The sight of York sure was a beautiful one and not just because we had been on the train for three hours.
As our plans had not exactly gone as we would have hoped we had to reschedule a few things. This meant missing out on visiting some places, but don’t worry I will be back. We started our day off with a tour around the town. Being a student abroad means money is very tight but I have found the best way to see places and learn their history, spending what I please. This beauty can be found in free walking tours, run almost every where we go they have been so useful. Usually run by volunteers they offer guided tours around the towns with wonderful stories and facts that you couldn’t possible learn if you were to walk around yourself.
We had a lovely lady guide us and another bonus of these tours are that they are usually given by locals who know the place inside out. York has such a rich history, literally a layer cake of a town, so they call it. Once occupied by tribes, then Romans and then Vikings all making it the town it is today. There is literally layers of history which can be seen in the walls that were built, the streets, the housing and even today they are still digging up artifacts. York has dug up so many Roman tombstones that they now just decorate the gardens and streets with them. There has been so many burials around York that there are more bodies under ground than living ones above. This is why it is said to be the most haunted town with famous ghost stories known all through out Europe.
We were taken down some of the oldest streets in England and shown the original walls which bordered York, that you can walk all along. My favourite by far was being shown the York Minster which took 250 years to build and is home of the Great East Window, (finished in 1408) which is the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world (about the size of a doubles tennis court) and the West Window which contains a heart-shaped design known as ‘The Heart of Yorkshire’. There has also been found the remains of the Basilica, the ceremonial center of the Roman fortress beneath the Minster building.
The Minster was magical and so big I couldn’t fit it all in a photo, you should have seen me try though, I was on the ground trying to angle my tiny camera but it just wouldn’t fit and the group was moving, it was so stressful.
There was so much history being crammed into my head, I didn’t realise one place could have so many stories. It was wonderful, our guide did an amazing job and the two hours flew by. At the end of the tour you can pay what you like or not pay at all but I always tip them.
After our walking tour and a well deserved lunch it was the tour I had been waiting for, the chocolate tour. Now what most people, like myself, don’t know is that York is the chocolate capital. My favourite fact being that York the home of the Kit Kat produces six million every day along with a packaging lady in the Smarties production line that got bored of packaging the same colour all together and so every day she would hide a few at her station until the end of the week when she would put them all in a package and send out a cheeky mixed bag. Also I found out that the orange smartie is the only flavoured smartie which is made with orange chocolate.
Then they started handing out free samples and I sort of stopped listening to what they were saying.
We learnt how to taste chocolate like a professional, how it goes from a cocoa tree to the shelves and then we even got to make our own chocolates (which I ate before I got to take a photo, whoops).
By this time it was starting to get dark so we quickly went in and out of a few shops before they all started to close. There was just so much I wanted to see and we didn’t even
scrape the surface of York pick up the shovel to scrape the surface of York. I will defiantly be back.