Friday, February 28, 2014

Day 109: York

My 40-day European tour kicked off in York, famous for being the birthplace of many of England's kings, the last walled city in England, and the home of the Grand Old Duke (who had ten thousand men). I spent just five hours here on the afternoon of December 19th, because taking a stopover in York saved me £10 on my train ticket to Nottingham.

Because I didn't have much time or money, I spent most of the afternoon walking around. The wall (parts of which have roman bases, making them over 1600 years old) are now open as walking paths around the city centre. The city was originally so small that you could walk around in just over an hour, so it was the ideal way to get a whirlwind tour of York, especially since the train station is right outside the wall.

The problem is that the wall originally stopped at the river that crosses through York and continued on the other side, but I couldn't find the continuing bit. So, when I ran out of wall, I set off into the city, passing by the castle keep and Yorkminster. I also walked through the central shopping district (WAY too busy with Christmas shoppers) and listened to a wonderful jazz band for awhile. England definitely has good buskers.

I spent the most time in the Richard II museum, which is located in a few rooms on top of one of the gates in the wall. Apparently Richard commissioned the rooms to be built in the 15th century, and he was actually a great benefactor of York. While history (thanks to Shakespeare) has painted Richard as a villain, the museum laid out some convincing evidence that he might not have been all that bad. The museum was small, but it was neat to be in such an historical place, and it only cost £2.

When it got dark I headed back to the train station where I caught a train for Newark. There, I had to transfer between stations (no clue why Newark has two stations- they were both tiny) which meant walking through an unfamiliar town in the dark and the rain. Not a high point of the trip, but thanks to Apple maps I arrived safely in plenty of time to catch the train for Nottingham. 
My time in Nottingham was full of new family, good food, and exciting day trips... but that's a post for another day. For now, pictures of York: 
York's train station (viewed from the wall, I think)

I'm not the only one who enjoys a stroll on the wall.
(I was, however, the only one strolling while rolling a suitcase behind me)

A corner of the wall, which likely has a Roman base.

Crossing the river.

Random Castle-thing

A) Did I climb up all those steps while lugging my suitcase?
B) Did I actually go into the tower?

View from the top of all those stairs...

Awesome jazz band playing in the shopping area!

York Minster

Walking around York Minster. I just love cathedrals!

Richard III on trial. Was he really as bad as history says?

Tiny prison cell in the Richard III museum. The door was so low I had to bend over...
and that's saying a lot!

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