Saturday, July 09, 2005


View from the Art Gallery Steps One of the things about visiting England is that it can be hard to tell sometimes whether that castle across the street is actually a tourist attraction or just a boarding school founded 1400 years ago. The one by our hotel in York was a school. Crazy.

Miriam falling off a wall York is surrounded by about 2 miles of old castle walls, which are great for strolling, viewing the city from above, falling off of, and finding little nooks in. The giant gates in the walls are called bars, not gates, and gates are streets (though streets can also be just streets). Also, the river Ouse is pronounced "ooze." It's prettier than it sounds, though.

York Minster Before the trip, I had reread (and shared with Miriam) chapter 3 of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. So when we went to York Minster we were on the lookout for speaking stones. And in a way, we found them. There was a service going on in the chapel at the time, and it was being piped out through various speakers tucked all around the Minster. So it really was like walking by a pillar and hearing it speak. Wonderful. We also got to go into the chapel for the last part of the service. I loved the organ music and the choir singing. At the end of the service, the choir filed out past us, still singing, and we could hear each part individually as they walked by, until they gathered together again in the next room and the harmonies recombined.

York is a pretty haunted place, but at this point it may have more ghost walk tours than actual ghosts. We went on the original one though, which was probably the only case (for the entire trip) of us allowing ourselves to be herded along with a gaggle of tourists like that. But it was worth it to listen to a great storyteller. The stories weren't even all about ghosts per se, but also about other unexplained and mysterious phenomena, like the walls of Clifford Castle running red with blood every hundred years, or a past life hypnosis session that described the crypt of St. Mary's church 15 years before it was actually unearthed and discovered.

Other highlights:
  • Used book stores. Unlimited time and money -- that's all I need. But I managed to restrain myself for the most part.
  • Turkish delight. Yum.
  • Eating Indian takeaway by (and on) the ruins of St. Mary's Abbey.
  • Dancing on cobblestones to Strauss waltzes being played on a harmonica.
  • Emperor Constantine distributing largesse in the form of oranges.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Also, the river Ouse is pronounced "ooze." It's prettier than it sounds, though.

Makes you wanna just jump off the bridge for a swim...

Emperor Constantine distributing largesse in the form of oranges.

And as with my nature of slowness, it took me a while to realize that she wasn't actually throwing it into the air, rather, she was catching it from the guy dropping it....

Perhaps, the logical half of my brain should be given a day off. What do you think?

This has been an all day adventure, for you, just posting the stuff -- and you might not even be done! Thanks for the little mental trip to England... one day, I'll get to go myself...