Thomas Crapper and Dick Turpin

Trip Start May 15, 2007
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Trip End May 30, 2007


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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Friday, May 18, 2007

York: an old British town. Yes, that is the proper description. Here I wandered about excessively and, in so doing, discovered that many of my pre-conceived English stereotypes were accurate: stately and well postured cats sat on window sills, looking nonchalantly out onto the street, large and well-behaved dogs were ubiquitous, and old guys in knee socks played croquet in a large field on the outskirts of town.

Actually, it was quite nice being there in the middle of the week. The hostel was almost empty, save for some misc. individuals: including a couple of guys just embarking upon a year-long trip. I would have been jealous, but for the massive packs they hauled. They said they were tired of the daily routine and the escape was worth the massive packs. 

York's got its fair share of history: old minster, old Roman ruins, old statues, old streets, and old people.  Though, more striking than the old people were the young people. I have to say, I saw more daylight drunk people in York than in any other city. Some highlights: four middle-aged and tarted up, buxom women, shoes in hand, running across a busy street while laughing shrilly and calling to one another. My adjectives are a bit negative sounding...but actually the sight brought a smile to one's lips. One evening as I sat by the river eating a sandwich I encountered some guys (also tarted up and seemingly intoxicated). Rather, they peered over the wall and winked at me, then frolicked by.  Oh, that sandwich! The guy from whom I bought it became very sarcastic when I requested a napkin: "would you like a fork to go with that also?"

Lonely Planet dedicated something like three full columns to "England's largest medieval cathedral and Yorkshire's most important historic building...the simply awesome minster..."  With such a glowing description I had no choice, really, but to head there first.  The Minster was built some time around 1200 upon Roman and Norman ruins (the latter having been built upon the former before their own disintegration).  I did climb to the tower.  A pasty, puffing woman in front of me continually threatened that I might be forced to give her a push.  oy!   Nonetheless, the views were quite lovely.  One could see all about from the top: old buildings everywhere.  The LP recommended the exploration of many of these sites, but I feared historical burn-out and instead took many photos.  I did take some photos inside the Minster (non-flash, of course).  Though, in retrospect, I haven't any details to share.  Merely, these things captured my interest.  Some Puritan looking figures (interred behind their, assumed, likenesses): Ahh, this entry is already entirely too long. 

Anyway, the random Roman and Norman ruins scattered about the Museum Gardens are, as you can see, quite picturesque:  I entertained myself by taking self-photos
Clifford's Tower, perched stoutly upon a hill, was the site of the imprisonment of Jews during anti-semitic riots in 1190.  Apparently the castle once attached to the tower was destroyed during these riots.  The Castle Museum was, perhaps, the most interesting place to wander.  "There's a bewildering array of evocative everyday objects from the past 400 years..."  LP is not wrong about this.  It is a most intriguiing collection of history.  However, I must say, I was quite dissapointed in the cell of Dick Turpin. The LP really built that cell up to be quite enthralling; alas, 'twas quite ordinary. But, the Castle Museum did have a lovely display on the evolution of the loo: including some original models designed by that genius, Thomas Crapper. Hats off and hail to the chief.

Before leaving I entertained myself on the 13th century city walls.  Unlike the &@%! expensive city walls in Xi'an, these are quite open and quite free.  The wrap around a good portion of the city.  Here I settled upon a very effective means of self-entertainment: the leaping photo.  Leah had introduced me to this particular delight about a week earlier.  First I thought to use the olde meditating pose, but quickly abandoned the idea (already much overused).  The leaping photo proved to be a wonderful diversion throughout the journey and I am much indebted to Leah's brilliance :) 
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