Friday, May 19, 2006

More York

Today is our first and perhaps only full day in York. William and I are pondering whether to leave in the morning for a sea village or perhaps straight on to London, or stay another day here. We didn't get to see the haunted Treasurer's House yet, and we want to do that. But we've pretty much covered everything else that I can convince William might be interesting. I can't seem to convince him that the art museum will be interesting. Gee, anyone surprised at that? I guess i'll settle for waiting for the Louvre. Ha! "Settling" for the Louvre!

We did do three museums today though - was it three? or four? Whatever, it was a lot. I'm tired. William is so tired he's back at the hotel trying to find something interesting on a television that only offers four channels, many of the shows at this time of day focusing heavily on sheep and football (that's soccer to you Americans).

So, let's see.... oh yes, we went on a ghost walk last night. Very proper gentlemen in a black suit, top hat, umbrella, pocket watch. He was a great storyteller and mixed history and horror with grisly politeness and humor.

This morning we ate at the hotel and then took off for a full day. First? Uhm, we wandered about people watching and sight seeing and waiting for the shops to open. Finally made it over to something called The Castle Museum, which is really more a museum of changing life from the Victoria era through to about the 50's. Very fun. They even had complete reproductions of streets with shops and homes inside the museum. The funny thing is that, except for a few modern signs and of course the cars, it doesn't look that much different then it still does today!

We climbed a hill to a very small, bedraggled looking castle. More entertaining then the castle ruins were the Canadian Geese families (cute baby goslings!), ducks, pigeons, and assorted other wildlife all facing off with the students trying to figure out whether each other were potentially sources of food, or something to be watchful around. There was a sign that read "Danger - please keep children restrained". It wasn't really clear whether the children were in danger or were the danger. Probably a little of both, eh?

Our travels to and fro took us back and forth through The Shambles and dozens of other shopping areas. York is for shoppers. The best thing is the shops and buildings are interesting whether they're open or closed. But today they were open and we did a bit of shopping. I bought some wool at a knitting store as I'm almost done with my hat and wanted another project for the trains. Unfortunately I'm not close enough to being done to wear it here, so I also bought myself a nice fleece hat - the wind is ferociously cold today. I also bought a bunch of cute socks. Mementos and practical at the same time. William found a bunch of cool patches for his backpack, The English Jack, and a few of his favorite bands. I found a few other knicknacks for us in the museum gift shops.

Oh, so speaking of museums... we went to the York Museum. It's in a lovely big park full of flowers and interesting trees and the ruins of a abbey. They were having a special exhibit focusing on the Emperor Constantine, which was fascinating. How often does one get to see real papyrus with writing on it that's over 700 years old! The most suprising to me though, was the delicate glass. I guess I knew they had glass, but I didn't really think about them using it. Of course the average person didn't have glass or fine silver or anything like that.

The regular exhibits were also fascinating. York has been many cities, each one built over the top of the other. I don't know the name of the first settlers, but then the Vikings invaded and built a bustling trading center called Yorvik. More English. Then Romans. And finally the English again with the BIG CHURCH and kings and queens and etc. It's fascinating as bits and pieces of ancient walls or roads or buildings are all still showing and still being used and often are rag tag added one to the other to make up new walls or roads or buildings. You can see medieval wood and waddle and a block or building away it's a Roman wall and then a Tudor and then something from the Elizabethan era, and then a double take and you realize that there's even a contemporary brick building thrown in for good measure.

Last but not least was a sort of Disney ride museum, but fun, about the Viking city they excavated under York. It had a reproduction village, which was the ride part, then some of the actual excavation site, and then a small interactive section with folks dressed up in costume and reproduction tools and such you could actually touch, and then a museum of artifacts and then a bunch of stuff on bones and archeology. I even convinced William to dress up as a Viking warrior for a photo. Such a good sport! Oh, and in the other museum, we both dressed up as Romans. Oh, I so wish I could show you photos. Sigh. Just wait until we're back home. I'll have a year (or two!) of entries with a Trip Photo of the Day Section added to the end of each entry.

There was lunch in there somewhere. We ate at The Golden Fleece, the most haunted pub in all of York, maybe all of England. I guess it's featured on television shows a lot. We didn't see any ghosts, but I had a delicious bowl of potato leek soup with wonderful hot crusty bread.

Speaking of food, I'm starving. So, I guess that's all for today. I need enough time to go back and retrieve William at the hotel before we eat and then it's off to yet another ghost tour. William really, really loves the ghost tours. And since he's too young to do the pub scene, it's a nice way to fill our nights. We've been looking to find a play at night, but so far we haven't had much luck. We just missed seeing MacBeth done at the castle in Canaervan! I was really bummed about that. There several theatres around here, but the only production I can find playing while we are here is Oklahoma! - a cowboy play done in English accent? Uhm, maybe not. Maybe we'll catch a play later in London or even go to Stratford-on-Avon even though we've been warned it's sort of touristy.

Like I said, we're sort of struggling with what to do next, where to go next. We've both come down with a cold and feel a bit travel weary. We need a break but we're not sure where to go to take it. Too, we've got extra time to fill in - we really should have taken another day in Wales and another one in Edinburgh as well. But I wanted to keep to a schedule so that we could have a few days left at the end of the trip to fill in with something we didn't see or perhaps didn't think to see when we originally made up our travel itinerary. William says he thinks we should have gone to Ireland for a few days. That would have been nice. He even thinks we should maybe spend more time in France. Gulp. Well, we'll figure it out tonight and let you know. At least we'll figure out where we're off to tomorrow, that is. At this moment, it's still up in the air.

Stomach is grumbling. Oh right! Dinner.


Anonymous LoveAnna said...

I missed you and I'm sooooo close!! Sadly Life just isn't conducive to trips out at the moment, but I'm glad you like York. It's one of my favourite cities in England and I love going to potter round for the day. It's a shame that the weather is so bloody awful at the moment - being a tourist anywhere is always miserable in the rain!!

8:57 AM  

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