Durham, England: We found our way out of our room this morning and met Kelsey, Brian, Ailise and Kathy at the Durham Cathedral for a tour, led by Brian. (Brian is a PhD candidate in medieval archeology at Durham University.)

Just for fun, here is the route to our hotel room:

The route starts up a pretty (ancient) staircase…

then a turn, another turn,
and finally this wide stairwell leads to a long, narrow staircase…

Then down a long, narrow hallway, through a little zig-zag and then a right turn…

through a doorway, down a few more steps and another long hall,
then down three steps, left turn and up three steps…

To finally reach our room at the end of this hall!

By the time we reach our room, it is time to go out again. The amazing thing is the slant of the halls and the incredible creaky floor boards! No sneaking-around in this hotel.

Pretty Durham – we’ve lost our sunny weather!

Durham Cathedral (and Castle) are the showcase of this pretty university town. (The castle was closed to the public today for a wedding, and photography is not allowed inside the Cathedral.) Built as a monastic cathedral, beginning in 1093, the cathedral is a rare example of a church constructed using only one style of architecture – in this case, Norman.

Kelsey & Ailise | Shakespeare Pub (haunted)
Burger cart outside the castle | English phone booth
Entrance to the cathedral | Door knocker on Cathedral

The cathedral is an integral part of the University. Many University functions, including graduation, are held inside the church. Several scenes from the Harry Potter movies were filmed in the cathedral and other nearby buildings in the complex.

Durham Cathedral

After our tour, Brian led Kathy, DT and me up 325 steps – to the top of the tower in the center of the above photo! (Smart Kelsey decided to remain at the bottom with the baby and care for our handbags.)

The 325 steps are stone, all in a circular staircase

Proof we made it to the top!

Gorgeous views in all directions

Durham Castle – part of the castle is a dormitory. The entire complex is a World Heritage site.

Views to the bell towers

Dave at the top of the Cathedral

This plaque honors John Washington, whose decent (after many generations)
became the first President of the United States.

Now part of the University library system, this beautiful room was once the dormitory for monks.

The stair climbers received stickers claiming “I climbed the tower”. Ailise thought they were delicious.

After absorbing so much information and climbing 325 stairs (and coming down 325 stairs – ouch), we were in need for lunch. Brian chose an Italian restaurant!

Good thing too – I was coming down off a pasta high.

Pretty antipasti on a wooden slab

Grandma with Ailise

Ailise

Durham Town Square (market area)

Eggs for sale in the market

After lunch, Brian took the girls for a boat ride on the River Wear

We went back to our hotel for a rest, Ailise had a nap and then we met back at the Cathedral for a very special exhibit (no photos allowed!), the Lindisfarne Gospels. Objects from the Anglo-Saxon period have been gathered and are on display in Durham, with an emphasis on ancient gospel books. The star of the show is the Lindisfarne Gospels, a handwritten – and intricately decorated – book with the gospels of Mark, Luke, Matthew and John, approximately 1300 years old.

The exhibit explores early Christianity in England and how religious books were made. It was very interesting and beautifully presented. Thank you, Dear Friends, for arranging the tickets. Learn more about the book here.

We all went to a tapas bar near our hotel for snacks and called it a night. Little girls need their beauty sleep. We returned to our hotel to find Dave’s missing suitcase had been delivered. Yes!

Pedometer: 9,394 steps and I am too tired to tick-off the final 600. Would you consider the 325 steps extra-credit?

Until my next update, I remain, your tower-capturing correspondent.

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