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.