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.
A Sabian Name Dilemma
I’ve obliquely referenced this issue before, but Saba has its devout folks who’ve labeled the signs for the community settled all around the descent to the airport as “Zion’s Hill”, while just about any Saba tourist map and trail signs ref to “Hell’s Gate”, the more colloquial and common name every local I’ve met calls it. And hey, let’s face it, a little more naughty and fun for the rough and tumble among us. In fact, one local who lives in Hell’s Gate took a moment to process when I said, “You live on Zion’s Hill, eh?”, to which he then replied, “I keep forgetting that’s the official name o’ this place.” You’ve seen this stone church as a watercolor in earlier blogposts…here it is looming over the top of Hell’s Gate…errr Zion’s Hill…like a pious nun warning me not to get hit by a car on one of the many blind switchback corners when I go to visit my landlady Tricia. Tres magnifique!
I’ve got a burn on my heel from hiking in thin socks, farmer’s elbow and finger blisters from hoeing a little herb garden that dates back hundreds of years, and I couldn’t be happier. Go figure. Til tomorrow…Bon soir, friends.