The Sacking Of York: 10/22-23/07
Just as William Wallace once knocked the gates of York down and sacked the city I too now enter this fine city, all be it with much less fan fair.
The train ride up from London went relatively smooth. This is the first time I am riding in 2nd class or as the British call it; Standard Class. I would have gone 1st class this trip but many of the more northern routes only have standard class so I did not want to waste the money. I jumped on the train at London’s King Cross station only to see all these little papers above the seats; “BUGGER!!” I guess the British really like to reserve their seats; oh and the BEST part is they also don’t like to show up and use them. After chatting up a few people I learned this and just took a seat. The overhead racks for luggage are much smaller than the ones I have encountered in mainland Europe. Fortunately my bag is not so full this year. I heaved my pack up on to the overhead rack. I heard one younger kid sitting across from me say, “My goodness that pack would surely break a neck if it fell on someone.” Without missing a beat I pivoted 180 and placed the pack right above him and gave him a wink of the eye. The rest of the ride I was just waiting for someone to board the train and demand their seat from me. I did end up talking to a nice business man who ended up pirating the seat next to me. He explained the whole thing about how people reserve seats but sometimes never show for them. Well for future travels over here I will be reserving my seat.
The hostel I am staying at is a very short walk from the train station and the center city. It is called the York Backpackers http://www.yorkbackpackers.co.uk/ on hostels.com they said it is a nice place but has very squeaky beds. I threw caution to the wind and thought to myself, “If I can stay in a hostel in Sarajevo that has a lot of ‘character’ I can handle a little squeaky bed!” WOW they were not a kidding about squeaky beds. I have never heard such noise before in all my life! I can only imagine that the beds in a Tijuana house of ill repute can only be slightly worse. I would just think about moving and the bed would squeal. If you ever wanted to see how it feels to sleep on a squeaky chain link fence stay here. Nice part about traveling and sightseeing the way I do is by the time you go to sleep it is lights out. I set out to explore the city and find the closest grocery store. After getting some food in me it was time to see some sights. York’s dominant feature is The Minster. It is the largest gothic cathedral north of the Alps. It costs money to tour it, so being the wise tourist I am I waited until their Evensong Service to see the entire Minster. In the meantime I headed out to walk some of the city walls. After a bunch of walking around it was time to settle in to hear some choir singing and then tour the Minster for FREE. Well I guess it is not entirely free, one must endure some church service mixed in with some beautiful choir singing. My mom would be proud of me sitting through such a thing. The choir and organ sounded amazing inside the Minster. After the service I had free reign of the Minster. I took in all its grandness relishing in the fact I saved myself almost 6 pounds, for us Yanks that is about $12! The only thing I missed out on is going up the tower, but the tower is under construction so there is scaffolding all over it. I got out of the Minster with enough time to go grab a quick bite to eat then go on a Ghost Hunting tour. The tour was run by a very entertaining guide that was dressed much like Jack the Ripper must have been dressed. I could not believe how much this guy must make a night. He makes about 5 pounds a head, and there most have been close to 200 people on this tour, if not more. Imagine making this 7 nights a week for about three hours of work! After walking around the cold and dark streets of York it was time to head back to my squeaky bed. I woke up to a room that was hovering around 50 degrees!!!! Brrrrrrr!! “Bloody Hell!” was the first words out of my mouth Tuesday morning. I quickly grabbed my gear and went down for the continental breakfast. It was the usual cold cereal, toast and yogurt; just enough to get me to lunch. I convinced the guy at the front desk that we needed a heater that worked in our room, the ones in there felt like they have not been fired up since BraveHeart himself walked these very streets. My mission for the day was to find some wifi to send of some e-mails and to see the rest of York. I took a free walking tour of York and got to learn a bit more about the walls and York. It was well worth the two hour investment. The guide was very friendly and she tells everyone up front she can not take any gratuities. After the tour, armed with my handy wifi finder I was able to track down a place that had wifi and was charged only a pound for unlimited use. Cities need more places like this! I then took some sights and walked more of the city wall. By this time the sun was just starting to set. It is very beautiful to stand on the west facing walls and watch the sun set in the distance. That night I went out for some nights shots of the Minster. I jumped in on another ghost tour for a bit but got cold and just wanted to go back to the room and watch a movie on my laptop. I was quite pleased to have discovered a space heater in the room that afternoon and since then have had it cranking away. Walking into a room that was around 70 was quite enjoyable. I started watching the Showtime series Dexter; quite entertaining! If you have not watched it, give it a go.
Tomorrow I am off to Edinburgh; I will be there for three nights.
Goodnight From York…