Monday, 4 October 2010

Ancient and Modern in York

In September I finally did something I have been promising myself for many years – visited York in the north of England.

This city is probably most well known for its Minster and the Roman Walls, much of which still exist and, yes, I did ‘walk the walls’! Less well known is York Castle. What is left of it is high on a mound with a steep flight of steps. I stood at the bottom and thought ‘no way’. Then girded my loins and toiled my way up, a few steps at a time. As I live on the second floor (third floor in US terms) I am practised in stair climbing. Once inside the roofless tower I meandered then climbed some more. This time up very ancient twisting stairs thinking about all of the people since Roman times who have climbed them. Awesome. Out on the top there are some fantastic views across York and the countryside.

There are several museums and historic houses about the city which are somewhat newer. Such as the Treasurer’s House with rooms covering 400 years of history, the medieval Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, the Barley Hall (a medieval townhouse) and, one of my favourites, the Georgian Fairfax House.

I have to confess that I spent more time at the National Railway Museum than at the other ones. As it is so large, that is understandable. Situated outside the city walls within a short walk of York Station, it is divided into sections. The Station Hall has railway carriages on display – some very special ones: Royal ones such as for Edward VII, George V and Queen Victoria. The Great Hall is where the engines – from the Rocket to a Japanese Bullet train (the only one outside of Japan) are on display. This Hall is very popular with Harry Potter fans as it is here that the wine red engine for the Hogwarts Express is kept.

Fortunately for me, the few days I was in York the weather was fine, unlike the end of September and start of October – torrential rain and gale force winds. Best place to be? In bed with a good book!!!! (Dream on, Barbara).