A Cebuana globe trotter , gourmand and chef following her…
Whenever I felt like I am in distress of the current situation, I just take the courage to get out and explore. With the current COVID 19 lockdown restrictions, all I can do now is to look back on the happier days exploring the places I’d rather be. One of these places that I had ticked off of my bucket list is the walled city of York.
This is the first time I had set foot in the said city, with much prodding and convincing from the best bud, John Michael [@dukeofkingsbench], as he is by far, the most well travelled person I have met who is also a full time Registered Nurse. WE are both working for the NHS, and as demanding as our jobs, we still managed to find a way to make do of the limited time we had to actually go and explore York. The city greeted me with scattered rain showers and chilly winds, and, I as a traveller, had come in complete gear (coat and winter boots) as I braved the inclement weather. Also, one very notable reminder that I had to always find my #TrueNorth was the colourful compass that greeted me as I passed by the walls with the best bud. Yeah, call me nostalgic and melodramatic, but hey, not everyone takes notice of a compass when they see one. I did.
First stop was walking along the road en route to the famed Yorkshire Museum. But, alas, it is closed due to the current pandemic and it is following national guidelines for safety. I quite admire how the nation has adjusted to the restrictions that were carried out, however awkward and unsettling it was. It was then my personal plan to come back to York again when the dust of this ongoing crisis settles. You may check out how they came about in HERE.
Aside from the museum, one very prominent structure is the wall surrounding the city. As we had wandered around the city, we had then decided to up the wall and walk on it! We headed to Baile Hill, where the steps lead up the trail on the wall-walk. It starts by going up Victorian steps and through a Victorian tower in order to climb a flat topped hill that was made for one of William the Conqueror’s wooden “motte and bailey” castles about 950 years ago. The motte was the hill for the castle keep, the bailey was the defended space next to it. After climbing almost to the top of the motte the Walls here run on 2 sides of the bailey, built on the mounds that the Normans had wood walls on. [Source: https://www.yorkwalls.org.uk/?page_id=3727]
My trip to a certain place will not be complete without visiting Churches. As such, Yorkshire has its own share of Medieval churches. First stop was the Oratory Church of St. Wilfrid. It is a Catholic Church since the Medieval times. Roman Catholics call it the “Mother Church of the city of York”. It is in Gothic Revival style. The arch over the main door has the most detailed Victorian carving in the city. The present church was completed in 1864 and is considered to be one of the most perfectly finished Catholic churches in England, rich in sculptures, paintings and stained glass.
After that, we had been able to check out the York Minster. The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, commonly known as York Minster, is the cathedral of York, England, and is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. The minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the third-highest office of the Church of England (after the monarch as Supreme Governor and the Archbishop of Canterbury), and is the mother church for the Diocese of York and the Province of York. It is run by a dean and chapter, under the Dean of York. The title “minster” is attributed to churches established in the Anglo-Saxon period as missionary teaching churches, and serves now as an honorific title. Services in the minster are sometimes regarded as on the High Church or Anglo-Catholic end of the Anglican continuum.
The minster was completed in 1472 after several centuries of building. It is devoted to Saint Peter, and has a very wide Decorated Gothic nave and chapter house, a Perpendicular Gothic quire and east end and Early English North and South transepts. The nave contains the West Window, constructed in 1338, and over the Lady Chapel in the east end is the Great East Window (finished in 1408), the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world. In the north transept is the Five Sisters Window, each lancet being over 53 feet (16.3 m) high. The south transept contains a rose window, while the West Window contains a heart-shaped design colloquially known as The Heart of Yorkshire. [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/York_Minster]
If you are planning to visit the Minster, here are the fees worth knowing:
Adult/Senior – £11.50
Students (not studying in York) – £9
Child (16 and under)* – free with a paying adult
York resident/York student – free with proof of address
*Up to four children with one paying adult.
Another landmark worth visiting in York is the Clifford’s Tower. Clifford’s Tower is one of the best-loved landmarks in York. It is the largest remaining part of York Castle, once the centre of government for the north of England. The 11th-century timber tower on top of the earth mound was burned down in 1190, after York’s Jewish community, some 150 strong, was besieged here by a mob and committed mass suicide. The present 13th-century stone tower was probably used as a treasury and later as a prison.
As the day went on, we were able to take a good look at the Tower Gardens just below the bridge. Original part of the “The Long Walk” extending downstream to the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss at the Blue Bridge. A gateway was broken through the city wall and a handsome iron palisade gate was set in a stone arch (now removed) with the inscription stating that it was erected during the Mayoralty of Jonas Thompson (1731 to 1732). This gate was located where South Esplanade now enters the gardens. As the first public gardens in the city, the current arrangement was laid out in 1880-81, during the construction of Skeldergate Bridge, and the walked passed under the bridge, through the short tunnel to St. George’s field.
As the day progressed, I found myself lost in the world of wizards and witches at The Shambles. Also, any Harry Potter fan will love it, as it is where the best selling series draw inspiration from. The alleys and the shops were just as it was on the movie. It seemed that I had stepped back into time and had been walking on the streets where Harry Potter was wandering too! Certainly, it was a magical experience for me. I was spell-bound!
Exploring Ye Olde City of York and discovering its own charm is one thing that I have been grateful. One might think that venturing into the past may be a useless thing to do, but for me, it is an avenue to learn more of the culture and lifestyle of the people. Along its cobblestone paths, I found my peace within.