The Shambles

Let’s be honest: no one likes to read about boring history, but this street is one you’ll want to know the story of (and maybe potentially visit? 😉 ).

I should preface by saying that it’s been a long time since my last post. I came back to Sweden at the end of Summer and thought I’d do one last post about the city. My time in York is officially over, and it has been one of the greatest experiences I’ve had; one I will look back on with a big smile. So, I thought a great way to end my documentation of the trip is a post about a quintessential York attraction; The Shambles street.

The street is rarely this empty, so I felt really lucky to be able to catch this picture one early morning. 🙂

The Shambles is an old street that used to house butchers’ shops. It’s all in the title, as Shambles is actually an Old English word that meant “a place for slaughtering animals”. Resembling a meat market, the street was the location in which animals were slaughtered and made ready for sale. Cut to now, and the street does not even have one butcher’s shop, but has instead become a tourist attraction that is almost never empty. What’s more, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you might recognise it because it’s the inspiration behind the great Diagon Alley! How fun?! 🙂

The street is divided into 2 parts. The street itself and the Shambles Market. The street is ideal both for shopping or to simply walk along it and look at the shops and the intricate little items they sell. (Being the inspiration behind Diagon Alley, there are 5 Harry Potter-themed shops in this little street alone, and that’s if I haven’t forgotten one!)

I was very lucky in that I passed The Shambles every day on my way to uni, so I grew a connection to it. Early morning class and I’m barely awake? I passed it. Afternoon class where tourists filled the shops? I passed it. Finished class at 5 pm and it’s pitch black and cold in the Winter? check. So many memories, and it feels great to have lived with it as part of my “normal” for few months instead of experiencing it only few times.

The Shambles Market runs parallel to the street and has everything from food stops to clothing and art stands, and even a small farmers’ market that especially sells fresh produce on Saturdays. It’s great for buying some vegetables and fruits but really more so you can feel like you live in the countryside as you fill your shopping bag with what you know is local and cannot be gotten anywhere else. 🙂

A little farther down the road there are two shops that caught my heart; Hebden Tea shop and Minster Gate Book Shop. Hebden Tea has few more shops in the city and aside from having a wide variety of teas to choose from, they always have some brewed tea to try while you pass. I don’t think I’ve ever passed without trying what they have. Especially good on a cold day. 🙂

The Minster Gate Book Shop has the coziest feeling a shop can have. It’s small and radiates warmness, and although the books are organized in broad categories, they are for the most part placed randomly, so you discover as you go. It brings back the feeling of being “lost” in literature, and spending a long time flicking through different books, many of which you haven’t seen or heard of before. There are books on the shelf, on the floor and along the steps as you climb up the stairs. If York has the feeling of going back in time then this shop best expresses that feeling.

There are more shops that can be mentioned (the vintage jewelry shops along the street, the sweets shop making great-smelling fudge every morning, or the little shops selling tweed scarves and hats to make you feel like Sherlock), but we’ll be here all night, and I wouldn’t wanna tell everything, since words can only match the experience so much 🙂 So I’ll wrap by saying the cold of Winter was balanced by the warmth and beauty felt as you walk in The Shambles with a cup of hot chocolate, or if it’s Summer and too hot, then the ice cream from The Market will make it a worthwhile trip still. All in all, to say it’s a must-visit is an understatement.

Mafaz

x

Whitby

Hello, everyone! Today’s post is about another Student Union-organized trip we took last month, to the city called Whitby. It is to the North East of York and famous for being the inspiration for Dracula, after Irish author Bram Stoker lived there and was taken by the Gothic feel of buildings such as Whitby Abbey.

That’s where we started our trip. The bus parked up high and we had a walk down, about 30 or 45 minutes, to get to the city centre, which was great because it meant we could look at the city and take in the views.

Collective picture taking of the view.

The view being pictured collectively. 🙂

When we got to City Centre we walked around as a group for a while then took a boat trip together, followed by a good 3 hours to our own before we needed to head back to York. Some friends and I decided on fish and chips for lunch (I mean you gotta, right?!) and The Magpie Café is what we were recommended. I’m passing that recommendation forward because it was great!

After lunch we found a beach and hung around there for the whole two and half hours we had. Not much was done, but the good soul cleansing earned as a result was well worth it.:) 

And that’s it! we headed back to York in a bus full of knocked-out people who were too tired to even chat to one another on the bus. a day well spent!

Thank you, Whitby! You are beautiful.

