August 5th, 2014

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The entirety of a day lay before me, the whole of a city yet to be explored was my wondrous opportunity, so with feet to the cobblestones that lined these streets I set out to conquer every avenue in York.

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The town was wondrously fairytale-like with banners of flags draped across courtyards bringing color to the old buildings that appeared on every street corner. IMG_3706

I felt like no matter where I wandered there was some mysterious building calling my attention away. With no object except exploration in mind, there is so much to discover in a place such as York because everything is new, yet old at the same time. I think in some small way I loved York deeply because it made me feel like how I felt while in Rome; like anything was possible in a world caught between the old and the new of infinite wonders. IMG_3711

After a small jaunt of aimless wandering I made my way to the Museum Garden Park, which is a wonderful little area along the river that is lined with museums, flowers, and ruins standing tall and monolithically pervading over all who passed in the shadow it cast on the green lawns. There were people everywhere lounging laughing, and soaking up the good weather cast down by the sun’s rays.

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I spent a while walking around the ruins, looking into ancient fortress walls and towers left behind by the mercy of time.

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When I returned to the main part of the park area I was surprised to see a birds of prey exhibit, which meant that there was a tent where a bunch of huge birds and small ones where on display. IMG_3757

This little guy was probably my favorite, he had a lot of energy and wanted nothing to do with his perch.

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The owl was the funniest and I actually got to hold him, which was really incredible yet scary because he was not exactly pleased to be so surrounded by people. IMG_3778

He was very vocal as well, constantly screeching and reeling his head around to stare down some innocent passerby.

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This little one with the big dark eyes was absolutely silent, he watched quietly all of the people without the slightest sound as his loud companion, the great horned owl squawked up a storm. IMG_3796

After enjoying the birds, I returned to the famous walls of York to take a walk around the city to observe the center from the outside. IMG_3842

It seemed like from almost every angle on the wall you could see the impressive spires of York Minster peeking out from behind brick buildings or through tree branches covered in small blossoms.

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I loved every little street or alley way I wandered down, everything was so incredibly quaint.IMG_3872 IMG_3879

I got to see some of the most historical places in York aside from its ancient walls, like these white houses below which are the oldest buildings in York. IMG_3886

Also an incredible old church with box style pews and crooked floors where the dead where buried under each slab of stone. IMG_3889

After getting to see all of these sights I stopped for a quick lunch break and got my first taste of fish n’ chips at a lovely little place with the biggest portions ever. IMG_3891

With a trough like box full of fries and fried fish I sat in a cute courtyard surrounded by little ice cream vendors with a direct line of sight to York Minster looming in the distance. IMG_3897

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Next on my agenda were the famous York Shambles, a small area with crooked leaning houses looming over a cobblestone street lined with adorable shops. But while taking a short break, wherein I talked randomly with an elderly woman about her garden and her children, I got to take in the sights of the market just outside of the shambles. IMG_3941

The Shambles where like every picture in a story book of England I had ever seen before, and they were maybe my favorite thing in York. IMG_3917

It was a small street, but I wandered up and down it again feeling like I was strolling through a story book trying to understand when exactly my life became a fairy tale. It is a strange thing to realize that suddenly you are leading a life that is everything you had hoped it would be, but you still cannot really believe that life truly belongs to you.  IMG_3926

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After my breath taking time in the Shambles I returned to the garden area to see that the birds of prey were now released from their perches and where casually hopping around on the grass freely. There was a exhibit going on where the bird keepers where showing off the skills of the birds and it was pretty fun to watch, like the low flying skill of the Great Horned Owl. IMG_3968

Or the diving and swooping of an Arizona Kestrel Hawk snatching food from the keeper’s hand in a flash of feathers.

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The rest of my time in York was spent wandering up and down every street that I could find, weaving my way across the fabric of this wonderful little place. IMG_3950

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Finally I made my way to my last stop of the day, York Minster, the towering cathedral that is the most impressive sight in York aside from its walls. IMG_3953

I had decided to go to an evening song service, so instead of going inside I marvel at the exterior and then decided to get some afternoon tea to kill time until the service. IMG_3815

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I stopped to get some good ol’ tea and scones with clotted cream and jam since I had already had the classic fish n’ chips I figured why not go for all of the english classics? The waiter was super nice and I stayed in the tea shop for about an hour and a half just savoring the peacefulness of tea and the view of the Minster right outside of the window lined with colorful flowers.IMG_3981

When the time came I left behind my new friends at the tea shop and went to the cathedral for service.

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The inside was massively impressive but I wasn’t really supposed to take pictures because I hadn’t paid to get in since I was attending a service which is free. There was a majestic beauty in the immense stain glass and the high arching stone of the interior that matched the exterior I had been marveling at all day from afar. IMG_3991

The service was beautiful and the surroundings unbelievable, I was sad to have to leave by the end.

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The bells of the church, the song of the choir still ringing in my ears as I boarded my train back to my temporary home outside of London was a perfect way to conclude my time in York. The entire train ride back I marveled at how incredibly lucky I am to be able to see the things I saw. The sun descended behind the train as we rocketed homeward, closing the final light on my adventure to York, but as I closed my eyes that night back in my bed, I knew it only meant there would be a new adventure tomorrow.

 

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