When term breaks arrive for college students, there is often a last-minute flurry of planning to arrange what to do. With the pressure of papers and exams, it is tough to make firm plans before the day arrives. The following suggestions may help in choosing where to go and avoiding the waste of precious vacation time.
York and Environs
Malhamdale is the name of the very exotic-looking, but very real, place where Harry Potter and Hermione Granger camp in their flight from Lord Voldemort.
The giant vertical blocks of rock riven with threatening fissures are called the Limestone Pavements of Malhamdale. They are just one of many beauties around York. This scenic region far to the north of England has inspired many writers as well as moviemakers.
Fans of Harry Potter will immediately recognize the exotic geology. This formation, known as the Limestone Pavements, is in the southern end of the Yorkshire Dales national park. The rock was brutally scoured by glacial action, and subsequently eroded by water infiltrating the cracks thereby exposed. This peculiarity creates more than a picturesque effect. A stream at Malham Tarn disappears between the rocks, only to erupt elsewhere at Airehead Springs.
Fans of James Herriot’s memoirs of life as a country veterinarian (All Creatures Great and Small) will delight in his Yorkshire Dales setting, including the village of Thirsk, reputed to be the real-world model for the fictional Darrowby. The novella A Month in The Country, by J.L. Carr, and the Bronte novels are additional, widely disparate examples of the Yorkshire landscape’s potent literary impact.
York itself has the Minster cathedral, and a medieval lane called the Shambles, where butchers once plied their trade. There are boat trips on the Rivers Ouse and Foss, Yorkshire Air Museum, Yorkshire Castle Museum, Howard Castle. The Merchant Adventurers Hall, is a rare example of a preserved guildhall.
All are well worth visiting!
The gritty industrial nature of this western Scottish city is no barrier to its being a center for culture, art, and good food. Glasgow has its own dialect that baffles many other Scotsmen, but the city is an easy and eminently accessible one in which to have a good and enlightening time.
The Kelvingrove Museum is very much a 19th century institution, filled with oddities and treasures such as the Clydesdale Skeleton. The massive horse fathered many foals at the turn of the century, until a cranky mare gave him a fatal kick. There are several other museums, and a concert hall, as well as many small venues for music.
Glasgow Cathedral, known as the High Kirk, dates to the 12th century, and is now among the Presbyterian denomination’s most elaborate manifestations. The sight of the ushers in formal morning dress is worth a visit. To get a good look inside another gorgeous edifice, the St. Vincent Street Church, visitors should probably sit in on a service and appreciate the Victorian architecture.
There are numerous good restaurants, especially Indian ones. Pubs may be a bit off-putting for female travelers, but they have a lively vibe. This is a pedestrian friendly city, and has good public transportation. The restoration of older buildings has revealed what a truly handsome place Glasgow is.
Fans of Jane Austen must, must, must see this marvelous watering spot of the Regency gentry. The city has been well preserved (not without controversy), and reveals a great deal about life in the 1800s. The public baths for which the city is named were a major part of life in Roman times as well, and the ruins are on display. Visitors can even sample the waters themselves once again (and need not like Austen).
Out of the houses on several curved terraces, for example, Royal Crescent, Lansdowne Crescent, and Somerset Place, one can imagine the young heroine of either Northanger Abbey or Persuasion stepping. Clad in a high-waisted Empire gown, and carrying a parasol, she might make her way to the Lower Assembly Rooms in the Pump Room at the baths. The honey-colored stone gives a unified feel to the serene Georgian architecture of these vintage buildings.
The Roman Baths, probably a religious spa, exploited a site revered by indigenous people far earlier. The Baths showcase astonishing engineering expertise. Even today, much remains of the huge pool complex exploiting the consistent flow of 115-degree water.
The very new Thermal Spa actually offers a chance to bathe in this warmth. This restores a delight that was prohibited since a dangerous bacterium was detected in the waters several decades ago.
The city has several fine museums, lovely walks, and a whole education center devoted to Miss Austen. Although she was not a fan of Bath, she, like many other authors, knew that this ancient city of Sulis was a great setting Any student of art, architecture, literature, or history should walk these streets.
Check out the last part of the article next week. If you haven’t had the chance to read the first one – you can find it here