Mafaz

x

The Magical City of York

Just three weeks to go until I leave this amazing city and am finished with my all too exciting exchange in England. This week I finally decided to do a little tour in this beautiful historical city and capture the “magic” it clearly has. So on Wednesday as it is my day off, I took my phone and my crappy little digital camera (which wasn’t much of a use) and went for a hunt for some nice pictures. Times like these I really miss my SLR camera (damn you, thieves!). Nevertheless, I will let the best pictures I managed to capture with my little Samsung Gio to say it all. So here it is- my own little Game of Thrones!

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Hallowscream 2013 in York Maze

For the past 2 weeks, I have worked at the York Maze for this Halloween event called Hallowscream. It basically means that each week from Thursday to Saturday, the maze changes into a Halloween spooktacular where people come and get their scared off of their pants lol. I am part of the team of freaky clowns, scary zombies and other freaks. It has been such a fun time working with all these amazing people. The doors are opened at 6 pm, so we need to get there around 5 to get our make-up done and costumes on. I have probably one of the best characters to play- the three breasted lady lol. There are different houses with different themes and I am obviously at the freak show. Next to my cage I have a fellow freak the Elephant Man. There is also the fortune teller, werewolves our lovely ring-master and a couple of zombie, soldiers and victims are scattered in the maze behind our tent. The people (audience) who come each night is so diverse at this is really the best part of the day to see their reactions. Most of them want to take a picture with me and even though they are not allowed to touch me, 80% of them do. A couple of nasty comments from guys, some naughty little boys, a lot of mentioning of “Total Recall” and some offended oldies is a every day thing. It’s definitely a too fun experience to call it a job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it, ey! Today is our big Halloween night, looking forward to what it has to offer 🙂

with my fellow freaks

with my fellow freaks

Hallowscream 2013

Hallowscream 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides my job at the maze, school has been great as well. I’m still enjoying my courses and have managed to find enough free time to enjoy the societies. Basketball society had a fresher’s party last week which was a lot of fun. We were dressed as farm animals and the second and third years were are farmers. Long story short, it all ended in York’s biggest and newest nightclub called Kuda.

Basketball Fresher's Party

Basketball Fresher’s Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week is a little special for York as a city as well. There is this gorgeous event called Illuminating York that takes place form the 30th until the 2nd. As I will be working all these days, I went to see some of it yesterday. It was exactly the same like we had in Sydney in May. Basically, the whole city is in lights and the most famous buildings have different light shows on them. It really is gorgeous!

 

That’s all for now, but it’s never boring in York so until next week 🙂

 

First weeks in York, England

It’s been almost 4 weeks since I arrived to England, can’t believe how fast time has gone! Needless to say that it has been busy and I have had too much fun, as I haven’t managed to post a single blog post since then. (Well I also don’t have my laptop anymore which makes it harder). Anyways, there has been a lot going on within these 4 weeks. I guess the best idea would be to start from the beginning, but I will try to keep it short 🙂

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The first week (Sept 15th-22nd) York St John University had a Welcome Week or Orientation Week as some call it. During that week I familiarized myself with the gorgeous campus, learned to know the beautiful historical city and joined for all the fun events that were organized for us. I met a lot of people and got many new friends, mostly fellow Erasmus exchange students from Germany, Spain and Sweden, but also a good amount of young British lads lol.

 

York as a city is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities I have ever lived in (and I have lived in quite many countries). It has the sense of history most definitely- you can’t really escape from that having walls surrounding most of the city center and towering churches echoing Britishness from every corner. It does have a younger vibe to it as well as not all the people you see on the street are tourists. I think York St John University has  a role to play in it by inviting younger people from around the world to come and be part of this well known and established university as well as of this historic city.

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Ok, that sounded a bit like an article for a newspaper haha. Anyways, it is great here and I am not ashamed to acknowledge it 🙂

 

The International Office here also organizes trips across the country. The first trip we had was a day in Whitby. Whitby turned out to be very typical British like seaside town. Unbelievably beautiful and definitely more than I had expected. Bram Stoker even wrote his book “Dracula” there because he simply got inspired by the beauty around him, no lie. We had an amazing day strolling along the haven eating fish and chips. Even “Prince Harry” showed up 😉559800_10151930479048792_254697509_n1240666_10151930477743792_211251717_n2013-09-21 13.58.372013-09-21 14.09.41

 

I can’t remember much more, but there have definitely been a handful of concerts, comedy nights, parties, pub nights, sightseeings and readings (especially within the past two weeks). I have joined the drama society and basketball society that have also kept me busy.I also managed to go to Leeds last weekend to check out the famous Primark. Man, was that worth going or what! It is literally as cheap as WallMart in the States- I’m in heaven now 🙂

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I will try to get myself on a schedule now and post weekly, so until next week.

 

Cheerio!