Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The City of York

A few weeks ago I went to the city of York to attend the 20th UK RNA Polymerase workshop. I was fortunate to get some time off to explore and capture the beauty of the ancient city of York (as well as some of its more modern features).

On arrival I was greeted by the York railway station. Such a stark comparison to the ugly Birmingham New Street train station I saw along the way.

York has been a major railway centre since the beginning of the railway age, with the first line arriving in 1839. For many years the city hosted the headquarters and works of the North Eastern Railway.

The organizer of the workshop splendidly organized the dinner inside the National Railway Museum. The National Railway Museum in York is the largest railway museum in the world, responsible for the conservation and interpretation of the British national collection of historically significant railway vehicles and other artefacts. The Museum contains an unrivalled collection of locomotives, rolling stock, railway equipment, documents and records.

I wished Josiah were here. He is a big train fan thanks to Thomas the tank engine.

The museum also is a host to the Yorkshire Wheel. It is the first observation wheel of its kind in Yorkshire and was inspired by the London Eye, which opened a few years earlier. The Wheel is 54 metres high, which is about the height of York Minster, York's skyline height limit, but somewhat smaller than the London Eye at 135 metres.

Talking about York Minster, it is the second-largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe (behind Cologne Cathedral). It is the seat of the Archbishop of York (the second-highest office of the Church of England). However in my opinion, at night it looks like a place where Count Dracula would love to hang around.

You could actually climbed on top of the city wall to get a better view of the Minster.

The city itself is still surrounded by reasonably intact medieval wall.

One of the prinicipal remain of the 13th-14th century castle are the keep, which is known as Clifford's Tower.

The city is surprisingly safe at night. I did not have any trouble walking alone at 11.30pm except for one incident with a carload of drunken part goers shouting at everyone on the street.

I would definitely recommend York for those visiting the vicinity. Even when you are in London, it is only less than 2 hours train ride away (and it is only GBP35 if you book early).

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