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.
Gothic pretention, ominous clouds finally forming overhead and drizzling lightly, making Scotland’s green pop brightly in the drizzly downpour. I’m cautious about posting YACIS (yet another cathedral in Scotland) because they are many and they are medieval, and frequently started by hermit monks with practices that make no sense, like total silence. What happens if you get an ouchie? Not even a peep? (thanks, Dave)
The cathedral at Dunkeld is not only the first wholly preserved cathedral we’ve seen–they still observe ceremony there–but it’s got the sarcophagus of the nutjob grandchild of Robert the Bruce; a fella they called the Wolf of Badenoch or the Celtic Atilla for his prodigious craziness in burning cathedrals to the ground and 40 illegitimate offspring by numerous different mothers. What a peach! For that he got a forever tomb in 1405 behind the altar at one of the more beautiful Gothic churches we’ve seen to date. Real true stories!