Friday, May 6, 2011

Sixteenth Word: York

York-a city in northern England, O.Eng Eoforwic, earlier Eborakon (c.150), an ancient Celtic name, probably meaning "Yew-Tree Estate"

My family spent Saturday through Wednesday in Edinburgh. We saw all the typical sights: the castle, the palace, the parliament, Calton Hill, the Meadows, Arthur's Seat, Craigmillar Castle, the Royal Mile and Princes Street Gardens. We had tea at cute little Clarinda's on the Royal Mile after visiting the palace. This place is your grandma's house with pencil sketches of dogs, pictures of girls with dolls, and doilies everywhere. We all discovered "cream tea" which is actually a scone with butter jam and whipped cream served with a cup of tea. Delish! We met up with Sarah over the weekend because her group from Calvin was visiting. We had birthday dinner Saturday night. Linnea and Alex made chicken risotto.

Monday we went to North Berwick for my birthday. It's this adorable seaside town with the National Seabird Center. We got to see puffins and all kinds of seabirds that nest out on the rocks in the Firth of Forth. Bass Rock is 3 miles off the coast and is 300 feet tall. It was huge! and so beautiful. It was a rather grey day but eventually cleared up and we beach combed and hunted for seashells in the afternoon. Whereas the Highlands reminded me of the Pacific northwest in a way, North Berwick reminded me a lot of Cape Cod and the east coast. Tuesday we went to the place where Alex cooks, David Bann, for dinner before going to see Alex perform in Rent.

Thursday, we took the train to Newcastle, rented a car, and drove to Housesteads, a Roman fort built in 124AD. We walked along Hadrian's wall, the wall dividing the Roman south from the Scottish/Pictish (?) north. Alex went back to Edinburgh because he had performances all weekend and the rest of us took the train to York to meet up with Sarah and  Mike.

York is so cute! It has a charming little old town, a beautiful minster, and the flowers and trees were all in bloom. Sarah showed us all the typical sights. We visited the minster and it's crypt and walked through the Shambles (a street on which all the buildings are droopy, saggy, falling apart and yet remaining upright-apparently Diagon Alley in the HP books was modeled after it). We rented a river boat and cruised down the Ouse for an hour. We got gelato and ate Yorkshire puddings the size of dinner plates. It was quite a charming town.

On my favorite day in York, we rented a car and drove north to the Yorkshire Moors. We stopped at Rievaulx Abbey which is set in an idyllic valley with sheep, rolling hills, and only about five cottages nearby. The abbey is a huge ruin, the largest I've seen yet and by far the best I've been to. I LOVED it. It was so beautiful (made better by the 65 degree weather!). We traveled through the villages of Helmsley and Hutton-le-Hole. We eventually ended up at Castle Howard (not actually a castle but a grand country estate). It had beautiful grounds that we enjoyed in the warm weather! Back to York for dinner.

Our last day, we stayed in town. Mom and dad went to the Yorkshire museum while Sarah, Nene, Mike, and I got gelato (yes at 10am). We visited the Minster and its crypt, ate at Sarah's favorite cafe Middleton's, and walked the city walls. Another glorious day. To escape all of the Saturday crowds, we rented a river boat for an hour and cruised down the Ouse. York is definitely a place to visit when in the UK. It is very charming and  cute. Made all the better because we could see where Sarah has spent the semester.

I know this blog is way past due but my life after my parents left Edinburgh has consisted of papers, papers, papers. Then Laura, my cousin, visited last week (much fun!) and Adam is here this week and next. I've got an exam Tuesday and my dissertation proposal due a week from Monday ("Meaning Predictability in Compounding and Phrasal Attribution"). We're on the final leg of our journey now but I'm sure we'll make the most of it this summer :)

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