Ol’ Blightey – The United Kingdom Part 2

2015 chugs and puffs its last like a boiled-up steam train and my brain is beginning to think in a Yorkshire accent. Electric Holy Road, as a blog, has had an alright start, but can only go upwards in 2016. Thank you, family, friends and strangers all over the world for being interested in my own colourfully bourgeois tales of travel through Europe. It’s not over yet though, as I’ve said before, the Electric Holy Road is a long one.

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Ooh ‘eck, what a feedin’

With Leeds under my belt and my boots firmly planted in UK soil it was time to celebrate Christmas.

In traditional style, I stayed in with my cousins to spend a lovely evening eating until popping point and then playing a rather haphazard game of Chinese Checkers between watching some of 2015’s best flicks. It doesn’t sound too thrilling, right? Well, not every night has to be an adventure. Sometimes it’s important to just take the time out to sit quietly with family. As Mia Wallace notes, you’re never really comfortable unless you can enjoy the silence.

Merry belated Christmas, anywho!

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A bit more than damp

The unseasonable warmth all over Europe is definitely a cause for alarm if I’ve ever seen one. At the moment, we should be seeing snow and temperatures in the single digits, instead, it’s been about 10 degrees all day and pouring with rain.

Coming from a country racked by bushfires and droughts, it’s really something else to be staying in a town that’s consistently in the news for flooding. Luckily enough, and as a reprieve for my long suffering and worrying parents, the River Ouse has not yet flowed over into my current street.

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Honestly though, seeing half the town and most riverside pubs underwater is incredibly interesting and dramatic. People have all come out to crowd around the brown rushing waters, perhaps worshipping some benevolent river spirit… Or just checking out the damage.

I took a very soggy wander through town and along York’s still-standing walls on Boxing Day. While I did end up soaked and exhausted, I managed to circle the entire city, wander through the incredibly interesting and picturesque Shambles and even stop myself buying more useless souveniers!

York really is a beautiful little town. Unlike London, its centre has the perfect mix of history and modernity, with drooping wooden pubs colliding peacefully with modern chippies and fashion outlets. The ancient walls and beautiful Clifford’s Tower are a testament to the strength of the city in times long past and a reminder of Britain’s storied and often horrifying history.

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It’s also the most haunted city in England.

My cousin and I decided one stormy night to follow a rather eccentric character around York’s dark underbelly. Hearing many a tale, such as that of Mad Alice and the hypnotising devil statue outside the print shop, we were very absorbed by the atmosphere. This sort of thing, whether you believe in the paranormal or not, always adds greatly to the trip. You get a bit of a history lesson in a fun and spooky way!

My favourite story, heard long before my current visit to York, is that of a man seeing a group of armed Roman ghosts walking knee deep through the ground near the Minster before disappearing. Only years after the bizarre sighting did excavations uncover a buried Roman road… Exactly knee depth under the current ground! Ooooohh!

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The rain keeps falling

You may think it a bit of a stereotype of England to be grey and wet most of the time, but it’s also entirely true. You just sort of get used to it, and anyway, in places like York it just adds to the atmosphere.

I slept early Boxing Day night in preparation for an early (expensive) train to the place I basically built my trip to the UK around, a truly holy site, a pilgrimage’s end for a tried and true fantasy nerd…

I’m sure you’ll have figured it out before I return soon! Tschüss for now!

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