Monday, 2 June 2014

A day in York

I went to York on Saturday. My aunt and cousin were in York for a couple of days for my cousin's school trip and as I happened to have a day off I decided to take the train up and meet up with them. 

York is such a gorgeous city. I had not been since the last time I lived in the UK so it's at least 5 years since the last time I was there. I love all the little independent shops and all the pedestrian streets. To me, York symbolises one of the many things I love about the UK, one of the things that made me want to move here in the first place: There is just so much history and old buildings! I think I could probably spend a month in York and still not see everything there is to see, or learn all the history there is there.

I met up with my aunt and cousin outside the Railway Museum. I've never been before so it was really nice to see something new, or as it turned out, something old. The old trains they have there are absolutely amazing! I love old things, especially when they are well preserved. It was really interesting to see how the trains have changed over time, and it was also really fun seeing the royal carriages.  I actually wouldn't mind going back to the museum as well as we didn't get around to seeing it all. 

After the museum we took the little train that runs from the museum to the minster. It's not a long walk, but it is always nice to be able to sit down for a little bit when you got a day planned that involves a lot of walking. When we arrived at the minster we walked through town to find a place to have lunch. When she had heard we were meeting up, my grandmother had given my aunt some money to pay for lunch, which was really nice!

After lunch I wandered over to York Dungeons with the school trip, and while they got in line to go inside, I decided to explore a bit of York on my own. It had been nice to see my aunt and cousin again, even if it was just for a few hours, but they were there because of the school trip, not to see me, and I didn't want to disrupt their visit too much.

I wandered around in York for a bit before I decided maybe I should head back home, it was still early but my aunt had given me a bag with salt liquorice, which was really nice of her!! However, I get tired and cranky when I have to carry bags (one of the reasons I don't like shopping) and so all I wanted to do was to sit down and not have to carry anything. 

As I headed in the general direction of the train station I came across a sign that said there were free guided walks of York at 10.15 and 14.15, I looked at the time, 14.13, perfect timing! I wasn't in a rush or anything so I figured I might as well go on the walk, which is arranged by the Association of voluntary guides to the city of York. Even though I had to carry the bag of liquorice I didn't want to pass up an opportunity to see more of York.

There were maybe around 15 of us on the tour, a couple of germans, a few Americans, a few Brits and me. The guide we had was very knowledgable, it was really interesting to learn about the history of York. As soon as she mentioned the Vikings I made sure to tell her I am here to take over again. It was also really nice to see parts of York I might not have seen had I just walked around on my own, and if I had seen those places when I walked around on my own I would probably just have though, "that's pretty, I'll take a picture", but I wouldn't have known anything about it, whereas now I do. So if you are in York, a guided tour can be quite useful, just make sure to check the times on the website as they do change them depending on the season.

A guided tour can also be a nice way to meet new people. One of the guys on the tour started talking to me and when the tour finished he gave me his ticket to the minster! He had already been in that day, and as he was going up to Edinburgh in a couple of days before heading back to the states, he asked if I wanted his ticket! I just can not believe the kindness of some people! It did make sense in a way I guess, but still, it was just really nice.

I have never been inside York minster, but I've been wanting to ever since I first saw it. I might not be religious but I do think old churches and cathedrals can be really pretty. A free ticket meant I could actually go inside it this time! It is absolutely gorgeous inside, like most old religious buildings, they just put so much more effort and detail into them before than what they do nowadays. When I looked at their website today I actually found out they do free guided tours every hour. So, as my ticket is valid for a full year(!), I can go back and do the guided tour. It would be interesting to learn more about the minster, the voluntary guide on the city tour did tell us a little about it, but it would be interesting to learn about the inside of it as well. If I do go up again within a year I might also go up to the central tower, I bet there is a really nice view from up there.

Once I finished inside the minster I headed back towards the train station. It was a really good day. Quite a cheap day as well in a way, all I ended up paying for was the train ticket! I am going to try and get back up to York again in the not too distant future, it really is a lovely city. Maybe next time I will even go to Jorvik, and walk along more of the city wall than what I did on Saturday.

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