Neat fences around glowing medieval ruins plus a bench to sit and stare at it all and feel the history slither all around you. At some point, guys in robes wandered the grounds where we sat, muttered incantations, and occasionally had to leave the abbey in a hurry if their gout started giving them problems. But where the heck were the bathrooms? Bathrooms hardly ever survive the ravages of time.
Rambling from Minster down the dark York Museum street, we stopped by the Oratory. It was shadowy beyond the metal gates, but the entrance seemed to be the onslaught carvings of some historic dude who was super deft with a chisel. Back at the hotel, brought up the light in the photo and WHAM. Shadows and light and more holiness than you could shake a stick at. Magnificent.
Oh England. Scotland. Your historic old churches are magnificent, and they last forever. Why do your holy folk get to live so large for so long while I make do with a city loft in some neo-modern brick and glass city? The locals told me that in England, what makes a concentrated population/location classified as a city–vs a town or village or what have you– is the presence of a grand church that lords over every other building shorter in stature. Mission accomplished, York.
THIS IS YORK: Across the bridge and over the river to the Cut & Craft, where our vegetarian hosts indulged us in healthy slabs of tasty beef and we had a spirited argument about how big or small “chips” should be before they should be called fries. I keep my happiness local these days.
THIS IS YORK: After we’d finished work, and soused ourselves in pints at the Golden Ball pub–itself a picture of history on account of the patrons that drank there–we ambled down the streetlamp-lit maze of streets on an uncertain path back to The Grand Hotel. A tempting AND promising Dickensian alley showed itself and proved its mettle, to bed by a reasonable school hour. This was a work trip, after all.
The streets of York curve in a variety of angles, lined on either side by high brick buildings of an interminable age. The effect then is that as you walk along the city’s narrow sidewalks and if you ever bother to look up, you feel hemmed into narrow passageways that disappear around corners, and who knows if you’ll make it out alive. Melodramatic viewpoints helped by skies that will piss rain when they please, stoic, polite British stalwarts whose families have lived here for centuries, and me loping along with a laptop cradled under my right arm and the camera dangling off a strap in my left hand.
Enjoy the eccentricity of it all with a pint of Guinness poured at the local pub, and the bliss comes for free.
Before the good citizens of York, United Kingdom tear this post apart for the blog title inference that they are akin to a certain breed of yappy dog, I assure you I was more along a line of thinking that maybe–just maybe–if rowers were angry rather than athletic, too many pints before an evening in the water could result in Viking-style water combat.
My first trip overseas since my pre-pandemic visit to Virgin Gorda in 2019. First stop, the pre-medieval town of York. The trip was ostensibly supposed to be a work thing. I annoyed all the engineers with the camera and its cannon-size lens hanging at my side at all times. I hastened across the bridge to get to the Cut and Craft and join the boss and a few colleagues for pickles and a pint, when I looked left and saw the picture laid out for me. Simply lovely.