Last year, before we settled down, we regularly went on adventures both in this country and abroad. We went to Derbyshire in March, Greece in April, road tripped around County Durham, Cumbria and the Lakes in June. For my husbands birthday in July I booked a surprise trip to Amsterdam, then in September we took a week at the nearby Centre Parcs to recoup from the news of my cancer's return before then rushing forward our wedding and took a preemptive two week five star trip to Mexico; a trip we had talked of endlessly. Finally to top it all off we had our official honeymoon in Paris.
2012 has been a lot slower, it has had to be. Not only do we have a home together but starting my active treatment has taken its toll on our free time each month and made a huge dent in my energy levels. We managed a week in a Welsh cottage in February which was lovely but since then it has been difficult to get away. Of course true to form we have packed every available moment but it was only last week we turned talk into a trip to York.
|Note the obligatory Costa Coffee!!|
We often comment to each other that it seems to be the general consensus that in order to be awestruck or gain that sense of adventure you need to go abroad. However that is simply not true, England has glories enough to keep you occupied for a life time. The city of York numbers among these glories; specifically as a distinct pocket of our country's unique rich heritage. Every street is steeped in history, each building it's tales of ghosts or notorious figures and an atmosphere alive in celebration of the past mingled with the present.
We stayed in a quaint coach house just outside the city walls and five minutes easy stroll from the city centre. On the first evening we fought through a downpour of Yorkshire rain to have a fabulous dinner in The Blue Bicycle, a restaurant that was once a notorious brothel where you can still dine in the velvet booths where clients were once entertained! On our first full day we visited what is often proclaimed to be the city's defining monument; the Minster.
A beautiful cathedral indeed but in my humble opinion, and perhaps I am biased, it does not compare with the lesser raved about Durham Cathedral or the mystical atmosphere of Paris' Notre Dame. However it did provide a breathtaking panoramic view of the city from the Central Tower, part of that breath being taken by the 275 narrow winding steps to the top! I have read much on the history of York especially having written a essay on the city's development for my degree. I consider myself lax not to have visited before but thoroughly enjoyed being able to pick out the landmarks I have studied.
After this satisfying climb, that earned me a badge proclaiming "I made it to the top, I was in desperate need of refueling and where better than York's famous Betty's. The tea shop opened almost a hundred years ago in 1919 and serves the most delicious cakes. Here we settled with tea and coffee and a big fat rascal fruit scone each; warm from the oven and mouthwateringly good with a dab of butter!
Whilst refueling we discussed which of the delights of the city we would indulge in next and the topic came around to an extremely old and supposedly haunted house on Stonegate. The house in question was featured on TV's "Most Haunted" and reputedly the crew left screaming. To be sure this is not our usual affair, in fact we rarely even watch horror films! However it has been said that to do something that scares you reminds you you are alive, that and a little teasing each other about being chicken brought about the challenge to tour the infamous house.
Our experience left us somewhat disappointed, I think we both rather wanted to be scared but we weren't. The house was old, rickety and dark but nothing clearly supernatural appeared to be involved no matter how many stories the guide told. Now perhaps we are lacking the sensitivity of anything otherworldly or maybe we recognise suggestion when we hear it. The human mind is easily manipulated, you only have to consider the psychology behind advertising. Next time you watch tv, look behind the product; at the actors, the background environment and ask what are they suggesting life will be like with their product? Quite entertaining!
I digress however, York was fantastic, and as it is featured in the book "Make the Most of Your Time on Earth" and I am using that as somewhat of a target, I feel pleased to have ticked it off. Although there is a lot, lot more to do yet! The trip also held bonus' of catching up with my sister in Leeds for an indulgent Krispy Kreme (or two) and a flying visit to Durham to see some friends. All in all a lot of fun was had!!