Sunday, September 04, 2016

discover York


and, phew. as alluded to in my last couple of posts, the next few posts shall be, look you see, just about all about our holiday. the problem with this, from my perspective at the least, is that i have over one thousand images from the last week to sift and sort through. hopefully i select the best of them; if not then perhaps my (considerably) better half will advise me of such and tell me which ones to use.

the rest of these posts will, have no fear, be all a lot better than the tale of debacle that was our train rides to our destinations. although these images are not in a chronological order as such, the best place to start with better stories is, i suspect, our first port of call - York.

the above is indeed, for those somewhat familiar with York, the other 75% of my family who are not me admiring the magnificent statue of Constantine outside of York Minster.

to go on about it once more, of the 200+ images I have of York alone (not bad for an ostensible 24 hour stay), i think here i'll go with images which are, for the most part, the family and not just of York itself. this blog was, after all, started many years ago mostly as a means to share images with family and friends around the world. that so many others have found it and read it is a most splendid and indeed unexpected thing.

yes, that is indeed William and James sat upon some bollards as we walked around shortly after arrival on Monday. you can put virtually any sort of building, structure or natural part of the environment in front of them and they shall attempt to climb it with the intention of sitting on it. as is, i suppose, the way of all children. you can either keep telling them not to, or you can just let them get on with it in the hope that no harm befalls them.

we were in York on a bank holiday Monday, and what is ostensibly the last full week proper of the school summer holiday. as such the place was rather busy, but not with any sense of overbearing crowds. the timing of our travels did mean that we got to see many things on the go that were on the go to take advantage of this timing, if that sentence makes sense.

this chap, who really likes a light lilac shade of purple, was set up within the streets of York to street perform, as it were, in order to raise funds for a charitable cause. i believe the cause in question was Syria related, but i cannot recall exactly, sorry. in any eventuality, it was no quarrel to give the boys some money to donate and have their heads painted purple as a thank you. well, not actually painted, but for quite a while they thought that this was the case.

ah, looking at their different dress, or if you like attire, this next picture was taken on Tuesday, as we wandered around waiting for the train exploits.

that's the rather splendid "model map" of York, located just to the main entrance of York Minster. the boys, as you can see, were most enamoured with this. and why not - the detail is superb, and it's a wonderful thing to touch and look at. i think we ended up at this one four or five times, mostly at the behest of William.

back to Monday, then, and back to another look at the statue of Constantine outside of York Minster.

for the sake of clarity, this is of course a statue of Constantine the Great, and not Constantine the comic book and movie character, the latter which would of course look somewhat more Keanu Reeves in nature.

no, your eyes do not fail you - it is commonly accepted that Constantine was born in AD 274. there are many books, guides and articles written so i know i am saying something that you know, but to walk around York is to walk through some 2000 years of history. quite incredible.

one important part of York's history was temporarily inaccessible, but more on that later, should i remember to do so.  in the mean time, you are probably wondering where we stayed in York, and the answer to your wonder would be Hotel 53.

for what reason did we choose Hotel 53? well, it was a really good price - not the cheapest in York, but far from being the most expensive. also, it is in an excellent location for getting around. and Auntie (no, the other one), had stayed there before and said it was great.

also, Hotel 53 do, or at least did, take the time to give people information and updates about what was going on in York, showing how easy it was to access key events from their hotel.  it seems they have not updated it for a while, which is a shame - the articles on Adam Ant and in particular Jason Donovan doing concerts in the city are two of the finest things which i have read. hopefully they resume these stories once again, as i am sure they help them get found by potential visitors. should they get the same writer, who is clearly very talented, to keep writing the new event stories for them, well then so much the better.

an attempt at a selfie in the room full of mirrors that is the elevator in Hotel 53? sure.

was our stay good? overall yes. the room was somewhat on the hot and stuffy side, but the beds were very comfortable. breakfast was amazing, man - coffee was great, as was the bacon, sausages and all that good stuff that one would find as part of a traditional English breakfast. i would book another stay there without hesitation, and would not fear suggesting the place to anyone else.

someone had, it seems, suggested it to a tour operator that was responsible for ensuring a bus load of somewhat elderly Americans had a place to stay for the evening; the very same evening which we were there. although i suspect they stayed for at least two nights.

any interesting anecdotes about our very welcome guests of the older nature from America? oh goodness yes. apparently being at the front of the tour bus was an honour, which i discovered when i overheard a conversation about just how fast two ladies were to, in their words, "pee" to make sure they could be on early to bag them. we clocked that it would be somewhat wiser to not use the elevator or the dining area at the same time as the American guests, too, and one smartly dressed American gent seemed somewhat upset that the Christmas decorations that he saw on the web were not up.

