Day 13: York (Museum of York, Yorkminister, National Railway Museum)

We stayed in York at a local B&B. It was incredibly hot on our second floor room and even though we opened the windows, it did very little to help. It took way too long for the kids to finally sleep, but at last they fell asleep and we did too. In the morning we had a full English breakfast. Our host was wonderful.

  

And we left from there in a taxi to the train station “left luggage” lockers where we could put our stuff for the day. We then started to walk around York, headed to Yorkminster. Below you can see the train station straight ahead/on the left and the old city walls on the right. It’s a neat mix of old and new in York.

We headed to Yorkminster.

When we got there, we found out it was closed for mass (which we should have realized, it being Sunday and all), so we left to go to the York Museum and see the Vikings exhibit.

York Museum

Shelley paid for us to go into the museum, but unfortunately Micah was having none of it, so Erin waited outside. Zeke had fun, though, at the prehistoric exhibit and the viking exhibit. In the picture below, he’s not quite as tall as a Deinonychus dinosaur.

And here he is rowing toward English from Scandinavia.

And here’s Zeke posing like the statues. He thought it was funny.

We then decided to have lunch outside the museum. We found a food truck and got BLT sandwiches.

  

When we heard the bells ringing at Yorkminster, we packed up and headed back over there. It was a short walk.

Yorkminster

This was a massive gothic cathedral where the Romans built their headquarters when the town was a fort, then the Saxons built their church on top of it, followed by the Normans, and finally a gothic reworking and expansion of it.

Inside it was pretty amazing. The stained glass windows were taken down and protected during the World Wars, so they are quite old and still original.

We found out that Yorkminster almost collapsed several times, but quick work by engineers, architects, and archaeologists saved it from structural failure. I’m glad I learned about this AFTER I took the tower tour: climbing 275 narrow steps to the top of the main tower.

It was amazing at the top!

In the undercroft (below the church), they had an exhibit set up about the various layers under the church: Roman, Saxon, and Norman. They also had on display the York Gospels, which is a copy of the Gospels in Latin brought by an archbishop in 1020. It is one of the few surviving artifacts from Saxon-era York.

Below is a picture from their website.

And below is the picture I took of the York Gospels as they were at the display.

And here’s the sign that was next to it.

I also saw this (below) on the wall in the undercroft and it was moving for me. It reminded me that Yorkminster is a place of tourism and ancient heritage, but it is also a holy site and has inspired generations of Christians.

After this, we got a few things from the gift shop and headed to the next location.

National Railway Museum

This was pretty much all for Zeke, as he is currently obsessed with trains, but it was still a lot of fun to go to and see. We were able to ride a small train from Yorkminster to the museum.

Inside the train museum, Zeke could hardly contain himself.

He got to play in one of the engine cars and thought it was the coolest thing.

 

 

The bottom right picture above is Micah and I in the mail railcar.

After we had walked around the museum and looked at all the neat trains, it was time to head to the modern train station to head back to Oxford.

Return to Oxford

At the York train station, Zeke was exhausted from a full day and fell asleep in the stroller.

  

Micah was tired, but didn’t fall asleep. She had taken a nap earlier at Yorkminster.

Once we got on our train, she did eventually fall asleep. We weren’t together at first, but as people left, we eventually got four seats together.

 

Our train went from York to Birmingham where we would have to catch a different train to Oxford. We had planned a 35 minute layover in Birmingham to be safe. However, the train faced delay after delay and we were certain we had missed our connecting train to Oxford. But when we arrived in Birmingham, they told us that the train going to Oxford had also faced long delays. So we raced from platform 5 to platform 7. Perhaps a minute after we stepped up to the platform, the train to Oxford rolled into the station and we made our connection!

On the second leg of the trip we had four seats together from the beginning and it was quite nice.

We arrived in Oxford about an hour after we had intended (due to the train delays). We tried to get a taxi, but there was a long queue and were told it would be about an hour. So we hauled all of our junk from the train station to city center (about half a mile) to catch the bus up to our street. Walking to our flat from the train station is 1.1 miles, so it saved us quite a bit of work.

Finally, at last, we were back in the flat at Oxford and ready for a little bit of regularity.