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Amanda Goes to England, Vol. 3: 16 May 2014

Journey to York, also known as “a two croissant day.”

When I was planning my trip to England this time, I decided that I really needed to explore another part of the country other than just London. One of my issues in 2012 was that I was not thriving very well in the environment of London. I fully credit Kayla’s calming presence and willingness to let me stay out in Merstham with her at the weekends for saving my sanity during my 2012 trip to England. I was getting along with London much better this go round and almost didn’t go to York so I could spend more time in the capital! I’d even received a couple of invites to hang out with friends in London that weekend if I’d not had travel plans. But I’d bought my train ticket to York before I left America and would have wasted that money if I’d stayed in London for the weekend.

Lattice roof at Kings Cross rail station, where I caught my train to York

London is in the Southern region of England, so I wanted to visit somewhere up North when I had my weekend away from London. I did some research, asked around, and York seemed to be a great choice for me.

I ended up chatting with a woman who joined the train journey somewhere down the line from London. She saw the ticket on my seat that said “London King’s Cross” on it and thought she had hopped on a train in the wrong direction! I told her that it just said that to mark that I’d reserved the seat and was leaving from King’s Cross in London. She has a daughter in America (Virginia.) She was visiting America when 9/11 happened, so we talked about that. She was really nice. I keep trying to NOT be the person who chats with strangers on trains, but it just always seems to happen!

Oh, at a station a stop or two from York, a lot of well-dressed people and women in big hats and fascinators. Turns out there was a horse race in York that day! There was a mass exodus of well-dressed people going from the train station to the race track.

Hi! I’m in York!

York railway station

After leaving my luggage at the hostel, I just roamed the road where my hostel was located, Micklegate. One of the things on my list of things to do in York happened to be across the road from the hostel. Priory Church of the Holy Trinity. I heard a soprano singing, echoing through the building as I went in. Very atmospheric! It turned out to be a teenager practicing a solo. So I just snapped a few photos and slipped out the same way I’d slipped in.

Garden outside the priory

City of York historic emblem

As I was walking, I saw that there was a museum and cafe at a place called Bar Convent, so I stepped through the door. I was taking pictures in the brightly-coloured dining area, when this little old lady told me I was quite welcome to photograph whatever I liked and encouraged me to go to the garden and chapel. She actually took me on a walk through the garden herself, as she told me a bit about the convent.

What I was photographing when I was approached by one of the convent museum’s volunteers

The woman who approached me was volunteer and was on her way home when she’d stopped me. She, naturally, knew a lot of the history of the convent and had to stop herself from giving me the proper tour because she didn’t want to step on the toes of the other volunteer on duty. She thought he would welcome the chance to show someone around. So, she took me to him and said I’d like to know all the history of the place (winking at me when she said this.) I was told there was a £2 entry fee to the museum, and I only had £1 cash on me. I said so, and Tony (the volunteer) said “She’s from America and just arrived in York two hours ago!” The girl said “I think £1 will be okay this time!”

I was led in a room and told to sit, so Tony could tell me the history of Catholicism being illegal in this country and how that played a part in the building of the chapel there. There are objects on display to go along with this history lesson. The museum is small and run-down, but Tony said it is about to get a £500,000 renovation. He finally took me to the chapel just as his shift was over. He left me to explore.

The “big reveal” was this gorgeous, gilded domed ceiling in the chapel

The chapel was built when Catholicism was illegal. You actually can’t see the domed roof from the street; it’s hidden by a slate roof. Domed roof = Catholic = illegal

I took a couple of photos before the next shift’s tour guide came up behind me, speaking in whispered tones, saying “we usually don’t take photos in the chapel.” That’s why I only have these photos to show you. She’s kept telling me to take some moments of silent reflection. I thought I was being silent and reflective enough, especially for a non-Catholic…



Making my way out of the Convent

I think these lovelies were in the garden outside Bar Convent

I found ya’ll a barber shop in York, if ya’ll like your barber shops old school

Art deco door knocker? Yes please!

Mickelgate Bar, one of the gates to the York city walls

Beauty salon – I just wanted a photo because I loved the colour of their sign

As I’ve already told you, tiles are my everything

Painting of King Richard III

Some photos inside the hostel where I stayed. Which they describe as “a grand Georgian 1752 property”

Can’t resist a pretty shop window

Looks like some oil of some sort go into the River Ouse

Everyone likes a photo of a girl on a bike, right?

I was interested in seeing The Shambles. It’s supposed to be the “most medieval street in England.”

I am taking a serious turn with my next bit of information: I don’t even care that the one photo I took of it is is really underexposed, because I left almost immediately when I saw this in a shop window (and photographed it with  my camera phone, to share my disgust with the world):

Nope. Nope nope nope-ity nope. I didn’t know these dolls existed outside the US, and I haven’t even seen one here in the Southern US since I was a small child. I looked it up, and they are called “golliwogs.” I don’t even care if there is some other association with these dolls in the UK (which I can’t conceivably think of anything that wouldn’t be just as racist as they would be in American.) They’re WELL SHAMEFUL.

End rant.

And I continued to walk around York taking pictures after I fled The Shambles.

Macdonalds, York’s Finest Furniture, formerly the Electrial Theatre, then Scala Cinema

Merchant Adventurers Hall

“Do feel free to browse”

Peeling paint on the building in the photo above this one

I spent the remainder of that first day in York at the hostel, people watching in the common room. Exciting, no?

Photos taken with Konica Big Mini 201 and Nikon EM

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