the various bits of A4 paper sellotaped around the hotel gave every indication that whilst we were to go south and endure the hell of the trains, the American guests were to go north and visit the Yorkshire Dales. so last week there were some Americans wandering across the North Yorkshire Moors. what could possibly go wrong with that, i wonder.

most would assume that tourists from around the world limit their travels to the United Kingdom to London, to Scotland or indeed to Ireland. it's splendid to report that many do explore the rich history we have across the lands. like, for instance, the castles and fortresses of York.

the above is, as you can see from the sign, Clifford Tower. it's one of many elements of castles and fortifications that you can visit - yes, the wall still runs around most of York. James and William quite liked going up and down the steps; i suspect that they might not have enjoyed it so much if they were doing so whilst carrying armaments to ward off would be invaders and intended occupiers.

back to York Minster, then. this next image is one of several splendid ones which my (considerably) better half took with her phone. which is why it looks better than the usual ones i put here. hopefully, and of course if you are interested in it, clicking on the image will make it bigger.

when considering the history and the attraction of York in the present day, it would indeed be more likely for you to assume Vikings. the Jorvik centre is indeed in York, it's just not available to visit this year. rather bad storms, and no doubt council cutbacks in spending, have led to the excavated site of a Viking village being flooded, and so one cannot go down into it.

i believe it's scheduled to re-open in the Spring of 2017, which will be most splendid. the closure was not too much of a disappointment to us, as we had the pleasure of doing the tour of it in 2012. not much, i would wager, would have changed since.

back to what we could see, then, and my (considerably) better half went somewhat wild with the pictures on all of the magnificent masonry work, engravings, sculptures or whatever the correct word is for the images created from stone. like, for instance, this rather remarkable dragon-like looking creature.

perhaps this is me, sadly, being more of a realist than i should, but i am firmly in the camp that says dragons are a centuries old interpretation of dinosaurs. in my theory, and one which is shared by others, dinosaur bones and fossils were discovered long before the 1800s. i would think that in years gone by these great big massive bones were found, and that their dark appearance suggested in the absence of any other explanation being burned. to that end, then, it wouldn't be out of reason for someone to conclude that the bones belonged to huge creatures capable of fighting with fire. 

but, that said, it seems that one could, if they were so inclined to do so, buy an actual dragon skull off of one of several splendid shops to be found in York.

quite. there were many, many splendid things which we saw for sale, and as you will see below, that we did not purchase. this was in part from financial considerations in respect of the rest of our holiday, but mostly due to not being able to transport them with ease. the down side of travelling to a number of different places is that you have to keep your baggage as light as is practical. this means no dragon skulls for us as such, but it is not like we couldn't drive down to York again one day soon.

another look at York Minster through the conduit of the far better camera which the phone of my (considerably) better half has? certainly.

that is, you perhaps hardly need me to indicate, taken from the park beside York Minster. a lovely, wonderful park, more of which can be seen below.

in the mean time, as i mentioned we were there on a bank holiday week, and further a week that was ostensibly the last full one proper of the school holidays. as such, attractions were made available for the people, but mostly the children, to enjoy. at £2 a go, but no matter.

you are no doubt thinking that some video, rather than a picture, would be the best way to see the boys having fun going round on the merry go round, for round is surely the only way one could travel on such an attraction. to that end, then, for those of you who are viewing on a device capable of playing video here, here you go!

the merry go round was far from being the only ride or amusement that took the interest of the boys, but it was the one that cost only £2 a go each. moving north on the budget saw the boys wish to have a go on a quasi-bungee jump sort of thing, which was £5 a go. and worth it.

indeed that is James you can see above, going wild with it all. he managed to get some impressive height on his jumps, and thoroughly loved it. as did William, as you shall soon see.

yes, of course i took some video too.

despite the whole set up seeming to be for children, the proprietor of this most excellent bungee jump trampoline thing assured me that adults could go on it too, and said that it would be "no problem" for me to have a go. i assured him, however, that it would indeed be a problem and no i did not go on it.

William, quite like James, could not get enough of it.

i am not at all sure which is the nicest touch in the above, that William jumped so close to the South African flag or that one can see a really, really smart Greggs in the background.

it's quite a shame that these quasi-bungee jumping trampoline things were not available or otherwise invented in the 80s. as smart as David Lee Roth looks swinging about in the video for Panama, he would have looked even more awesome on one of these. as point of fact, i would go further and say that if this jumping mechanism would have been around in the 80s, David Lee Roth would have done entire gigs strapped into one, only he would have had his bare arse hanging out of the harness, so that the ladies may admire.

more video? sure.

blimey, i have uploaded a lot of pictures here for this post. also i have probably engaged in an awful lot of waffle in my writing, but thank you for reading all the same.

more of York Minster? sure, here's a selfie with my own phone, so the quality will be down. yes, sure, the quality of any picture in which i feature is automatically down, but still.

