York – Yorkshire – England
DAY 1 – This afternoon we headed north to York, the ancient capital of Viking Britain. The City of York has retained many of its medieval structures and ancient timbered houses such as the Shambles are protected by conservation orders, thus benefiting tourists like ourselves. Cars are banned from the city centre, which makes this is a great place for walking. As the plaque in the street explains, “The Shambles is the ancient street of the Butchers of York mentioned in the Doomesday Book of William the Conqueror. It takes its name from the word ‘Shamel’ meaning the stalls or benches on which the meat was displayed – later versions of which can still be seen. It was rebuilt about 1400 when it resumed its present character.” There are lots to see in this town and as we only had limited time, we walked very quickly all over the place.
After seeing the crooked houses of the ‘Shambles’ we reached York Minster, England’s largest medieval cathedral, and also said to be the largest Gothic church north of the Alps.
One of the fascinating things you’ll notice in this town is the usual street names and stone sculptures that decorate the street corners. Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate is York’s tiniest street with the longest name. The name dates from Saxon times and means “neither one thing nor the other”. Then there is Stonegate with the medieval red devil which stands guard over the street.
It is said that York has a pub for every night of the year so pub-crawling is a real possibility here. The pubs have very quaint names as well.