Sunday, July 31, 2011

A day in York: Whisky for lunch at Harkers?

It’s two in the afternoon yet I am not hungry. I am blaming the full English breakfast I’ve had in the morning. At my age (officially 41 as I type) it seems impossible to digest food quickly even after hours of walking, quite a dilemma I suppose. So I thought, I will just wait for another hour or two before I have a proper lunch—some English scones and tea.

However, tired from my discovering-York-on-foot-tour, I am searching for a nice pub or café restaurant where I can relax and have some spirits to cheer me up. I need something strong. Stronger than wine.

Harkers Pub Restaurant on Saint Helen's Square.

It was great timing when I strolled into Saint Helen’s Square, a square that you cannot miss when in York when I saw Harkers. Actually, Betty’s Café Tea Rooms dominates the panorama of the square but I promised myself to have my share of English scones and tea later.

Harkers is actually a pub restaurant, so just perfect. From the outside I can already see the bar filled with liquors beckoning me, haha. I ordered my whisky, a scotch. I did not get the name but I remember telling the bartender to give me the best he has. This will be my pre-lunch.

Then I searched for a nice place to sit down. Ah, perfect again (this is my lucky day), a free table by the window facing Saint Helen’s Square. You know in places like these it is almost impossible to find perfectly situated tables by the window because every guest, visitor and tourist are eyeing these seats. But well, it is my lucky day and I have it for myself.

I spent a relaxing hour just sitting here. The leather chair was big and warm. I just watched the scenes outside, watched the people, watched everything. I read the guides I picked up at the Hospital Hotel as well. It is nice to unwind in a nice place.

Tempted to buy another shot of whisky, I decided last minute not to push my luck. Good call.

Fotos of Harkers Pub Restaurant:

The liquor bar. It is self-service here.

My view to Saint Helen's Square.

Period style design of the room I am in. I love the floral victorian wall paper with a touch of goth. I have a similar mirror at home, in my dining, except that mine is silver and its wider.

My table by the window with the ladies. When I was about to leave these two ladies quickly asked if they can take my seat, and thanking me that I am actually leaving, haha. These seats by the window are always popular.

And this is Saint Helen’s Square:

Travel Period: May 2011
Destination: York (North Yorkshire - England), United Kingdom

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A day in York: Roaming around town and discovering a special church with box pews

Without a doubt, I have seen so many churches, perhaps in the hundreds already in my lifetime, maybe more, that somehow I have come to the breaking point of enough is enough (I now can relate to the Dutchman). I have made a pact with myself that I will only check out a church if it is special or it has something unique to offer. Now this church, the Holy Trinity Church Goodramgate, I came across while I was roaming the pretty streets of York. I thought she was one of a kind.

This is Stonegate, a busy shopping lane.

I was just done walking the York ruin walls and I am now heading back to the centre. I still have time to wander off a bit before I take a quick lunch break. Not really hungry yet but I was looking forward later in the afternoon to some traditional English scones with clotted cream and jam, and of course tea. While walking on the street I saw an out of sight wrought-iron gate with a signboard in front that says:

‘A rare seventeenth-century survival, box pews like these were once common in Anglican churches. Each family would sit together, renting a pew annually.

The high sides of the pews limited drafts in unheated churches and provided privacy, but also forced the occupants to focus on the content of the sermon.

The widespread removal of the box pews during the nineteenth-century makes them an unusual sight today. Holy Trinity Goodramgate is now the only church in York with box pews.’

Hmm, this is interesting. I need to see these box pews. What do they look like? Curious, I entered the garden and walked into the church and look what I found:

I do not think I have been to a church with box pews. These are indeed a rare find. It is very special to see them being preserved for the sake of history and posterity. I made sure to give a donation before leaving the small church.

Here are some random fotos of York I shot while roaming around:

Fotos above were taken on Goodramgate, Micklegate, Stonegate, Colliergate and Barley Hall.

Next: Not hungry yet so what's for lunch?

Travel Period: May 2011

A day in York: Bars and walking the York ruin walls

When I am travelling alone I can cover many things quickly mainly because I love walking. When you walk a lot, you see a lot. However, I also tend to spend my late lunches really slow, like at least 2 hours. Another perpetual habit is sitting down in a cafe terrace with a spirit in hand watching the world go by.

Anyway, after visiting the York Minster Cathedral, I went to check out the Roman wall ruins. I was not really sure which part of the city wall ruins to start exploring with, however, I noticed that it doesn’t really matter because all over the city I can find the ‘bars’ connecting the ramparts.

In England, bars are portcullis, a fortified gateway usually made of stone. Nowadays they are a medieval attraction but in the past they served as the city’s defensive stronghold from invaders.

I climbed the portcullis of High Petergate and walked on the stone walls to the rear direction of York Minster. Although I did wander a bit in the gardens of the cathedral I was quite curious what lies behind it. My curiosity was met with a beautiful scenery. I lingered a bit here taking fotos and enjoying the green views. At the end of the fortification I reached the Monk Bar, another portcullis and a famous one in York as well.

The Monk Bar is now a little historical museum. There is a statue of the short-lived King Richard III (King of England 1483-85) wearing black tights. Wow, what can I say, he was a very fashion forward man, considering I am wearing the same thing! Haha

High Petergate.

Walking the stone walls.

Here are the views from the ramparts:

Above foto is the Treasurer's House I believe. Pretty!

Here is the Monk Bar:

Inside the Monk Bar, King Richard III was fashion forward wearing the same black tights I am now wearing. The velvet fabric of the coat is also an all-time classic trend while those shoes, I see lots of teenagers wearing them now.

Monk Bar and Goodramgate.

Travel Period: May 2011

Destination: York (North Yorkshire - England), United Kingdom

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