Thursday, March 19, 2015

Old York! Old York!

It's a wonderful town!

Seriously, I fell for York with my whole heart.  I want to go back and walk the ancient wall, part of which still stands and you can literally walk the top of it.  I saw a bus for a ghost tour, and we know how I love ghost tours!  I've never done one in a place that's so very old.  I missed it this time, so I must go back! Good plan in my book.

After exiting the train terminal in York, we wandered not-too-far to the National Railway Museum.  If you have even the slightest interest in trains, this place is magical!

In the first part of the museum, you are introduces to the trains of the royals.  The photo to the left is Queen Victoria's steam engine.  It's nothing short of magnificent!  The cars are all furnished as they would have been when the train was in use.  The fixtures and finery are awe-inspiring.  I got that sense that I love of "this is where they were, where they conversed and ate and slept.  Decisions were made here.  Lives were lived here."  I adore historical things.

On the other side of this massive room are other trains that you can view and explore, to learn about all the operations of the trains of the time.  This included how they managed menus and shopping for supplies while en route.  You can see the tea services of first class, and the lack thereof in the other coaches.  And in the middle of it all is the quaintest little restaurant.  They serve tea (of course) and delights of many kinds.  We arrived too late to partake of most of it, but I found the seating delightful as well.  The booths all looked like passenger seating, with racks of luggage overhead.  Someone paid attention to all the details!

The other part of the museum housed several trains and engines, most of historical note.  The room is a massive roundhouse, with the table in the middle.  The favorite was the Mallard, the engine that broke the speed record in 1928.  It's been beautifully preserved.

"Hello there," I said, as she came into view. "Aren't you lovely?"

"I like how you talk to them," BB said.  I had, in fact, greeted most of them.  I think there's a part of me that still isn't entirely sure that inanimate objects are actually inanimate.

All of these engines were beautiful, too.  They seemed to command a certain respect from those viewing them.  This one had a quite intimidating air, in particular.  It was built by the Chinese, but was took big for their rail system.  So, it ended up in the UK.

That's BB standing beside the engine.  He's 5'10", so you can estimate how huge this engine is, towering over him. An imposing sight, for sure!  Can you imagine seeing this coming down the track?

As we wandered into the York evening, we encountered a little native of the area.

A Yorkshire rat.  Cute little bugger, isn't he?  He actually seemed to have a little problem with his leg, so he didn't run from us as we took our photos of him, but we left him in peace to do as rats do.

Remember what I mentioned before, about the mixture of the old with the new?  In York, I saw several examples of just that.  As we strolled along the narrow road of shops, still busy with shoppers, a beautiful old arch appeared in the middle of the block (right). Seeing something like this gives me pause.  I wonder about who has passed through that arch through the ages and what has surrounded it in the time before all the shops. I'll revisit this idea later, as I was trying to explain it to BB as we walked back to the train depot. I definitely need to see this town in the daylight!  I feel I missed so much, having been there so late in the day.
The streets narrowed as we walked and soon, we rounded the corner to the ultimate row of quaint shops.  The Shambles:

Does it remind you of anything?  If you're a Harry Potter fan, it certainly does.  It looks remarkably like Diagon Alley.  This area has been serving shoppers for hundreds of years, and I was intrigued by the wares I saw in the windows.  Oh how I must go back!  The shop doors were closed tight for the evening.

Wandering further down the street, to the more modern shops, I started to see glimpses of something truly wondrous at the end of the row.  It towered over the shops, but I couldn't quite see all of it.  Then, we came to the end of the street, and it opened upon this:

Yorkminster Cathedral.

This is a truly awesome sight.  I can't begin to do justice to how huge it is.  And gothic.  And gorgeous!  The picture above is the back, where I first saw it.

I had to go down the block to be able to get all of the front in one frame, along with the cars and trees in the way :o/

I really need to go back and see this in the daylight.

We happened upon a rather inebriated old man, as we walked away from the cathedral.  He was quite taken with how in love we seemed to be.  "Give him a kiss!" he said.

So, I obliged, quite happily, and to his delight.

As we headed across the bridge that spans the river, I was talking to BB about why I'm so fascinated with the ancient structures.

"Think of all the bits of life and living they've seen," I said.  "The conversations, the emotions...they're all held in these walls."  Then something occurred to me.  I held his hand tight and pulled him close.

"Kiss me," I said.  The British in BB was a little sheepish, but he kissed me.  With all the passersby in the street, I didn't care whose way we were in or who was watching.

"There," I said. "Now these walls hold that memory, too.  Forever."

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