“The immensity of Durham Cathedral engulfs the wanderer within a great wilderness of towering stone.”
– Peter Ackroyd, Foundation
When travelling with a loved one, there’s a certain sense of excitement at the chance to share a beloved haunt. This is how I felt about bringing Kristen to Durham Cathedral.
I can still remember the overwhelming sense of awe I felt the first time I visited this beautiful building. I was just me and my Dad, my friend choosing to stay at the hotel for a nap. Spending time alone with my Dad was a treat, one exciting enough to make me want to talk non-stop, but my usual unending stream of senseless conversation was suddenly halted when we turned the corner and I was faced with the soaring stone towers of the cathedral.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s why Dad had suggested the visit in the first place: to earn some peace and quiet for a few moments.
Continue reading “A Wilderness of Towering Stone”
“So much universe, and so little time.”
– Terry Pratchett, The Last Hero
The late, great, Terry Pratchett was so right. And not only is there so much universe, but still so much of our comparatively teeny-tiny earth, and never quite enough time. So why, one might ask, do I constantly decide to visit places I’ve been before when there is still so much to see?
I hope the next few posts will make this at least a little clearer. If not – skip to the as-yet-unwritten posts about Scotland which I discovered, and fell in love with, on this trip.
… Continue reading “When Neptune Gives You Lemons…”
“Time devours everything, but each mortal believes that his own memory can enshrine immortality.”
– Angela Thirkell
There’s always a certain apprehension when returning to somewhere you previously loved. Sure, the first time you visited, it was beautiful and magical and you promised out loud to the chagrin and slight embarrassment of your companions “I’ll be back” in your worst-possible Schwarzenegger voice.
But then the years pass, life goes on, and that city, town, village or dilapidated old ruin gains this sort of unreal aura. It’s forever perfect. It stands in your mind as the most ideal locale on the planet.
And then, miraculously, you have a chance to go back. Your heart starts to pound at the thought, you feel dizzy. You will be going back to a place that truly makes you feel at peace. How brilliant is that?
But what if that fabulous little pub you and your friends found is now a blaring nightclub? What if that darling little hole-in-the-wall book store has gone the way of so many others and finally shut its doors? What if the ruin you so loved has finally lost its centuries-old battle with gravity?
What if it’s not the same?
Continue reading “I Told You I’d Be Back”
“They say it is the first step that costs the effort. I do not find it so. I am sure I could write unlimited ‘first chapters’. I have indeed written many.”
Wow, I’ve been sitting on this one for a while. I agree with Tolkien… Beginnings are easy, endings on the other hand? And so, for the past few weeks, I’ve written us out of York 5 or 6 times. None of them felt appropriate.
I’ve finally settled on something – it’s a little different from the novellas that were the last few posts. But, well, here goes.
5 Reasons Why 1 Day in York was Worth 3 Posts
Continue reading “Fare Thee Well, York”
“Do we live to abolish death? No – we live to fear it and then again to love it, and just for death’s sake it is that our spark of life glows for an hour now and then so brightly.”
-Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf
Or, less elegantly, there’s nothing like a good ghost story to chill your blood and make you appreciate like never before the fact that it is still flowing through your veins.
Guess what. This post is not about walls. You’re welcome.
Continue reading “Unfinished Business”
“Veni, vidi, vici”
“I came, I saw, I conquered”
– Latin phrase commonly attributed to Julius Caesar
Photo Credit: Kristen
Well, it took about two months longer to get here than it did in reality but finally…Kristen and I reached the York City Walls.
And a glorious sight they were.
One of the incredible things about the UK, and most of Europe come to think of it, is how extraordinarily interactive their large-scale historical attractions are.
Unless you’re visiting an art museum in which most of the works of art are in constant danger of being damaged beyond repair, the historical enthusiasts and authorities alike across-the-pond are remarkably supportive of proactive exploration.
Continue reading “A Stroll Between Living History and Ghosts of the Past”
“The history of York is the history of England.”
To satisfy what I am sure is burning curiosity, dear internet, the unexpected but highly welcome train breakfast was first-rate. And, more importantly, the coffee was spectacular.
Continue reading “History Trumps Exhaustion – Part The First”
“A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”
– Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring
Does waking up in a bed that is not your own ever lose its disconcerting effect?
Add 13+ hours of sleep and a time change and you’re pretty much guaranteed a healthy dose of discombobulation.
Waking up in the hostel in London, I definitely had to shake my head a few times before I regained full use of my faculties. Well, to be honest, I’ve never had full use of my faculties.
But I digress.
Continue reading “A Wizard is Never Late”
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”
-Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
By design, Kristen and I only had one day in the hectic, fast-paced, distracted and distracting metropolis that is London, England. Neither of us are huge fans of big cities and we were anxious to get out into the glorious English countryside.
As we stepped out of the dimly lit tube station into the afternoon light we blinked in surprise at how green it was. This was London right? The big, cold city we had been determined to spend as little time in as possible?
Continue reading “The Longest Day – The Longest Post”