Jorvik

To beat our blues and lethargy we hit the road again last week, this time for York.

Only Yorkie that we saw on the streets!

Only Yorkie that we saw on the streets!

In all actuality, we plan our trips well in advance.  Train tickets are much cheaper when you plan ahead, and places to stay are more plentiful.  It is a strange feeling to plan in January a weekend getaway in March, especially when you have getaways in January and February to look forward to, but it keeps everything interesting for us nevertheless.

York once was the Northern power capital of the country.  London in the South, and Edinburgh in the far North, with York about 200 miles between the two.  A lot of England’s history is found in this city and from everything I had heard about this place it was one not to miss.

We took the train up, taking about 1.5 hours.  To drive would have pushed around 3 hours and with the cost of petrol these days the train is much more affordable.  We found a small cottage about a mile outside of the city walls (York is a walled city, at least the old historic part).  The cottage was built in the 1830’s or so and was super cute and quaint, yet we found it to be incredibly cold no matter that the heat never went off the whole time there.

Annika found a wide range of books to immerse herself in.

Annika found a wide range of books to immerse herself in.

Our first full day was Saturday and the weather was poorly.  It was cold and very wet and crummy out and we began with a walking tour of the city.  Even with umbrellas and coats and thermals we all were getting quite chilled and soaked.  This was one of the only times that the British Winter really affected our day.  We have been lucky going out with the weather, but not today in York.

The walking tour was free and organized by the York County Council and was a great way to get a sense of the Roman and Medieval history of the city, as well as explore part of the old town and the city walls.  Our guide was quite good and the sights were very interesting.   I was finding more and more that York is a city for me!

Knavesmere Cottage.

Knavesmere Cottage where we stayed.

Wet tour about to begin.

Wet tour about to begin.

Layers of York history are found in the city walls.

Layers of York history are found in the city walls.

You can see how cold it is in Annika's expression. The promise of a hot chocolate kept both kids going.

You can see how cold it is in Annika’s expression. The promise of a hot chocolate kept both kids going.

Henry VIII had a hand in tearing down this old Abbey.

Henry VIII had a hand in tearing down this old Abbey.

Roman wall on the bottom, medieval part on top.  1,000 years of history.

Roman wall on the bottom, medieval part on top. 1,000 + years of history in one picture.

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One of the oldest streets remaining in the old part of the town is the Shambles.  As you can read and see, its present character is at least 600 years old.

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York was quite crowded this weekend, probably due to it being Mothering Sunday weekend, which is the British version of Mother’s Day.  Our tour ended and we kept on exploring the city.  York Minster dominates the skyline, as it is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the Northern part of Europe.  It looked a lot like Lincoln Cathedral, only bigger.  It is much bigger than Westminster in London.  Cathedrals are not free to explore without paying up a few quid.  For York we decided to pay as it is massive and impressive.  Even the German prog rock band Tangerine Dream played here in 1975!

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York Minster from the wall.

York Minster from the wall.

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York was invaded by the Vikings in something like 866 and named it Jorvik.  The Viking history is evident throughout the city with the street names and the archaeological digs that are going on. There is even a tourist destination called the Jorvik Center, which helps to explain the current site diggings going on in the city and shows how the Vikings might have lived thousands of years ago.  We took the tour, as well as toured an old Tudor home that is recreated for visitors.  Plenty to do and see, and we tried to do as much that was inside rather than outside.

Old pub.  There are lots of old pubs in York.  There are also a couple of breweries in the area, so the pints we tried were all local ales.

Old pub. There are lots of old pubs in York.  Look how narrow the building is! There are also a couple of breweries in the area, so the pints we tried around town were all local ales.

Richard III and his family were originally from here.  York wants his bones returned North, but it ain't gonna happen.

Richard III and his family were originally from here. York wants his bones returned North, but it ain’t gonna happen.

One of five "Bars" that enter the walled city.  This is Micklegate Bar.  All still have a portcullis, and some have the original barbican intact.  Again, since I like history I was loving York.

One of five “Bars” that enter the walled city. This is Micklegate Bar. All still have a portcullis, and some have the original barbican intact. Again, since I like history I was loving York.

On Sunday we walked the remainder of the walls, had lunch in an Italian restaurant (and the pizza was authentic and delicious), and checked out the Railway Museum, the largest of its kind in the world.  York had once been a railway hub for the country, so it is fitting that this massive museum is located here.  I never collected trains as a kid, nor do my kids (currently), but seeing so many historic trains up close was very interesting and, thankfully, my kids really enjoyed it.  As for a Mothering Sunday, Rebecca enjoyed the day as well.  We could not be in a better place to celebrate Mum.

York was really promising and there is a lot we still did not get to see, so a day trip up North may be in the works for us before we leave.

Walking the walls.

Walking the walls.

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Clifford's Tower.

Clifford’s Tower.

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Grantham is our main station for traveling.

Grantham is our main station for traveling.

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The York rail station, signalling our time to depart.  On Sunday there was sunshine mixed with snow flurries.  Very cold still, but not so wet.

The York rail station, signalling our time to depart. On Sunday there was sunshine mixed with snow flurries. Very cold still, but not so wet.

Whilst waiting for our evening train we visited the York Station Pub, which was refurbished last year and is currently winning awards across the Northern region as best pub.  They had over 30 beers on tap, so we tried two that we will probably never see in our region.

Whilst waiting for our evening train we visited the York Station Pub, which was refurbished last year and is currently winning awards across the North as best regional pub. They had over 30 beers on tap, so we tried two that we will probably never see where we live.

 

3 thoughts on “Jorvik

  1. Wonderful post! Made me feel like another trip to England! The photos are excellent as well. I am very happy to be on your “send” list. Thanks so much! Regards, Jim

  2. Another Bravo! I could foregoe London forever, but York? Really, really want to get back. Did you see the signs showing the height of the flooding many years ago? And the Minster!? We thought we’d visit, so pulled our rental car into a parking spot outside, on a very slow Sunday afternoon in the 1980’s. Got out of car, heard music coming from loud speaker. Didn’t listen closely, but disappointed, I thought, “How gauche — piped music from one of the most important Anglican churches in the @#$(*&^ World!! Carlene and I walked in, were asked to be quiet and walked past a large choir practicing for a concert that evening. The music? Beethoven’s 9th, 4th movement. I choke up now, even as I write. We sat, it awe, as you can imagine. York minster please stay put until I can return. THEN on to Edinburgh, Glasgow, and pts. north.

    Best, Bruce the Bald

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