that the houses lean forward. They do in fact, lean forward but the cause I’m not sure about! What is left is an ethereal walk through time and you can certainly understand how Diagon Alley was born out of this scenery.

 

The final major stop in York was the famous York Minster. Just a few metres the same spot as the great Constantine became Emperor in 306 AD stands one of the most incredible Gothic cathedrals I have ever seen. It took roughly from the years 1080-1225 to complete the magnificent site. I can’t really put the beauty into words and even the pictures below don’t quite do it justice. Unfortunately we were too late in the day to go inside but from the pictures it is a very similar style to Gloucester. As a consolation we got to see a 2000 year old roman pillar still standing and had some tasty local food and beer as our tour group started becoming friends.

 

The next post will detail some ruins and some castles! But until then…

As Grandma’s friend Laurie always says…

“Love all around”

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