“How did you enter this station?” I asked Yuko when I met her at York Station. (I was traveling in London. Oh, in this case I just arrived at York from London. My former articles are here: My Travel in London 1, My Travel in London 2, My Travel in London 3, My Travel in London 4, My Travel in London 5)
“There’s no gate here.”
Ah, yes. I did not need to insert my ticket to the ticket wicket to go outside. We were walking to the street from the station without meeting any barriers.
“But I inserted my ticket in the entrance gate at King’s Cross.”
“A conductor checked your ticket in the train, right? Then, that’s okay.”
“Oh, I see…”
Yuko lives in Hull. When I told her about my visit to London, she suggested going to York together. It was colder in York than in London. And it was raining, but it was not necessary to put up an umbrella. There were long stone walls before us. They are York City Walls, a part of which was made in the Roman era. We crossed the road and went up to the walls. While walking along the walls, we arrived at The York Museum Gardens, which used to be the gardens of St. Mary’s Abbey.
St. Mary’s Abbey is now a ruin. Its stone remain were standing there silently in the rain. There were few visitors in the place that day. We were wrapped in silence. It was as if time had stopped. We were walking by lovely white snowdrops in the wrong season. They were bending down their heads in the rain. After leaving the peaceful place, we were walking to York Minster.
York Minster, the massive Gothic architectural masterpiece, was towering over us. Yes, it was towering literally. Unwisely I bought a combined ticket: the minster and the TOWER…The church is very large and has many things to see. So, you do not need to climb up 275 steps to stand on the top of the building. You know, you have to climb down the same numbers of steps to return to the ground. That was the toughest experience for me in the last several years…Well, I would like to write about the minster part before telling you about the hard part…
The church was very beautiful and magnificent. All of the decorations were intricate and elaborate. Look at the ceiling of the chapter house. The octagonal dome with that beautiful stained glass was spectacular. But what I liked the most in the place was its curved wall, which had innumerable sculptural humans and animals. Their expressions were unique and humorous. It was interesting to let my mind drift about what the sculptors had been thinking about during work. The part of the church is under construction for conservation. You can experience a part of the repair work virtually by playing a restoration game. Yuko was recognized as a skilled craftsman in this game.
When Yuko and I finished seeing most parts of the church, it was a few minutes before the tour of climbing up the tower began. About twenty people were waiting for the tour. At 11:30, we ducked under the small door to the circular stairs of the tower and started climbing up. The inside of the tower was very narrow, and the stone steps were very small. It was not easy to keep on climbing up on the steep and narrow steps. But there were no places to rest or to retreat once you began climbing up.
My heart was pounding incredibly fast, and my legs were leaden.
“Where is the goal?”
“I don’t know.”
Suddenly it was getting brighter ahead. Next moment we were standing outside. But our joy did not last. That was a connecting path to the next building. We were just on a half way. Still, we were able to get our breath back a little and to inhale fresh air.
Then we had to climb up in the dark tower again. All I was able to hear were my own heavy steps and my hard breath. How come I’ve joined this activity…? I was regretting…But I had to go ahead. There were nearly 20 people behind me. I couldn’t stop. Finally, I stepped on the last stone and went outside. I was standing on the top of the tower. It was incredibly cold. It was snowing! But even the coldness was comfortable for my flushed skin. My heart was almost bursting out from my rib cage.
I saw Scarborough far away from the place. I was happy to see the town although I just knew the name from the famous song: Scarborough Fair. I realized that I climbed up to such a high place when I looked down at the town of York. Oh, no…I had to go down with the same route…
Actually I was going to write about other events in York here too, but, I’ve already written much today. So, I’ll tell you the rest next time…