Sun of York


July 9, Thursday

When Shakespeare wrote “made glorious summer by this son of York,” he was not referring to the skittish appearances of Helios. An azure sky can turn cloudy and gray in the few moments it takes to peruse a pub’s lunch menu, and vise versa. We got caught in a moderate evening rain while trying to find a particular restaurant. We settled for less.IMG_2364IMG_2362

The streets are just wide enough for the rain to sneak between the oddly angled walls of the storefronts. There are crooks and nannies, like English muffins, in which to seek momentary shelter, but the stones are slippery and the rain persistent.

York is a medieval town with a stone wall that once provided some level of security against Vikings or Scots, but now serves the curious tourists who are encouraged to see the city from the long segments of wall that run from riverside to riverside. I doubt whether a crossbow touting Yorkshireman would actually recognize this well-tended, clean-swept, safety-railed stroll along the impotent battlements of yore.

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Here the wall is suspended were a modern bridge risks exposure to the hungry mobs laying siege. In a city where restaurants outnumber houses, hungry mobs are less feared.

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Guard towers barely maintain their dignity over passing cell phone users.

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Cars and busses pierce the walls at various gates (called “bars” like our hotel “Monkbar,” which is hard to avoid calling “Monkeybar”), but few are allowed more than a single block’s intrusion.

We had the good fortune of visiting the Railway Museum one morning. It is large, as it needs to be to house these wonderful old trains. Much of the museum is devoted to how royalty travelled in the early days of rail service.

A second museum recreates the Yorkshire streets of a few hundred year ago, with facsimiles of dinning, wedding, dying, farming, and penury (debtor’s prison). The reproduced streets, shops, barns, and homes have the fascination of a HO-scale model train set, but at full scale. There’s even the smell of horse shit where one might presume it would have been.IMG_2409

Our last meal in York was memorable:


2 responses to “Sun of York”

  1. Now York would be on the upper most top of my wish list. I refuse to use that other term reserved for kids older than me. I love the architecture, cobblestone streets, restaurants, and even the rain. Beautiful. I couldn’t make out what Rod was eating for an appetizer, even with pictures and audio. Please advise. This might make my addition to the “list” a bit shorter.

  2. Rod and I were sharing a little fried fish appetizer called “sprats.” They are like herring. If you like fish, you’d like these. They go particularly well with white wine. I should have included pictures of our main courses, which were excellent. Mine was some shellfish served over a linguini-like pasta.

    York seems smaller than Bath, but the city is 2.5 times as large. This is because the part of York that tourists confine themselves to is small—less than one square mile. The walk around the old city on the wall is said to be 3 miles, and that seemed an exaggeration. To walk around a square mile is four miles.

    I would definitely put York above Cardiff.

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