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Traveling: Crossings

Friday, August 18, 2017 - 07:42

Thursday was both leisurely and taken up entirely by travel. After a lazy breakfast, I could the train from Deventer at 11am. Local to Schiphol, then the Thalys to Brussels, the Eurostar to London, one train up to York, then a change for the last leg to Durham. The changes all had plenty of time to find my platform, but never really enough time to stop and look around or do more than grab something to eat later on the train. At King's Cross Station I didn't feel like there was enough time to go slip through the door at platform 9-3/4 (which would have totally screwed up my travel plans, in any event), and yet somehow today I found myself within the walls of Hogwarts in any case:

Which is, of course, actually the cloister of Durham Cathedral. Today I got a walking tour all over the cathedral, castle/university, and city center, including a few locations (like the Senior Commons Room) that came courtey of being hosted by university faculty. Central Durham is another great example of integrating older buildings with a vibrant thriving town center. One fellow passing by who heard me being given a tourist lecture told us about how great it was that the shops and buildings were occupied and open now, and that when he was younger so many of the old buildings were boarded up. When you hear people talking about the world going downhill, I think it's important to take note of all the success stories you see of urban revivial and the ability to have the best of both the past and the present. Like the way that so much of the Bailey area in Durham is a living part of the university.

We adjourned for late lunch in a cafe as my feet were beginning to flag. Keeping up with the energy of someone as young as Gwen it quite an undertaking! But the city is full of lovely walks, with wild blackberries and plums for the picking, and people lazily rowing past in boats, and the cobbled streets full of tourists and shoppers. We have a pencilled-in plan to all go to York on Sunday, since my interest was a good excuse for the whole family to do some sightseeing. Tomorrow may be a bit more leisurely.

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