Wednesday, July 17, 2013

UK Trip #20: Arrival in York, England: The Minster

The York Minster (a small part of it)
On Thursday, June 20, we departed Edinburgh, Scotland for York, England by train. Across the Pond Vacations picked a great hotel that was just one block from the train station, so we were able to walk there!  After a light breakfast we enjoyed the train ride (took several hours). Once we arrived in York, we took a cab to our hotel, unpacked and grabbed sandwiches from a "Booth Pharmacy" (they have good pre-made sandwiches and they're very affordable, too) and we sat outside under the cloudy sky people watching and eating in a shopping area.
   After walking around a bit through town we came across this famous cathedral. Tom was admiring the architecture, and wanted to venture inside. We would later venture to the roof, but I'll get to that.

WHAT IS THE YORK MINSTER?  York Minster is a cathedral in York, England, and is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe, according to Wikipedia. The minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the second-highest office of the Church of England and is the cathedral for the Diocese of York. It is run by a dean and chapter, under the Dean of York. The formal title of York Minster is "The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York." 

WHAT'S "MINSTER" MEAN?  The title "minster" is attributed to churches established in the Anglo-Saxon period as missionary teaching churches, and serves now as an honorific title. Services in the minster are sometimes regarded as on the High Church or Anglo-Catholic end of the Anglican continuum.

HOW OLD IS IT? - The cathedral was started in the 1000s and finished in the 1200s, according to the literature we got there. It replaced an old Norman church from Roman times. The site was actually a Roman encampment and the cathedral was built on top of the Roman church. The Roman encampment dated back to 71 A.D.!  In the basement of the cathedral was an archeological display that showed some of the stones from the original Roman encampment. Very interesting. Roman fort ruins and Roman coins were actually excavated under the Cathedral. We also learned that Constantine stopped persecuting Christians and accepted their religion. (He could've kept proscuting the religious ultra-conservatives and that would be okay.)

Tom on the first walkway to the 2nd set of stairs
A DARING CLIMB TO THE TOP OF THE MINSTER - The cathedral offers a "climb to the top" for people who can make it. Of course, I (Rob) have asthma, but it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and Tom really wanted to make the climb, so I agreed. I just made him pay for it!  :)
  There are signs that say not to make the 257 rounded-stair climb if you have "Breathing problems, are very overweight, heart issues, bad knees, etc." That didn't stop the first couple who ran to the front of the line - the couple were as old or older than we are, and both man and woman were pretty overweight. SO, it was a slow climb with a number of stops along the way.
The first walkway to the second set of stairs
View of York from first walkway

There WAS  a break in the climb, though- which came after about 120 step, when we walked across a platform on the outside of the church to go to the SECOND set of stairs, which were about 137 steps to the rooftop.

ODORS IN SMALL AREAS -  Tom and I were the third couple in line making the climb while the rest of the group were behind us. Directly ahead of me (Rob) were a young couple from southeastern Asia. They could not have been older than in their early 20s. What struck me, though, was their rancid body odor. Fortunately, I only have about 20% of a sense of smell. However, their body odor was so pungent, and the stairs were in a tight enclosure with ZERO air circulation, that it hit me like a brick wall. Tom, who was climbing the stairs behind me was gasping when we got up to the first platform (after the first 120 stairs) and NOT because he was out of breath, it was because of the rancid odor coming from these two young people. We assume that it was because of something in their diet. Regardless, even the thinner air atop the cathedral was better than that in the narrow, stagnant stairway!


Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next