Framlingham Castle and York
Wednesday April 28th 2010
Norfolk day two
and York on the fly!
Yesterday was my last day in the lovely little town of Diss in Norfolk. The Flynn’s took me out to see Framlingham Castle in the area south of Norwich, Suffolk. The castle is really more the ruins because the whole inner area of the walls were cleared out to make way for a poor house in the 17th century. All in good intentions of the man who willed it for such at the time but truly a loss of a great historic icon. This place has many link to the Tudors which I found quite fascinating and a large surprise the first link is that of the Howards, which several were prominent advisory and such to the kings not to mention when Henry was looking for wife number 2 the Uncle of Ann Boleyn just happened to be the head Howard! So he put the foot in the door for Ann, and eventually lead to her execution and then through his other niece Kathryn Howard to the dog as well for wife number 5 who was also executed partially thanks to her uncle. Oh and then after all that, Mary Tudor a.k.a. Bloody Mary went to Framlingham when she wanted to take the throne after her brother and gave Lady Jane the boot. She rallied her supporters and then took the crown and a very cool thing about the castle where the reproduction clothes of Mary Tudor and Henry VIII done with great historical accuracy and to every detail of the paintings they were off of. The castle wall walk gave for great views of the entire area and being this was a small secluded area it had many birds singing and squirrels playing. It was very nice to listen to all of these noises and it all sort of transported you back in time! The chimneys on the roof were quite interesting as well, I believe there were 10 chimneys put in place by the Howards but only 3 worked the rest were simply decorating and they were magnificently done in spirals weaves all made of bricks. Truly something very unique that I haven’t ever seen even with our modern designs.
Well after the castle was a lunch of fish and chips and my first British Ale, a local bitter, very good I must say. I said it was up there with the German beer, very good but Mr. Flynn informed me English beer is by far the best, with a chuckle of course! I must say it was very good and in steep competition with that in Germany! I personally couldn’t choose a side!
After lunch it was time for me to go again, onto York, about a 4 hour journey with 3 different train changes. I said my goodbyes and left around 3pm promising to return soon with my mother! They were such sweet sweet people I was a little sad to go, but I do truly hope to go back one day and see them and truly get a good amount of time in East Anglia to really explore the great diversity it offers!
The train rides and changes were truly exhausting! I had a quick jaunt from Diss to Norwich then Norwich to Peterburough then Peterburough up to York. By the time I was on the last bit I was ready to drop! Though after getting off the train and walking out the stating there was YORK! With the beautiful walls and bright green grass, a big smile drew on my face and I booked it to the hostel to unload all my junk! Which to my surprise and delight the Ace Hotel York was a large, beautiful Georgian town home right in the thick of York. And all of these old buildings were nice and clean and a true bustling old city. I then found my room got situated and met my bunk mate, Anna, who is half Italian and half Irish! We had a lovely little chat on our backgrounds and what we were up to, she was in York for the week looking into the college there and getting set up to start on a post-Grad degree in the fall in humanitarian work. She was very nice and gave me some good tips for my first hostel stay and those in the future she also said something quite inspiring, an Italian saying “Those that don’t travel die slowly” which I feel is a great statement to live by!
So after talking and after feeling less like a dying pack mule I went for a quick walk on the city walls right at dusk! Which was really magical, the birds and the lights and the trees and hardly another soul up there was just mindbogglingly calming and beautiful! At the end of the wall I got off and found a pay phone to call my mom and tell her I was safe and happy! Then walked over one of the few bridges and headed back to my room where I picked up some groceries on the way and did some laundry and retired. I really slept very well and actually wanted to get up at 6 but after collecting my laundry and things to leave I slept another hour before breakfast. I checked out of my room and left my larger bags and hit the city for some touristy bits. Everything was really compact so in not even a half a mile I was right at the sights I wanted which were the Jorvik Viking Center, Castle Museum and Clifford’s Tower. Really everything else in the town was right there as well and the guide books don’t even mention anything else outside of the city.
I started with the York Castle Museum because they opened the earliest at 9:30am and the Jorvik center didn’t open until 1:30pm due to a royal visit of some sort. I went into the museum as more something to kill an hour or two and came out extremely happy with the exhibits that they had! The central theme to half the museum was to recreate common household rooms from the 1600’s, 1800’s and modern. So one could see how kitchens had evolved, expanded or shrunk in the last 400+ years. It was truly great and one gets chills while looking into these past rooms it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! The rest of the museum had wonderful smaller exhibits on everything from Regency style clothes to toys to swim suits from the last 100 years, then life and death, marriage the chinese influence in York the list goes on and on. Then the museum went on in another wing of the castle that was all about the dungeons, history of York, with a large part devoted to the sort of pop culture of the 1960’s. All of which was very done and very very educational!
After the museum I walked across the street to Clifford’s Tower which is the only real part of the castle that exists other than the walls. The rest was taken down due to lack of care and damage from various wars including mainly the civil war of England. Another sad yet true historical part of the castle is what took place in 1190 when the fortress was only that of wood. The town rallied together against the Jewish community and the Jewish community took refuge in the tower and instead of going into the angry mob man committed suicide by setting the tower on fire. Some did survive but were horribly mutilated by the mob, the punishment was a mere raise in taxes on the citizens. It was a great place to stand and look out on the city and the story behind it makes it a very powerful place.
About this time I was hungry so I found this nice little place called Castlegate 31 which had a very good vegetarian chili, on rice which was different but full of flavor!
After lunch was the Jorvik Viking Center! After only a short wait in line I was in and the main feature to the museum is a sort of amusement park ride through “Viking York” or what would have been known as Jorvik (pronounced like a “Y”instead of a “J”). The great part of this was that a) the mannequins moved, b) they talked in the viking language, c) the smells that were mixed in really helped with the sensory, 3-D experience. You were then dropped off into the rooms that held many of the artifacts that were found on that spot in the last 40 years. They also had a sister sight that was the modern dig sight that I unfortunately did not get to see. It was a fun little side trip, actually what I cam for York for, it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be but the York Castle Museum truly made up for whatever I was disappointed by.
After a quick cup of coffee I retrieved my luggage from the Hostel and went to the train, leaving York with yet another hope of another place to return to.
And that ends another chapter. I am awfully sleepy and they’re having a wedding something downstairs, a young french couple, so my computer spot has been booted! I am however in Edinburgh tonight and will write on it tomorrow. =D
Peace and Love,