Day 12 – British Isles:  Alnwick – York, England

We left Edinburgh and Scotland this morning.  We are back in England.  First stop today was Alnwick. The Castle Alnwick is where Harry Potter movies filmed quidditch scenes.  The town is a quaint village of shops. And the Saturday outdoor market was open.  We strolled around to pick up local flavor.  The original town wall gate is a functional yet small car passthrough.  Jenny and I also stumbled on this monument with a lion on top.  According to the plaque, the village erected it in thanks to the Duke of Ormonde for lowering their rent.  Right?!  Mixed messages.

We left Alnwick and went to York.  It’s the birthplace of Dame Judi Dench.  The city is all a twitter because tomorrow the Tour de France will bike through it in the second stage of the event.  The route is marked by yellow bikes hanging from fences and businesses.  The color yellow is used because it’s the jersey color of the winner.  

We walked around the medieval city of York along the River Ouse.  The York Minister is     the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.  It has an extensive collection of stained glass.  The Minister’s maze of streets were crowded with tourists and Tour de France enthusiasts.  In one square, a huge television screen was reporting the Tour.  In another square, street performers were putting on a play.  This purple guy on a bike is a living statue.  We saw these in Dublin too.  It’s fun to walk up on a variety of different types of entertainers within a town.  

Our guide told us about Shambles on the bus.  The tiny street used to be butchers row.  Meats would be hanging outside the shops along this small corridor.  In days of old, ‘a flush’ was people yelling ‘waste water‘ and tossing their crap out of the windows above.  It certainly was a shambles and gross.  It is now this adorable passageway that reminded me of the magical town from Harry Potter’s world, Little Whinging. 

We ended our York time with a pint of the local brew Stars and Stripes at The Maltings.  Because of the Tour de France hoopla, we were bumped to a Holiday Inn in Doncaster.  I’ll leave it at that.  It’s not a place I’d recommend or want to remember. 


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