After we left Blenheim palace, we hopped in the car and headed North towards York. Our rental car place was set to close at 5 PM so we were hustling to drop off our car before then. On the way we passed a bunch of nuclear power plants off to the side of the road. I nerded out and had to take a picture.
Our unique room key.
After we settled into our hotel, we set off to explore the city and find some dinner. We ended up at Bill's, which was SO GOOD. Definitely one of the favorite places we ate in all of England. I guess York is known for being a foodie city, and Bill's lived up to that. We intended to go back for breakfast one day but never ended up making it back.
Chris had some sort of curry that was delicious.
After dinner we headed down to the river for a Ghost Walk. I guess York is known for having some haunted houses and such. There is this old guy who is a great storyteller who leads a ghost walk every night at 8 PM. You just show up with $5 bucks outside a certain pub and he walks you all around famous sites in the city and tells you stories. I actually didn't think the stories were scary at all, to me they were heart-warming and proof of life after death, and proof that family members who leave us still watch over our lives. I kind of loved it. Plus, we got a great first day's exposure to the layout of the city and where things were. However, it was SUPER cold in York, and we were frozen when we got back to our hotel. I bought a pair of gloves in town the next day to try to stay a bit warmer, we just ran out of layers. Still, we were thankful for no rain!
York is a fascinating city. Here's a little model of the city that helps a little bit. You can see the huge minister in the center, as well as the square wall that used to be the city wall in medieval times and the River Ouse that winds through. York was the capital of the Roman empire in 71 AD (they called it Eboracum). Constantine was declared emperor here in 371 AD. The land where the Minister stands was originally a Roman place of worship, and it was added onto and changed over time as the city changed hands. The Vikings took over from 850 to 950 AD (they called the city Jorvik), left their mark on the city, and then when they left it went back to British rule. In the middle ages it was a huge wool trading center, as well as the capital of the Church of England. The York Minister was built on top of the Roman and subsequently Viking place of worship between 1300 and 1400 AD. Now, York is a major railway hub, a center of a large university, and it thrives mostly on tourism.
We woke up, pounded a few granola bars for breakfast and then headed over to the York Minister for a tour. It's one of the largest medieval cathedrals in all of Europe, and it's gorgeous.
Then we headed outside to see the exterior of the Minister.
Then we walked to St. Mary's church to see another one of the Jorvik viking exhibits that was being housed there. St. Mary's dates from the 11th century, but most of the church had been reconstructed in the 15th century. It's no longer operated as a church, but houses traveling exhibits.
Then we walked down toward Clifford's Tower, to see it in the daylight. It's so random, just this huge castle tower on a hill in the middle of the city. It is a medieval Norman castle, built in 1068.
The tower was rebuilt and demolished numerous times over the years, and even used as a prison for some time.
...It turned out to be much farther away than we realized, ha ha. The next series of photos were all pieces of the city we saw on our walk to the church.
We passed through Mickelgate, which is one of the four medieval corner towers of the city wall. We climbed up the steps and took some pictures from the top of the tower and the wall adjacent to it. Cars drive right through the lower gates as they come in and out of the old part of the city.
Well, nobody came, ha ha. So after we'd rested for a bit, we hoofed it back towards our hotel, and we stopped at the train station to scope out our platform for our train the next morning and make sure we knew where we were going. Then we passed over the River Ouse via Lendal Bridge toward our hotel.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22
We slept in a little, then packed up our things and headed to the train station. We arrived with plenty of time, so we ate some breakfast and enjoyed the free wifi on the platform for a while. When our train arrived, we were in first class where they served us lunch and had excellent wifi while we traveled. It was a fast train, so it only took us about two hours to reach London! And just look at that amazing weather waiting for us. Woo!
To be continued...