Sunday, July 02, 2006


One of the nice things about some of Englands' larger cities is that they all seem to have Park & Ride schemes. Either you pay a fixed rate for the carpark and everyone gets onto the bus for free or you park for free and pay a small sum per person for the bus into the city and back.

One of the first places that I went with Dorrie was into York. It's a lovely city and we explored thoroughly in one day! We wandered through the streets many of which are still 'shambles', fantastically antique cobbled stones in the alleys and old-style houses with lots of little stores. We went into York Minster which is lovely and the audio-guide is well reccommended. One of the things that you can do is go down into the crypts and get a history tour (via the a-g) both of York and of the site. York is one of those sites that has been unfortunate from it's sheer popularity. It had native tribes of some descriptions, then the Romans, then the Vikings, then the Saxons and then the Normans...

The church site was a Roman barracks and then a Saxon church and then a Norman church. There are still remains of all three structures and they have detailed structural maps of the site. You can still see underground parts of a roman road, roman wall, roman fresco etc... It's fantastic!

We also went to the Yorkshire Museum which had an exhibit on the Emperor Constatine and gave me more history on York and the cultures that inhabited it. I think I read it in the British Museum as well but I still feel vaguely surprised that despite all our popular conceptions the Vikings never had horns on their helmets - rather these were depictions by the Church who wanted to make them seem demonic.

The Yorvick Museum is built on top of an archeological dig that revealed one of the best preserved Viking villages discovered. The high peat content of the soil and its chemical makeup mean that many artefacts have been preserved to a high degree. They've been able to recreate the village to a high level of detail even knowing the use of each building. The start of the tour has you sitting in a moving roller-coaster type car and you get toured through the village. They've even attempted to make the smells authentic which certainly adds something to the experience. There's more information and displays after that including interactive computer information terminals and some cool holographic 'locals'.


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