My friends brought to my attention another place they felt I would be interested in visiting and mentioned York.  We’d been talking about Hadrian’s Wall and this brought to mind the city of York due to it’s Roman connection and a wall that’s of itself quite large.  So, off I went to York. The first thing I noticed as I searched for somewhere to park is the place is packed with tourists.  After locating a parking spot and wandering up a slight incline to the main street leading into the city I felt my conclusion was warranted.  The place is crawling with people holding brochures and cameras and I doubt the locals need either so my assumption was probably correct.

I walked over to a guy selling tickets to the Hop-on-Hop-off tours and figured I’d take a tour to get a feel for the place.  It was a cool day and I sat on the upper deck to see everything I could, take some pictures and make some tactical decisions.  The bus went by a variety of sights that proved to be interesting, the tour I chose took me by the following places:

Stop 1 – Exhibition Square
Stop 2 – Gillygate
Stop 3 – Monkgate
Stop 4 – Foss Bank
Stop 5 – Peasholme Green
Stop 6 – Stonebow
Stop 7 – Cliffords Tower
Stop 8 – Margaret Street
Stop 9 – Walmgate
Stop 10 – Fawcett Street
Stop 11 – Fishergate
Stop 12 – Victoria Bar
Stop 13 – Nunnery Lane
Stop 14 – Railway Station
Stop 15 – Station Avenue
Stop 16 – Memorial Gardens
Stop 17 – Museum Gardens

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So, after making the circuit, I began a walk around the city and I should mention there’s so much to see and do, you couldn’t possible do the city any justice in a single day.  I suggest several days at a minimum to to see everything without rushing around.  I headed to the center of the city and walked some side streets winding my way in and around the city.  It’s obviously old but with modern facilities woven into the fabric of the place.  It’s a very nice place with plenty of activities for families and people of all ages.  I made my way through the stores as I walked to perhaps make a purchase or two. Parts of the city seem to be intertwined with an old castle and its associated walls which makes for a fascinating tour.  I walked alongside a part of one wall with a park on the other side and when an opening appeared, an arch actually, I entered.  The small cobblestone street was lined with old and new shops, some people dressed in clothing from a period centuries ago and others in traditional dress.  The walkway was packed with tourists and I made my way past the shops to adjacent areas where artifacts from when the Romans and Vikings controlled the area could be observed.

I finally made it to an access point where I could climb up on the wall that may have encompassed the city at some point and walked it. I think it took me an hour so to walk the length, perhaps longer and I took plenty of photos along the way.  It wound it’s way through part of the city and provided an excellent vantage point to see large parts of the city and surrounding countryside. Imagine,  I walked on a wall that had been in existence for centuries and was part of a defense system, protecting the inhabitants from hostile forces … fascinating.

I found my way down and entered what appeared to be part of a castle and walked around the interior wondering what life would’ve been like for the people. Imagine how much time it must have taken to build a structure of this size out of individual stones and how long the place has lasted.  A testament to the solidity of the structure and craftsmanship of the builders. As part of my own tour I passed by a museum of sorts located in a park adjacent to the castle remnants which was a I believe a blacksmith and shop for craftsman of the time as well as a place where they probably lived.

Of course I made my way to the cathedral as I normally do and it’s huge and majestic. Amazing how these things were built to withstand the test of time but as I’ve learned from others not built to weather an attack from armies with different religious affiliations. Nevertheless, this one is filled with carvings, and wood everywhere as well as the normal tombs and people of prominence displayed in above ground caskets.  It’s very much an active place, and not just by tourists as services are scheduled throughout the day and you could participate or watch them as you chose.  The cathedral even has a gift shop as I’ve discovered most do so you can memorialize your visit.  I didn’t spend a great deal of time here as time was limited and there is soooo much to see in York.

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I made my way to the center of the city and passed a Viking display, shop, museum and stores with everything Viking.  Seems they controlled the area for quite some time and it’s probably due to the proximity of York to Scandinavia as it would be a place for invading armies to land. Must have been interesting times with the Kings vying for power along with the Romans, the Vikings, Celts, Scots or whomever had the largest army at the time. Looks like the Romans left the most lasting legacy as much of what I saw during my tour was of Roman origin as far as I can tell. It was a great tour and I thoroughly enjoyed my time although I was unable to give it the time it deserved.  I loved the history and the way the town is woven into the castle and history itself made the place unique as far as my opinion goes and I may return if the chance arises.



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