York Minster is truly an awe inspiring, incredible to see building. i would most certainly hope that this is true for all, whether you value it for its obvious religious purpose or you appreciate it for just how incredible we the people can be when it comes to creating stuff.

a selfie on a bench by the square where the bungee jump thing was? sure, why not.

if i lament one thing of my time in York, it would be walking past this massive laminated poster some 3 or 4 times and not buying it. the reason for no purchase was purely the fact that it would have been difficult to carry it around for the rest of our holiday, and all but impossible to have done so without damaging it.

indeed it is an absolutely massive version of the original advert for Quadrophenia, as probably featured in things like NME and that back in 1973. i suppose at my age i should have no interest, wish or desire to place posters on the wall, but then you see this and say, yeah, i want that one.

who knows, perhaps i will decide that the family are going for a drive to York one weekend and i shall get it. a short stay in York, mind, glancing at the astronomical costs one faces for parking in that fine city.

more of the park by York Minster? certainly. here's the boys stood quite happily near one of the biggest of the enormous, massive trees which provide shade across the grounds.

the boys, as was the case with their parents, really loved taking a walk (or two) through this park. they also very almost respected the signs encouraging all visitors to enjoy the peace and quiet of the place.

elsewhere and the marking or if you like observance of it being summer and it being a holiday continued down by Coppergate. i must choose my words somewhat carefully here, but one of the more interesting and indeed intricate descriptions of York i have heard is it being "Whitby without all that coast business". it is a place which, strictly speaking, is indeed landlocked, but this is no barrier to seaside fun.

yes, that's one of them there boards where you put your head through for smart pictures, as you can see above. whilst one cannot see the sea as such (unless you are pedantic and point to where the river leads you), you could see sand near this picture board, for an area had been demarcated and sand was placed, along with buckets and spades.

no, alas, we did not let the boys play in the sand. they wished to, but all we could see was them with sand stuck all across their bodies and clothes. Hotel 53 would no doubt have been tolerant, but somewhat bemused to find sand in one of their rooms, but for us the main concern was our packing and remaining holiday clothes being totes knacked by its presence.

the above is indeed one of them there selfie things what i took with my own phone, with it indeed being my (considerably) better half and i. this image doesn't show much beyond us two in particular, but as it has for some reason been quite popular on that social media thing, here you go.

more of that splendid park by York Minster, and indeed York Minster itself? sure, why not. here you go, here's one of them "sneaky sly sorta stalky" type of pictures which was taken by my (considerably) better half as the boys and i wandered around. not sure about the boys, but yes, i know many of you will look at this and say it's totes true that the best look at me is the back of me......

just to make sure that the English way of doing things is entirely observed, certainly let me comment on the weather. we had it perfect. whilst it might have made it all somewhat hot in our hotel room, as we walked we enjoyed the most splendid of combinations of lovely sun and cool breeze that you could wish for.

blimey, another four pictures to go? ok, here we are, here's the boys once again showing that any structure, building or feature is one which they see as being suitable for them to pose by and play with. behold, as they stand behind bars that have stood for many, many years. unless they are recent replacements for ones that had otherwise stood for many years.

eating in York? as in food and drink? very splendid. whilst we did not, as mentioned above, feel it prudent to dine at the same place and at the same time as our fellow travellers who had come off of America, we had no problems. a place called Pizza Express, near them smart quasi-bungee jump things, provided us with a most splendid meal.

i had one of them calzone pizza things, which was boss. the boys, as one might expect at a pizza place, had some pizza, whereas my (considerably) better half had one of those antipasti spreads, for it looked lovely and that was all which she was of a mind to eat.

hang on, you say, if we are in York, or were in York, then surely the Yorkshire Rose should be visible in at least one of these pictures? why sure it is.

cor, blimey, nearly done then, just the one last picture to do some text around. and yes, indeed, it is for now another look at York Minster. far from a final look; if you want more i have loads that i can put up here.

and that just about covers the highlights of a quite busy, active close to twenty four hours for us in the rather beautiful city of York. we did a fair bit for such a short stay, and thoroughly enjoyed it all.

should any of the content here been of any practical use to people browsing the internet for details of where to go and what to do in York, then happy days. beyond that, i trust friends, family and those who hardly know me yet still follow my exploits, have taken with them a sense of our time.

loads and loads and loads more of our travels to follow. in the mean time..............

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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