Our first stop after the Matrix conference was York and we loved it. The town is dominated by York Minster, which really gives Winchester Abbey a run for the money.
We took about a thousand photos as it kept changing in the different light.
York was a really important Roman (and Viking) city, so it's history goes back 2000 years. One of the ceasars died here and another one elected (not sure if that's the proper word). I had no idea!
Long after the Romans fell, the Vikings took it over and this was their capital for the British Isles.
In the oldest part of town a lot of the streets are very close and wander about. This one is called The Shambles. Forget Diagon Alley from Harry Potter, this is the real deal. Of course all of the shops are for the tourists, but it has so much character!
I especially love the Tudors, with their black exposed wood. The really old ones are kind of slumpy with age. We rode on one of those red double decker tour buses. They have guides who do a running narrative of the town and we learned a LOT about York. Turns out they have these in all the towns we visited. We rode one in Edinburgh, but not in Chester or Cardiff.
As much as I love ruins, I was sad to learn that it was King Henry VIII who had them all destroyed in his battle with the Catholic Church. Our guides said the motive was financial. These were all very wealthy enterprises and he basically plundered them - even melting down the lead from the stained glass windows.
This is about as far as we got on our walk in Helmsley. We decided to hell with the abbey and the pretty English countryside (we've got pretty countryside back home) - let's go tour that ruined castle! So that's what we did.
The town of Helmsley itself was quite charming and here we encountered our first church graveyard - but not the last! I actually soaked my boots yesterday crossing a sheep field to get to a really old one in Chipping Campden, but that's getting ahead of the story....
This is another view of Helmsley. Everything is so freaking OLD here, and made of lovely stone.
And they are still at it. At the York Minster our guide pointed out the new replacement carvings for the book of Genesis around the main entrance. Here's Adam and Eve....
The old carvings were damaged not by King Henry or Cromwell, but by soot from the Victorian powerhouses upwind from York. A lot of the buildings were pretty sooty. I guess powerwashing them causes too much damage to the stone.
Speaking of Victorians....
Love and hugs,