My English cousin came to Alberta five years ago and we made the ubiquitous trip to the Rockies. One of our walks was to see the Athabasca Falls which apparently made an impression. Her grown sons teased that her pictures were of "Athabasca Falls, Athabasca Falls, Athabasca Falls" I think that the cathedral in York, York Minster, might be my Athabasca Falls. When I show pictures I could say, "York Minster, York Minster, York Minster."
York Minster dominates the centre of the ancient city of York, which was founded by the Romans in AD 71. Medieval walls still surround the centre of the city and it is a popular tourist walk with views of many sights, York Minster included.
York Minster is a Gothic Cathedral built over centuries and among the largest in Northern Europe. It is the seat of the Archbishop of York (Church of England, of course) which is the second highest office in the Anglican Church. Services are "high Anglican" which are similar to Catholic, reflecting the roots of the Church of England.
The evening view from our hotel, The Jorvik, was deliciously creepy. The passageway leads into Museum Gardens and the York Museum. The Jorvik's name reflects the Viking influence in York. There was an ancient church across the street just to the left of this view. Inside smelled musty and very old. It is, however still the venue for regular services. The Yorvik was built sometime in the 1700's and had been renovated in the last several years.
In the ancient city, the Shambles is a street where the upper storey of buildings projects over the cobblestones below. The better to toss the contents of the chamber pots. This is no longer the practice, thank goodness. The street is a narrow pedestrian way, lined with shops featuring wool goods, other eclectic wares and tea rooms. We had lunch in a restaurant where our table was on the second floor and overlooked the Shambles.
Here is Bernie with one of the ancient city gates in the background. The gate is part of the wall and at one time, people seeking entrance to York would have had to be "vetted" at a gate like this one. There were rooms where the gatekeeper and his family resided. There was even one of those lovely medieval "toilets" where a hole and passage were built into the wall. Everything just dropped into the river which was once closer to the gate. The stone mason's mark is still visible on the walls. Each mason had his symbol and would mark his work. There were slits for the guards to look out of and shoot arrows if necessary. The stairs were narrow, winding and claustrophobia- inducing. Bernie even climbed them...ignoring her sensitivity to heights.
Clifford's Tower is part of the old castle of York. It is famous as York's Masada. Rather than forsake their religion, a group of Jews, including, women and children retreated to this tower. When their situation became hopeless, they killed themselves and remained true to their faith. There are faint red streaks in the rock of the walls, believed by some to be the blood of these innocent people.
We climbed the stairs to the tower and they are steep. Some heavy breathing later and we had a different view of York.
General Wolfe of the Battle of Quebec and Plains of Abraham in 1759 was a Yorkman. This is our Canadian connection. After an illustrious career, Wolfe met Montcalm leading the French. Although the battle itself was over in 15 minutes, General Wolfe was shot three times. Once in the arm, once in the shoulder and then in the chest. He died happy because the French had been routed. This famous painting depicts his death.
As you can tell, York was a high point of the UK trip for me.
I've been married a long time and often write about everyday events.