This morning, I had nothing planned, but I hadn’t done a post last night. So, I made my way into the city centre, found a Starbucks, and sorted my pictures and wrote a post for the blog. Then, I went for a wander to see some last bits of the city and get some final pictures, because I’m off to Oban tomorrow, fairly early.
I headed back to York Minster for a little while, then. Some of my pictures hadn’t turned out, so I wanted to retake them, and my ticket is good for a year, so I figured why not. There was a guided tour starting as I came in, but I was planning on catching a movie in about an hour, so I didn’t join it.
I walked down to a movie theatre, then, and saw Mad Max: Fury Road. I liked it a fair bit – it reminded me of how much I enjoy the other three. So, I’m going to have to rewatch those.
That was mainly because I had a few hours to kill before seeing King Lear tonight. I showed up at the Theatre Royal, where I thought the show was, only to be told it was actually at York University. The very helpful lady gave me directions to get there, involving walking back to the train station and catching a couple of buses, then crossing the York University campus. “You should just make it, if you hurry,” she told me.
I went back out to the street, and it started raining on my. At which point, I gave up and went back to the guesthouse.
Tomorrow, I leave York. I’ve had a great time here – I really like the city. London was overwhelming, and Oxford, though very cool, was kind of all one thing. York is small enough that I was able to see most of it, and varied enough that there was a lot to see.
So, I’m on the train early tomorrow, for a long ride. First to Edinburgh, then to Glasgo, and finally to Oban. There may not be many – or any – pictures, as I spend the day on the train.
Yesterday was a long day. I didn’t have anything booked until 1:00, so I decided to spend the morning seeing York Minster and walking the walls of the city.
After seeing the Minster, I climbed up the stairs at Bootham Bar1, and decided to walk that section of wall.
This gate also holds the Richard III museum, but I didn’t have time to head in there before my tour out to Castle Howard. I’m hoping to get back there today.
Castle Howard is the seat of the Earls of Carlisle, and they’ve lived there for over 300 years. It’s a wonderful example of a stately country home of the aristocracy.
We got back to York around 5:30, and wandered my way down to the King’s Arms2, had some dinner3, and caught my Original Ghost Walk at 8:00.
There are four or five ghost walks in York. The one I took was highly recommended on Tripadvisor, and by the folks at my guesthouse. I can see why. Good stories, a lot of ground covered, and the guide was wonderful, keeping conversation going between the stories, so that everyone had a good time the entire tour. Absolutely fantastic.
It was about 10:30 by the time I made it home, and went to bed. I’m still kind of tired today, so I’ve spent the morning in Starbucks sorting my pictures and writing this post.
This afternoon, I’m thinking about going to see Mad Max: Fury Road.
If I can find the theatre again.
In York, they have a saying that I have heard repeatedly from all the guides and several others. “The streets are gates, the gates are bars, and the bars are pubs.” This means that most streets are Somethinggate, like Gillygate or Monksgate, because gate is a corruption of the old Danish word for street. The gates are called bars, from the same root as barbican. And, of course, the drinking places are pubs. [↩]
I was feeling quite smug and self-congratulatory at how easily I was navigating the twisty streets of York. Then I realized that I had passed Betty’s Tea Room three times in the past fifteen minutes. I withdrew the self-congratulations. [↩]
At a restaurant next door – the King’s Arms doesn’t serve food. [↩]
Gorgeous morning today. Bright, clear, warm, just enough of a breeze on the top deck of the sightseeing bus to keep you cool and alert. The tour was good, and I got off about half-way through at Clifford’s Tower.
There were a couple wooden castles that stood on this spot. One was the site of a rather horrific episode in 1190, when about 150 Jews, pursued by mobs all het-up with antisemitism and Crusade fever, sought refuge. The Jewish population pushed their way into the castle, locking out the royal constable, and set about holding off the maddened, rioting mobs. They were offered their lives if they would be baptized, and promised death if they refused. In the end, they set fire to the castle, choosing to immolate themselves rather than renounce their faith and accept the dubious guarantees of the Christians.
Not something York is very proud of.
Clifford’s Tower is right next to the York Castle Museum. The rest of York Castle is long gone, and the remaining buildings are a former women’s prison and a former debtor’s prison. It’s a pretty great museum.
The other wing of the museum, which was once a debtor’s prison, featured an in-depth look at the impact of WWI on the UK, and York in particular.
After I finished up there, I went to find Jorvik, a special museum dedicated to showing off the Viking finds on the site in the 70s and 80s. Very cool stuff. A lot of it was in the form of a little car ride through a rebuilt Viking village full of animatronics1, but there was a lot of interest there, too.
At this point, I went and got back on the sightseeing bus, planning to go see the Richard III museum. Unfortunately, I missed the stop, and the day had clouded over and gotten chilly. So, I rode the bus around to the start of the tour, and got off to find some lunch.
I wandered down through the twisty, turny, medievally part of the city near the Minster, and found a neat pub called Ye Olde Starre Inne2. Now, the thing that caught my eye about the place was that it didn’t have any street fronting. The Starre Inne, like the House of Trembling Madness and a few other places I saw, had been cut off from the street by new buildings, so they made their own arrangements. The House of Trembling Madness had its entry through another store, while the Starre Inne had a large sign across the entire width of Stonegate Street3 and a little alley that led to the Inne’s gardens.
After that, I just wandered the streets for a while, trying to decide if I was going to call it a day or if I would try to squeeze in a visit to York Minster today. I made my way over to the Minster, and saw that it was going to close in half an hour, so I decided to save it for tomorrow morning.
So, that, and maybe a walk on the city walls, is slated for tomorrow morning. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ve booked a trip out to Castle Howard. That should be cool.
Not a lot of pictures today. I spent about six hours checking out of the Oxford hotel, walking to the train station, waiting for a train, traveling to York, and walking to my guesthouse. Not a difficult day, but traveling definitely cuts into sightseeing time.
I also got away from Oxford about an hour later than I had planned – my computer stopped working, and it took me a while this morning to sort that out. I wanted to have the computer working so that I could watch a movie1 the four-hour train trip.
After I got settled into my guesthouse, I went for a bit of a walk to a pub I had read about in the guesthouse. And I took a couple of pictures.
The pub I was looking for was called The House of Trembling Madness. Trembling madness is a reference to delirium tremens, the DTs. It’s through a Bottle Shop2, and up a narrow, twisty flight of stairs.
And now, I’m back in my room, and going to read for the rest of the evening. Tomorrow, a sightseeing bus tour.
I watched Taken 3. It was so full of dumb, I can’t even begin to describe it. Even more than the first two. [↩]