Nov 11, 2005

Day 10 : Strolling down 'The Shambles'

First stop next morning after another English breakfast without eggs or meat was Thirsk. It was a sleepy little village on a cold morning. There was an Abbey here too. I walked about the street, soaking in the ambience.

How mighty the pen is - veterinary surgeon from yorkshire, capturing the imagination of a school girl from the south of India. I made a mental note to read all the books again. There was a small museum, ofcourse.

After sometime, we drove to York. Now we were much wiser, stopped the car in a Park&Ride and got a bus to the town center. York was yet another beautiful town. The market place was crowded, someone was playing a harpsichord on the square, it drizzled.

I walked around following a self guided walking tour map I had got from somewhere. Climbed the Clifford tower for a nice view, walked along the museum across the Shambles to the York Minster. After ten days of fantastic architecture, a beautiful structure like the York Minster still had a profound effect on me.

SR said he liked York the best. The city was walled and the river curved beautifully. It had a unique character. I suddenly realized, despite a certain uniformity or even predicatbility of old buildings, museums, plaques and historical references, I can actually remember and recognize something unique about each city I visited.

Had lunch in a pizza place. It was a buffet, we got a new plate each time we went for a different serving. In India and US one does that for hygienic reasons. Apparently that is not the case in UK, after a few minutes I realized the couple in the nearby table were laughing at the pile of plates on my table. It was thoroughly mortifying.

Post lunch, decided to check out the Jorvik museum. This was a bit different, it was a reconstruction of a Viking village. It claimed every single thing in the museum was genuine. And later I found out that the models were all reconstructed from the bones found in the excavation site. So there is a good chance, the men and women actually looked like the way the mannequins looked. It was like one of those CSI episodes..

With York I had pretty much ciome to the end of the road trip. Ofcourse I had oxford, cambridge, Constable country Chatsworth and all in my list. But I had two more days left before I flew back and I was anxious to spend one more day in London.

I sat in the front of the car, chewing my pencil, staring at the map. It was late for Chatsworth to be open and I had almost a day’s worth of drive before I got to London.

“Lets drive as far as we can,” SR suggested. “Till the sun sets,” AS qualified.

Off we went. We got as far as Nottingham. Crashed in a holiday inn express. Walked over to Marks and Spencers, got some vegetarian sandwiches to eat only pausing momentarily near the Robinhood museum which wasn't very impressive from the outside.

Spent better part of an hour flipping the remote, browsing through the channels. Atleast one channel invariably seems to have some kind of home reconstruction going on. Boy, do they love their buildings!

I pondered about the history of York and then in general about English history. Is history so well chronicled in other parts of the world too? Or perhaps it wasnt as well researched, even if chronicled.

Went to sleep dreaming about earning a lot of money and staying in one of these castles for a few days.

November 11, 2005