Sunday, December 23, 2007

York and Castleton

Over the last few weeks Rob and I have had the opportunity to visit two great English sites: York and Castleton. Rob and I went to the city of York for our tenth anniversary. York is an ancient walled-city that still has the remains of the Roman garrison and village that once occupied that site. It has retained an olde English village as a tourist attraction and I must say it was quite charming. In fact, York has the narrowest street in all of England (and that is saying something!). In a Medieval part of the city they built the second story overhanging the first. The people on the second floors could open their windows and shake hands with the person on the other side of the street. An old friend from CA, Maria, and her husband have been living in York for the last few years and met us at the train station. We spent the first half of the day with them. They showed us around, had lunch, and had a nice time catching up with her. After they left, we continued to walk around, shopped, visited a local pub and watched some Morse dancers, and went to the Evening Song service and the huge York Minister (Anglican Cathedral). The city itself was decorated for Christmas and had brass bands playing Christmas carols, too.

Yesterday my advisor, Diana, took us and a fellow American Ph.D. student, James, to a quaint village in the Peak District called Castleton, so called because of the remains of an ancient castle William the Conqueror (I believe) built overlooking the valley. We intended to climb the hill up to the remains of the tower, but the way up is now part of park and we missed the opening time. We then walked around the village and browsed its shops. Castleton is well-known for a unique stone that can only be found there. The name escapes me now, but it is quite beautiful. The village was also decorated for the holidays and music enhancing the atmosphere. We then went back to Diana's house for some dinner. It was a great chance to get out and see some of the countryside and enjoy the Christmas season. Both sites are the quintessential English experience, so if anyone does come to visit we must take you to both!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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