England's Countryside & Wales

Day 05 - Monday, May 18, 2015 - Walking Tour of York; York Minster; The Shambles; York Castle; Museum Gardens

This morning we woke to rain, but remember this is England and it is supposed to rain! The temperature in York was 46° with the humidity at 100%.

After breakfast at 9:00 we met the group and our York city guide, Martin for our walking tour of York. No buses were allowed in the old city so we took our heavier daypacks back to the room and just wore our raincoats and carried our umbrellas.

We crossed over the River Ouse on the Lendal Bridge and up and over the walls of the old Roman fortress begun in 71 AD. York was an important trading port on the two rivers. Martin explained the highlights of the history and the major locations as we walked.

The beautiful St. Mary’s Abby grounds were the first highlights of the morning tour. This was the site of one of the richest precincts that encompassed all of Yorkshire, which included Nottingham.

The Museum Gardens on the grounds have beautifully laid out beds of flowers and greens plants with stones from the original Abby that was destroyed by Henry the VIiI in 1534.

We saw the Abbot’s house, a huge elegant building. Of course, everyone remembers the stories of the Robin Hood and his arch rival, the Abbot.

In the courtyard were many sarcophagi, dating from Roman times. They were found outside of the city wall because the Romans knew the dangers of burying their dead in the city and contaminating the water supply.

Our next stop was at Exhibition Square where the major tourist attractions, shops, teahouses, and cafés are located. Martin told us more about the York Minster, the largest Cathedral in Northern Europe.

Built upon a Norman church, major construction began in 1225 and it was only after 250 years that the church was completed. Now part of the Church of England or an Anglican Church, it is still an active parish with weekly services.

At 10:30 we thanked Martin for our tour and went into the Cathedral. Following a self-guided tour, we had unlimited time to explore the cathedral. We began on the main floor seeing the giant pipe organ dating from 1832.

The catacombs under the first floor contain the remains of the important past bishops and archbishops as well as several kings. Because the building was built on poor foundations and shifting soils, there were major cracks in the Central Tower.

Restoration was begun in the 1960’s and one is able to go under the church to the Undercroft to see how the repair was completed. Also in this underground area is a museum of many of the Roman artifacts that were found in the excavation. There is a Treasury containing original vestments, chalices, and bibles from the historical past of the Cathedral.

The famous East Window is being refurbished but we were able to see the process of restoring the lead and the stain glass. The restoration was begun in 2008 and will not be completed until at least 2016 at a cost of 6 million British Pounds that equals $9,404,400.

After our morning visit to the Minster we were on our own for the rest of the day. We traveled the narrow back streets and found many of the small shops that make York famous. One of the most famous is The Shambles district.

After having a sandwich, some crisps (potato chips) and a fizzy (soda) we walked to the hotel. Just a few minutes later the sun came out so we went back out to enjoy the city in a new light!

We climbed back up to the City Walls at Lendal Bridge and walked along the walls circling the city. The shopkeepers were glad to have happy tourists and we actually saw many people with shopping bags full of goodies.

The whole economy of Great Britain seems to be doing well. Cars are new, houses are new or in fine repair, and there are many industrial cranes on the skylines; another indicator of economic growth.

We went back to the hotel at 4:15 and began to write the journal in earnest and to sort photographs from the day.

Dinner tonight is on our own again, but Pebbles had invited us to join a small group going out for seafood. At 7:00 we met them in the lobby to walk for dinner.

Accommodations: Park Inn York Hotel - - - Meal: B

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I agree with Eric Bobby.I thought it was a picture of a post card. enjoy!

michel.rainglas@free.fr   May 19, 2015 - 8:08am

Leaving Arkansas for Kansas for birth of another grand daughter. Will check in with you in a day or so.

Pat   May 19, 2015 - 12:42am

Loved the pictures....especially the street sign..which way do you go!

Norma   May 19, 2015 - 12:05am

Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing.

Dee   May 18, 2015 - 10:44pm

The York Minster picture looks like a painting. Very cool.

Eric Bobby   May 18, 2015 - 9:17pm
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Ruins of St. Mary’s Abby

Ruins of St. Mary’s Abby

York City Sign

York City Sign

Roman Ruins Under York Minster

Roman Ruins Under York Minster

The Shambles in the Rain

The Shambles in the Rain

York Minster from City Walls

York Minster from City Walls

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