Saturday, July 10, 2010
Saturday, July 3 YORK
After tossing and turning for a while, I get up and have breakfast at 7.30 (I know shocking!) Back to the room and a little more sleep. Finally at about noon I go out to explore. I have no energy; I can’t seem to walk 50 yards without being exhausted. In the back of my mind I hear my inexhaustible resources of adrenaline calling to me, “Use me, use me!” I can’t tap into them now. If I do, I’ll be running all over, trying to see all the things I want to see and making myself much worse. I keep repeating the manta my sister gave me before I left, “Pace yourself!”
I do go to the York Minster, a beautiful cathedral and a symbol of the city. I saw this with my mother and was impressed, even though I am burned out on European churches at this point. I have to sit down as soon as I get in and rest of a few minutes. I wander around taking pictures, resting from time to time. After awhile, I leave and wander around the outside. It occurs to me that the outside is actually far more beautiful than the inside. However, it is closely surrounded by the city, which makes anything other that segment pictures impossible.
There is, however, one interesting thing. There is a statue of Constantine, seated on a throne, directly outside. On the plaque it says that, near this spot he was proclaimed emperor of the Roman Empire. And that he went on to become the first Christian emperor. I remember seeing this on my first time and being astonished, as I had no idea anyone from Britain had ever become emperor. After doing a lot of research on this, my response to the plaque now is, “Well, sort of.”
Constantine was indeed elevated to one of the (at the time) four ruler positions – illegally. His father, who was one of the four, died in York and his troops elevated the son to the father’s position. Only problem was, they didn’t have the authority to do that. It would be 6 years before Constantine became sole ruler of the empire.
Constantine wasn’t a Christian, but he understood that one of the keys to his ability to remain emperor was to control this new religion, which at that time was engaged in a civil war that threatened to destroy not only the religion but also the empire. At that, he was very successful.
Dragging myself around town I find a vegan Tapas restaurant (who knew there was such a thing!) and have lunch. Feeling somewhat better I start thinking about places to visit. Pace yourself. I visit my bed.
It is during dinner that I begin to see what is wrong in town. Several middle age biker types walk by some somewhat older women out for a night on the town. Words are passed. Before trouble can start one biker grabs another and walks him away. The cops are there in less than a minute. Wow! Talk about response time.
I decide to take a little longer route back to the hotel just to look around. I begin to notice that not only does every pub and nightclub have several bouncers but also they are wearing licenses in an armband around their upper arms. They all have radios and are in constant communication with some central coordination point. Listening in on their conversations, it becomes clear if you so much look at a bouncer cross-eyed your description is radioed in and soon everyone is on the look out for you. This is an organization that is not only prepared for trouble but they expect it.
I have a plan for sleeping tonight. If I get to sleep at midnight I will get a full nights sleep for the first time in a week and be fresh for Durham tomorrow.
About the images:
1. Detail of the Choir Screen showing some of the Kings of England.
2. Constantine outside of the York Minster.
4. It's criminal what some people do to cars!