When I mentioned to my housemate that that I was going to visit Edinburgh he suggested that I stop by York on the way. I have heard about York but I never thought of it as a destination that should be high on my list. Boy was I wrong. I’m so glad that I made the time to stop here because it was even better than I hoped for.
I was a little worried as the train pulled in to the station. It’s not a very inspiring site although the station itself is quite impressive. It wasn’t until I stepped out of the station and saw on the other side of the street the ancient city wall stretching out before me that I smiled from ear to ear. Then as I walked around the hill and saw Yorkminster and the city before me I knew that York was going to be awesome.
The wall I encountered when I stepped out of the station was the ancient city wall that used to extend around the medieval city. The best part of is that you can walk on the wall and follow it’s path for the better part of two miles and at the same time be treated to some of the best views of the city. It’s interesting to see how the modern has encroached on the old. There are places where houses and childrens playgrounds back right on to the wall. How awesome would it be to grow up looking out of your bedroom everyday at a castle wall. Be careful as you walk though, the old stones are slippery and the wet.
Eventually you reach a break in the wall and come across the Castle area. It’s a pretty awesome approach. As you cross the river and look towards the city center you see Clifford Tower. For a meagre 4 pounds you can check out this old tower which served as barracks and jail in the past and now attracts tourists. Climb to the top if you can, the steps are narrow and slippery but you will get some of the best views of the city and you can walk all the way round.
By the time I had reached the center of town at 4pm it was already getting dark and not wanting to miss out on seeing Yorkminster with enough light to take a few photo’s I hurried around to see as much of it as I could. It’s a bit awesome and a bit creepy at the same time to be standing in front of dead Princes and Lords that were long gone even before Australia was even discovered by Europeans. If you are going to see it yourself then I suggest getting there much earlier because they begin to close sections starting at 5pm and it is such an amazing building with so much detail you will need time to see it all.
Lastly on the list of things I wanted to do was a Ghost tour. I have never been on one of these before and rather than just sitting in my room after dark I figured it would be a cool way to discover some of the more unusual history of the city and get a guided night tour at the same time. It started at Yorkminster and our guide was a pompous Jack the Ripper look-a-like, he was awesome. I had already enjoyed places like the Cathedral but learning about the Phantom dog bricked up in it’s walls or the ancient graveyard that is now a Marks and Spencers adds spice and entertainment. Stories about plague houses and ghostly children really brought the city to life. I thoroughly recommend taking one of the many tours on offer. It was very entertaining and a perfect excuse to finish my time here with a pint and Yorkshire pudding at the Guy Fawkes Inn.
Next stop is Edinburgh. More castles and a few more pints should make it a lot of fun!