At first glimpse, and second and third in fact, I didn’t like York. This was a shock to me as, having visited it twice before and loved it, I was looking forward to rediscovering its history and charm. You know the whole “people make the place” cliche: never a truer word spoken.
Our time here started at the National Railway Museum. Admittedly, this was not top of my Must-Do List, but when you have someone as enthusiastic as The Farmer on your team you can’t help but look forward to it.
The five-year-old Farmer’s excitement (“Oh me Dod, it’s Da Mallard”) had not diminished 17 years later (although his diction is now clearer): He simply loves this train! But even his unadulterated joy at being in train enthusiasts heaven could not overcome the general grumpiness of the crowd. Nowhere else on our travels had we encountered this.
Thinking perhaps it was just train-folk in general, we left The Farmer and the Princess to it and headed off to the Jorvik Centre. This glimpse at Viking life in the place it actually happened is awesome and the attendants are incredibly enthusiastic and passionate but, when we visited, our fellow visitors were ill-tempered and rude; The lines were too long, the displays boring…and then it started raining. The mood was same in The Shambles and then around The Minster we started running into stag/hen/birthday/booze trips in various stages of stagger-and-teeterage and ours plummeted as well.
“York, what has become of you,” we wailed (well, perhaps that’s overstating it a little but you get the idea).
Then, this morning we plotted our course: walk the walls, explore The Minster, and then hole up again in our hotel room. On receiving a faceful of vape fumes (what is it: steam? Smoke?? Either way, I don’ t like it!) as I exited the hotel, I was ready to about-face but the family sweet-talked me round and I am so glad they did.
York, when you strip away all those peevish, petulant, or just plain horrid day trippers, is just as I remember. As we wandered the walls from The Barbican (where we were staying) to The Minster, most people answered our cheery greetings and smiled. How could they not, in such wonderful surroundings?!
A service had just started, so we retired to Bennetts Cafe for morning tea, a wonderful place for both tea and cakes and people watching,
then ambled through the market and Shambles again.
The it was time to visit The Minster.
To me, this place is quite simply magnificent. I do not have the words to come close to explaining what it feels like to be there, among all that history, beauty, splendor and opulence so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Then we splashed out on a roast and beverage in York’s oldest licensed inn and, bellies full and step a little unsteady, we closed the circle of our wall walk.
I’m so pleased we persevered and discovered that the real York is still as wonderful as I remembered it.