Monday, March 16, 2015

A Weekend in York!

A 2 hour train trip and 200 miles north of London is York.  Our journey started at Kings Cross station in Central London.  This is the same station where Harry Potter took the train to Hogwarts School although from different platforms!

We arrived at the York train station and started walking to our hotel.  One of the first things to greet us was:
I'm not sure that seeing the Cholera Burial Ground is the proper welcome to tourists!!  Makes you think twice about drinking the tap water!!!

York has been around since AD 71 when it was the northernmost city in the Roman Empire. It has gone through several name changes starting with Eboracum - a northern provincial capital.  Romans built a huge stronghold around the city to protect it from the northern barbarians (aka the Scots!) It sits at the junction of 2 rivers which made it attractive for trading.  Constantine was proclaimed Roman emperor here in AD 306.

When the Roman empire started to decline in the 5th century the emperor sent a letter telling England that it was on its own.  York then became a Saxon (the Germans came over) capital called Eoforwic.  A Christian church was built here during that time in 627- the beginnings of the minster that stands there today.

The Vikings took over the town in the 9th century for 200+ years as a Danish trading center - it was called Jorvik.

Later the Normans (the French) invaded and destroyed the town.  They rebuilt the city with the walls that stand today.  A medieval  city of 9000 inhabitants,  York grew rich on wool trade.  Henry VIII used the York Minster as his anglican church's northern capital.

Enough of ancient history and on with our trip.  One can make use of the local HOHO (hop on, hop off) bus or...

Or take the recommended walking tour - we chose the latter!
The city walls from Norman times (think 11th century) are still there.  We are able to walk around most of the perimeter of the city on top of the walls.  It's a wonderful view to see the city from perched up high.

Monks Gate - this is one of the 4 original city gates - there are more openings but in Norman times there were just 4.

Good thing MacKenzie wasn't with us!!!

There are still remnants of the massive Roman fortress built in AD 71.  The Romans had a very distinct building design - they would always fortify the wall with rows of red bricks - which still remain.  The Normans added the larger stone blocks to the top of the wall.

A monks monastery stood here for years until the dissolution of the church in the 16th century under Henry VIII.  The ruins are evocative of a time past.  You can almost here the shuffling of the feet and the low chanting as the monks went in to services.  There are still foundations from where the walls once stood.

Clifford's Tower sits high on a hill overlooking the river. William the Conqueror built this to be a stronghold shortly after the Norman invasion of 1066.  The original castle burned down and this one dates back to the 14th century.  

The over hanging timber framed buildings in The Shambles date back to the 14th century.  The name derives from the German meaning Great Flesh Shambles - where the butcher shops would be. Although most of the butchers have gone, the name remains.  Some think that the overhanging timber framed buildings were to shield the walkers below from the raw sewage dumped from the upstairs windows.  Let's not go there!

The outdoor market is alive and well..

Or perhaps you would like fancy tea and cake at Betty's…

Or a hot coffee at a more familiar location!

Or maybe put together your own creation!

We had a wonderful dinner here, complete with…

These are the rooms where posh gentlemen would take their mistresses to for a private, intimate dinner.

After a visit to the National Railway Museum…

It was time to catch our train at the York train station.

And all too soon…
We were back at King's Cross in London relishing our memories of a wonderful weekend in York!!

PS - We did visit the York Minster..
Leaving that for another blog post!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

An English village called Shere

We took a hike a few weekends ago which included the village of Shere.  Shere is about an hour's drive from us and feels like a world away.  Shere bills itself as 'the prettiest village in Surrey' and I can see why!  This village exudes charm.  Come see…

Every village and town - big and small - has a war memorial.  The war memorials were originally to mark WWI but most now observe WWI and WWII.  These war memorials are solemn reminders of painful price Britain paid in the wars - particularly WWI.

First up was the Church of St. James which has been a place of worship since 1190.  No typo here - 1190.  The spire was added around 1300.

This is a small, simple church with an active congregation.  I love the hand made kneeling pads like this one…

Leaving the church we started on our hike which takes us by the creek.

We pass period homes…

As well as the old town jail

We pass some beautiful allotment gardens which look ready to harvest.

We follow the signs for the Public Footpath

Soon we come to another church

The church of St Peter and St Paul of Albury is no longer in use but is open to the public.  It is thought to be built prior to 1066 with additional extensions added around the 14th century.

Continuing on our way…

We pass through the gate and into fields

With SHEEP!!!

We decided that the leash was best!  

We passed cute pubs...

With unusual facilities!

MacKenzie finds a spot to cool off

MacKenzie likes to be out in front!

And soon we were back in Shere…

And this - our last stop - The White Horse Inn for Sunday Roast!

This pretty pub dates back to 1450 - you can't make this stuff up!!  In the mid 1800's it was a known hangout of gangs of sheep thieves.  They have a great Sunday roast!

Other tidbits about Shere - Both The Holiday and Bridget Jones - the Edge of Reason were both filmed here.  

The Village of Shere is simply lovely.  You really must see it for yourself!