Yesterday we traveled north by taking a lot of “lesser traveled” roads. It was a windy day for the road, but fortunately for us, it was mostly a tail wind. The roads here in England are again different from all the others we have traveled on during our journey. The first thing of course is the side of the road that we travel on. The next is, there is no shoulder to these roads, in fact, there is a curb that keeps you on the straight and narrow. It is a little disturbing to see that curb right there beside you on these narrow country roads. We have seen a few “Grand” Country Homes, with all the manicured grounds along the way and also were quite surprised at the amount of mustard that is being grown in all the fields. Another picture, is all the farm land that is fenced in with plants of “hedges”. It is a beautiful sight to see the fields of yellow mustard blooms completely “hedged” in.
Our first stop was the college town of Cambridge. It was one of those towns that you have heard of forever, and you just wanted to see just what it looked like or felt like to be there. This was another town of narrow windy streets with no parking, so I just pulled up to the curb, stopped and got out. “You can’t just park here…”, “Well, if they would make more parking spots, we wouldn’t have too… come on, we will only be a little while”… As it was, as we walked around the corner, we walked right into a great little market going on, so… We also had to visit the Information Center… As luck would have it, we got back and everything was OK, but no sooner had we gotten back into our seats, and a police car pulled up, parked, got our of their car and walked around the corner heading for the market as well…”so there…”
A half day of driving and we decided to settle into our next campground. It is located just outside of the city of Nottingham, that is the Nottingham of Robin Hood fame. We were also close by the “Sherwood Forest”. These are real places and real legends…kind of neat. The campground was also kind of neat. We camped right on the edge of a small lake, complete with all the waterfowl (with their young), and fish. We even had a fisherman doing what fishermen do… This morning, we again took to the back roads and finally made it to York. We got into town about noon, so after doing a quick “set-up”, we headed off into see what York had to offer. It took us all of 10 minutes to walk to “Clifford’s Tower”, which is all that is left standing of the Castle of York. Clifford’s Tower stands high on a hill, which used to be surrounded by water and a much larger fortress. The harbor has changed dramatically here. Today the city of York has 2 rivers flowing through and around it, but centuries ago, there was a large body of water from a river, but is now much more shallow and narrow. Even today, the River Ouse will take you out to the sea. Just around the corner from the tower is York. We wondered the historic streets, visited a couple of churches, (even had lunch in one), and then found ourselves inside the famous “York Minster”. We had no sooner entered and they were starting a tour, so we jumped right in. It is amazing how much more information you get when you have a tour guide to show you through. The York Minster is the largest Gothic church north of the Alps (540 feet long and 200 feet tall). (The word “Minster” means a place from which people go out to minister of spread the word of God.) Construction was started in 1280 and wasn’t finished for over another 200 years. It has many outstanding “painted” windows throughout, but the one that stands out to me is the one called the “Five Sisters Windows”. These are 5 windows that stand over 50 feet high and are painted, and then each piece is put together with lead (like what we would call a stained glass paneled window). As always, there is so much more to tell you about this “Church”, but it will have to wait.