Starting the Must List.

Left to my own devices this weekend, instead of padding around my disgustingly messy bedroom wondering where my vow to keep the place spotless went wrong, I popped on my sunglasses and went exploring. It’s been on my mind for a while that I’ve lived in this stunning city for well over a year now, and have done a grand total of NO THINGS. Excluding trips to The Willow or H&M.

A few weeks ago, I composed a York Must List- things I MUST do before I move out of this city. It’s not too long, I kept it all achievable. I promised myself I’d get through it over the next year or so, so what better time to start than now?

So me, my iPod, my camera and my copy of Simon Armitage’s Seeing Stars went on a little walk into town. After pottering around the market, and the devouring a gorgeous cupcake from this lady, I headed up to Museum Gardens. The park in the centre of town is so idyllic, as though someone has scripted the perfect summer day and set it there.

Awkward moment when hair from a Viking grave is
in better condition than mine

Now, this may surprise some of you. I’m actually a bit of a nerd. I know, it’s hard to believe. In between doing really cool things and being in really cool places, I love nerding out over poetry or history or the like. So going into the museum was actually a really exciting prospect for me. And even though the staff clearly thought I was a little pathetic for going to a museum, on my own, on the sunniest day the North has seen all year, I was determined to spend the rest of the day getting acquainted with every single exhibition. And with my student card, entry is free- so I was fully prepared to take every advantage.

Obviously, York being the centre of all things Viking-related, much of the museum was devoted to the brutal and thrilling history of all things Jorvik. There was also a natural history bit- though I’ll always prefer human history to that of animals and plants or whatever. (Saying that, The London Natural History Museum blew my mind so severely that I just wandered round muttering “science” for the entire day.)

Museum Gardens

Easily the most impressive part of the museum is the audio-visual exhibit, where they start at the present day, and take you backwards through the pivotal moments in York’s history. One particularly poetic moment of the show- “but meanwhile it flees, time flees us irretrievably while we wander around prisoners of our love of the moment” was definitely my favourite line. And other than revealing how despairingly little I know about the city I love in, it was seriously entertaining. For a pretty small city, turns out York has been crazily important in British history. Who knew?! (Apologies to my friends studying history, who will most likely never speak to me again after reading this. Especially Sam Dumigan. I’m sorry for being such a failure.)

Hello shadow/castle walls!

Inspired by my educational trip, I finished the day by walking about a quarter of the Castle Walls- I did not realise how gorgeous the view would be from up there. And seeing as almost all good roads lead to a pub afterwards, I found myself in the cultural highlight of York- the local Wetherspoons. I don’t half know how to treat myself.

So that’s me starting my York Must List! Exploring a city I already know like the back of my hand was quite a charming experience. Being a tourist for the day was so much fun- and excellent practice for my future escapades in lands less familiar to me. Doing it all on my own was interesting, too. I thought I’d get bored or lonely, but instead I was so caught up in unearthing York that I went the entire day without once drifting off. Maybe I’m more cut out for this travelling lark than I thought- or maybe I’m just being daft comparing going round your own city for a day with global backpacking. Probably. Either way, this particular Saturday is going to go up there as one of my favourites so far.

On the Walls- hella awkward.

Farrah Kelly

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