travel

York

Eboracum ->  Eoforwic       -> Jorvic  -> Yorke

Roman     -> Anglo-Saxon  -> Viking  -> Norman

Where do I even begin to talk about York? Should I start two thousand years ago, Roman remnants of which are strewn around the city and housed lovingly in museums? Or should I start in the golden Victorian era which saw the city grow industrially? Or should I start in the nineteenth century which had the good sense to preserve all this history so beautifully?

I loved York. Not in the heady teenage way filled with adrenaline like London, but in the quiet thirty-year old staid way where I can see its pitfalls and yet look beyond that to see the richness that it has to offer.

York Minster – the towering Gothic behemoth that anchors the city – fed my cathedral adoration. I have come to realize that I can spend hours wandering around in a place like this, especially when it is towards the evening during shoulder season and I can get entire minutes to myself under a colossal, almost scary dome. It’s surreal and exhilarating at the same time. I want to close my eyes for a glory hallelujah but I’m terrified of the immense space and silence. Yet, I linger. It feeds my soul in ways I cannot explain.

Around this imposing structure, the 1400s tango merrily with today’s bright stores and quaint tearooms. The roads are a joy to ramble in, they twist and turn with eerie shortcuts and surprise vegan cafes. Delightfully preserved, they offer a perfect snapshot of life long ago by weaving it into my twenty-first century day so sneakily that it hit me only after I left.

The icing on the cake was a rainy, freezing 2 mile circular walk along York’s city walls – 2000 years of history in 2 hours in 2 miles, as they like to call it. It blew my mind that the city walls have been preserved so well after the construction and expansion demands of the 1900s. It has Roman remains and everything that was built on top of it, and trims it prettily with green lawns and daffodils where there used to once be deep moats and drawbridges.

I now extract myself from this place that’s drenched in history to immerse myself in sinful love. More from the other side.

York Minster as seen from the City Walls
York Minster as seen from the City Walls, with clergy residences in the foreground. The altar end is obstructed – major conservation project underway.

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