Sunday, 29 June 2014

Down the line from York

While I got to Ripon quite easily by air (Warsaw-Heathrow-Leeds), getting back was troublesome, given that there were no connecting flights from Leeds to Warsaw on a Saturday, either via Heathrow or Amsterdam or indeed Paris (thanks to a strike). So I took the train down to London from York, taking a bus from Ripon to Harrogate, thence a train on to York.

Warming to Yorkshire for its landscapes, friendly folk and rich history, I took the opportunity to catch an earlier train to York and spend an hour wandering around the city (which I'd never been to before).

Alighting at York station, I marvelled at the vaulted, cast-iron roof over curved platforms (below). When opened in 1877, this was the world's largest railway station. Today it still impresses.

Below: the New Measurement Train (the only one in Britain), nicknamed the 'Flying Banana'. It is stuffed with measuring equipment of the latest sort, lasers, what have you, and as it trundles up and down the railway lines of Britain at speeds of up to 125 mph (200 kmh) testing the railway infrastructure. And here it passing through York.

Below: Stepping out of the station towards the city centre, I'm struck by the skyline. Why, there it is - York Minster.

Below: I proceed further into town, looking up (the best views of historic British cities are above eye-level). To the left of the towers of York Minster, the Catholic church of St. Wilfred's built in 1869.

Below: gazing in awe at the Gothic splendour of York Minster - the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe. Taking nearly 400 years to complete, this is high Gothic (compare to the simplicity of Ripon Cathedral and its Early English architecture).

The church of St. Michael le Belfrey, next door to York Minister, also in spirit of the Tour de France, the second stage of which starts in York next Sunday (6 July).

Below: three more yellow bikes decorate the lawns on Duncombe Place. Like Harrogate and Ripon, York has been filled with yellow bicycles, yellow, green and polka-dot knitted jerseys and indeed French flags.

This beautifully customised Ford Popular, aptly on Museum St. The Popular was the most-basic Ford, in production until 1959 and a great favourite for customisers who could shove a V8 engine in front and Jaguar independent suspension. Its retro style (even for the late '50s!) made it the perfect hot-rod.

Below: the bus driver waited patiently for the geese to cross the road. The nearby Memorial Gardens is home to around 500 Canada and Greylag geese. They are totally unafraid of humans or their devices, and stroll about as if they owned the place.

York is a walled city, a proper mediaeval fortress town; the walls served a military purpose and are not some faux Victorian decoration. Below: the section of the city walls between the River Ouse and the railway station. Can you spot two more yellow bikes in this picture?

Below: back at the station with a few minutes before my train is due. Time to pop into the York Tap for a chance to sample a Great Heck beer - in this case, a Shankar IPA. Superbly hoppy, bitter and refreshing.

My train left at eleven am, less than two hours later I'm in London, some 200 miles/300km away. A superb service. And once in London, across town by Piccadilly line, and I'm back at Heathrow Airport in under and hour.

This time last year:
Czester and his sister

This time three years ago:
The Cold Weather Guys - a short story

This time four years ago:
Bike ride along the banks of the Vistula

This time five years ago:
Three hill walks around Dobra

This time six years ago:
90th Anniversary of the Polish Navy

This time seven years ago:
Memory and comfort


Unknown said...

Shame you missed Betty's!

Michael Dembinski said...

Saw the one in Harrogate, saw the one in York, had some of Betty's tea at Ripon Racecourse (a goodly brew indeed!)

But when it comes to a choice between a pot of Betty's tea or a Great Heck beer - the latter takes precedence!

Sigismundo said...

Very fond memories of York. Lovely city!