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Alas Poor Jorvik We Hardly Knew Thee


There are times a-plenty where I curse the fact that I must work for my living and cannot spend my time as a perpetual tourist. There’s so much to see here that I have yet to do. Scandalously I have never ventured to Scotland, have never seen Stonehenge, have only brushed past the Welsh border. I have a ludicrously long list of places to go and things yet to see but last week, thanks ever-so-much to the fantabulous Shiela I managed to add another teensy tick on the side of that list.


York (or Jorvik as the Viking Invaders once called it) is a fascinating town full of quirky and beautiful finds everywhere like this teensy street nicknamed “The Shambles”


Which as this sign tells us has been recently remodelled


and which held quirky little one-of shops full of beyond stunning merchandise. I fell madly in love with these necklaces…of course when I found out that the pricetag for the middle held the amount of £3,498.72 listed I insisted that I purchase….a large chocolate doughnut to forget my stupid lust for expensive vanities.



York is strangely put out. There are many hidden little outcoves, some with unlikely little finds tucked neatly inside. Like this beautimus of an ancient church hiding behind a newsagents;


Or a bunch of gravestones from the 1700s placed against the wall in a sitting area far too small to ever be a churchyard.


There is one object in York that is most definitely not in hiding. Rising over the tops of the buildings and obvious from just about every vantage point is the minster.


This sucker is HUGE!


So massive that it’s impossible to get a grasp of it’s size in one photo.


So here’s another


But I have to admit that I have yet to capture it’s mahoosiveness in any of my 200+ photos of the day.


Sadly, as you can tell on the last photo a funeral was taking place when we entered. As macabre as it may seem I feel quite fortunate to be able to witness the procession and see the head dude.

From the funeral (rest in peace york stranger) the smell of incense was exceedingly strong as it flung up our nostrils, the organ was blaring

and the foyer looked like this;


A full-on complete extravaganza for the senses.



As we ventured down the hallways Shiela’s keen eye amazingly caught a grave stone whereby a young sailor happened to tragically drown in the river Ouse (runs through the city) whilst….wait for it….on shore leave! How does one draft that letter to his parents?


After hours of laughing at cheeky gargoyles


….I know….I know….too predictable but I couldn't resisit.


and glancing down sadly of those graves that no-one could make out anymore


we happened upon a mystery that none of the guidebooks or info could explain.


In front of the east window on the floor are large massive numbers on some of the floor stones. They’re not in sequence or uniformly spaced apart. 15 is next to 45 which is behind 23 which is across the room from 8. For the life of us we can’t figure out what that means….and pathetically I can’t help but come up with nefarious conspiracies or medieval primitive algorithms…most probably involving this beyond awesome modem of power


Walking down the other hallway that eerily reminded me of swastikas (please tell me I’m not the only one)  


I heard a faint beeping sound and to the right of me found this bleeping bright red lighted alarm to which everyone around did the decidedly British thing and completely and utterly ignored it……..eeeekkkk…


The amount of effort that must have gone into making this place was amazing! In the chapter house the circumference of the room was full of little carved gargoyles each one different.


And the roof made me *sigh*


Into the crypt

where photographs were banned (my bad) in the treasure room we were pleasantly surprised to see the Sith Lord Vader in gold regalia;


And thus started a domino effect of some rather strange discoveries. Like this Viking horn which is carved from ivory, made in southern Italy and carved with Islamic figures…..eh?


Or this comforting scene on the roof of the crypt


Especially cosy when one considers how much weight you’re underneath.


Or strange stones placed in the supporting walls that could not possibly be part of the supporting columns and then raise the question of why they were there.


Or faded graffiti that’s been there for who knows how long and is in a prominent place. How were they able to carve this in without someone walking by and stopping them?


The discoveries continued outside. Massive restoration work is going on and so the entire east façade is now covered in a web of scaffolding. They’ve taken done the original gargoyles and lined them up next to the new ones, carved in the same style….the geek in me was fascinated at the massive amounts of erosion shown on some.


Then sometimes serendipity happens, like when I took this picture of the city gates


And caught this moment on the bottom left


How cute are they!?


The threat of a massive snow storm was upon us and so after a four-hour meander of the Minster we had to make our way home which means that I must go back to visit the castle museum, and the dungeons and the rest of the city and, and, and, and…


I love York!


Thanks Shiela!


Toodles Sweets – Ariane


PS – be a doll and forget the double chin on the last pic eh? Why thankyou. I had to prove that I’ve actually been there, considering I somehow manage to visit these places and take a few hundred photos without ever getting one of me on the memory.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
Great pics!
Mar. 3rd, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
Fascinating and beautiful. (and I totally saw swastikas on that floor)
Mar. 3rd, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
I wish Utah had history like that..
Mar. 3rd, 2010 10:02 pm (UTC)
Whee! I feel like I've had a little tour. And yes, swastikas. Ergh.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 10:07 pm (UTC)
Wow, wow, wow! Thanks fir sharing this so I can live vicariously through you!
Mar. 4th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
I love huge, gorgeous cathedrals! (Insert jealousy here.) :-)
Mar. 4th, 2010 10:51 am (UTC)

A wonderful tour of York...

But the Stonehenge thing needs to be addressed soon!
Mar. 4th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
york is great isn't it?
you should go to basingstoke with mike and visit stonehenge then - its not that far from there. and go to silchester while you're in that neck of the woods too.
Mar. 9th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
Twas a wonderful day, I adore York Cathedral and was more than happy to spend hours there!

Swastika's - yes, I can see that, they are a common medieval/celtic symbol that was appropriated by the German Nazi party and are not, of themselves, an indication of wickedness!

And York is not strangely put out - it's a well designed viking/medieval city! (As you will find out when we go back)

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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Ariane (or Jessica to a few of you)

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