July 26 – Durham
Just a short post today, with mainly pictures to share of another lovely city we’ve visited. Today was a roaming day, but a special day when I got to catch up with friends from back home.
My dear friends Terese and Bruce are in England visiting their daughter, so with them being here at the same time as us, they were kind enough to hop on a train and travel north to meet us in Durham and we had a lovely day roaming and seeing the city and talking and talking and it was wonderful.
We started with a visit to Durham Cathedral. This building is AMAZING! The scale of it is just immense and it dominated the skyline on our ride in yesterday and up close, it is grand and imposing and simply spectacular as a piece of historic architecture.
Inside it just seemed to go on and on, with the different sections and aisles and alcoves and it was absolutely enormous. We also got chatting to one of the Cathedral stewards and he told us the Cathedral is the only complete Norman cathedral in the UK. There are others that have sections that are Norman, but this one is the only complete one. It was built in 1093 and was once a monastic cathedral for Benedictine monks. He also told us of life in Durham during the Second World War, a time that he lived through himself. He said the city was spared bombing, but did have prisoners of war and he said he remembers how young the German soldiers were. It was an interesting chat and I’m glad he walked up to us and settled in for a conversation to share some information about the Cathedral and the city that he told us has been his home all his life. We walked up and down the vast space inside and marvelled at the workmanship that had gone into constructing something of such an immense size and the intricate work that had been done on the interior. It was really quite breathtaking.
We then strolled through the cobbled streets, took a brief look through the gates at the castle which we weren’t able to visit and then down to the river walk. This was a gorgeous path, under trees, right beside the river, before strolling back up to the cathedral where we enjoyed lunch outside a cafe, looking out at the Palace Green, which was once the town market place.
Back through the streets we strolled, then back down to finish the river walk. We strolled past an old graveyard and it was amazing to see the age of some of the headstones. They had been there for centuries and were still standing, still there, with their inscriptions still visible. Just incredible to see the age of things here, to be in buildings, on pavements and cobbles and seeing these headstones, all hundreds of years old. Just incredible.
As we strolled along the river walk, down came the rain, with some thunder and lightning for added effect. We took some shelter under the trees, which once again came to our aid by giving us a natural umbrella against the wet. My brolly came out and the Orange Wonder was put into action, but we continued our walk, talking and taking in the quite magical scenery.
After some more roaming through the lovely cobbled streets, we found a pub for a drink and dinner and finished a lovely day with a classic English pub meal and easy conversation. Perfect.
What a beautiful city is Durham. Its cobbled, pedestrianised streets, laneways, grand and spectacular cathedral, castle and river surrounding it. It is another of those cities that doesn’t feel like a city. It is beautiful and historic with an easy pace, gorgeous buildings, greenery and nature around it and those lovely, friendly British people. It was a wonderful place to roam, made even more wonderful and special by being able to share it with friends from home. It was a day to explore and discover, but also a day of friendship, shared moments and experiences, talk and special memories created. A wonderful day. We have had many wonderful days on this trip, but this one was special.
Tomorrow we ride on, continuing to pedal our way through England and see what there is to discover and experience on this “small island” as Bill Bryson would say. It’s supposed to pour with rain tomorrow, so it may be another soggy ride…still…ho hum…used to that! Soggy or not, there are more amazing experiences just around the corner, so on we go!
Distance ridden: 0 km
Distance roamed: 9.3 km
Weather: mild, fine, then rain, then thunder and lightning, then just drizzle 26C