After staying up way too late the night before, I slept in late on 15 February 1998 and didn’t get going until 1 pm. Still I managed to get in a good day of sightseeing in Old York. First I visited the York Castle Museum which is similar to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History as it’s built on the “Nation’s Attic” ethos. A lot of the exhibits were full-scale replicas of York street scenes from different eras. My favorite exhibit focused on life on the home frone in York during WWII. Definitely a must-see museum.
Next I shuffled along Shambles, York’s oldest street which maintains it’s narrow medieval appearance. I bought some chips and sat and watched the flocks of tourists amble up and down the street. The soundtrack of ceaseless pealing of bells from York Minster Cathedral provided the soundtrack for the activity in the city. These peals can last several hours, and while they may sound cacophonous there is a method to their ringing as practiced by the York Minster Society of Change Ringers.
Following the toll of the bells, I visited York Minster Cathedral next. The magnificent structure dates to the 14th-century. My favorite part of course was climbing the 275 to the top of the tower. The top was caged in – either to keep leapers in or pigeons out – and the view was thus obscured, but looking at York Minster itself with its many gargoyles was worth the climb. Back at ground level, I again attended a Choral Evensong service. This time I sat in the choir of the cathedral itself among the Ascension Singers, a group of men and women who sang like angels.
After that I had a quiet night and went to bed early.
Along the Shambles
Is it just me or does that York Minster gargoyle look like Tip O’Neill.