11 May 2013
England just gets better and better everyday! We spent the afternoon and evening in the beautiful city of York, England’s old capital. It is one of the few walled cities left in England, one of the few left in Europe for that matter. As we drove up to the wall surrounding the city I knew that this was going to be one of my favorite stops thus far. Everything about York is stunning. It’s ancient wall and gatehouses, the Minster Cathedral in the city center, and the beautiful cobblestone streets lined with little shops and restaurants all added to the charm of the city.
A Minster was a church whose main purpose was to teach missionaries. I believe the Minster in York is one of the largest remaining in England, and one of the few in Europe to be preserved so magnificently. It was quite breathtaking to view the large cathedral from on top the castle wall. Each twist and turn of the structure contains beautiful and intricate designs that must have taken years and years to complete. I have been amazed and how detailed structures such as these are. It is as if the architects and designers take vivid human emotion and turn it in to physical matter.
Being able to understand how human emotion relates to everything in the world, nonliving and living is a talent. Being able to use this understanding to create things that benefit these people’s lives is something beyond simple talent, it is absolutely remarkable. The best creations and inventions throughout time are those that truly understand how to better serve people. There is no mystery in successful innovation, you must understand people and discover what it is they need. The solution is not the mystery, it is the problem that must be pinned down and nailed. As Albert Einstein said “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”
I have quite the fascination for walled cities. They are filled with such charm and ladened with charismatic stories that lie within their protective walls. As we walked parts of the city wall I realized that sometimes instead of being in the hustle and bustle of life, I need to take a look it from a different perspective, from higher ground. Being able to see the city from above let me see soak in its beauty and splendor as a completed picture instead of individual snapshots to be pieced together by my mind’s eye. It really was an incredible feeling-seeing not only York in a different light, but realizing that my life should be viewed from my personal city wall. Taking a step up and focusing on the bigger picture of what my true potential can be.
Bakeries. Europe is known for their delicious baked goods, and England is no exception. We bought a box of Macrons (not Macroons, as that name details a similar pastry with coconut) and savored over their perfect texture and taste. They were incredible, but the box they came in was so fancy I didn’t know whether I wanted a Macron or the box more!
I have experienced a variety of foods since I have been here in England ranging from Korean to traditional English dishes, but surprisingly and luckily Italian ranks top on my list. Today we ate at Mama Mia’s, a cozy little cuisine in the heart of York. While the food was delicious, I couldn’t help but fall head over heals for our cute Italian waiter. He had every category nailed, tall, dark, handsome, and of course spoke with that dazzling Italian accent. I was proud of myself for ordering not just water, but still water and was a little more prepared when I received again an exquisite glass bottle of water. This water was different though because it was “genuinely” imported from Italia. Can I say, Mama Mia! Let me just say that I drank it fast so the Italian boy would have a reason to come back to our table. As the Brits would say, I was a bit squee! (fan-girlish)
After our lovely Italian dinner, we took a ghost walk tour of the city. It was really cold and Alyssa and I bundled up in everything we had…little did we realize that we stood out like sore thumbs. Why, might you ask? Let me just say that we called each other walking highlighter and fluorescent sharpie for the rest of the evening. I swear everyone else was wearing black…ummm why we didn’t get the memo that was mandatory for “ghost walks”…
When we arrived back home in Harrogate it was late, but John had me set on learning to make bread with him. How could I resist lessons from such a great baker as him! As he verbally guided me along, I proceeded to make a soft and simple dough that can be used for nan, pita, or pizza breads. Tomorrow we will use the bread to make pitas for our afternoon lunch before we head out on our new adventure. It was great fun and I learned a ton…watch out Julia Childs, this girl is learning to bake!
Connie, John, and Alyssa have taught me a lot about what it truly means to give. They have not only shared their time and talents with me, they have taught me what it means to truly love everyone. My week in England has been fabulous, all thanks to them. Thank you Alexander Family.