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Old November 11th, 2011, 08:14 PM   #341
600West218
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PortoNuts View Post
Another great day! Sheffield looks so neat. I'm very fond of big machinery.

Good work!
Yeah, the first day I was there my impression was quite negative. High street was not anything special. I thought to myself "this is so ugly it could almost be an American city".

But then when I had more time I saw some of the nicer places. I wish I had another day there to check out more of the city.

Also, I didn't see any really big shopping areas in the center like Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds all had. On the other hand it is super close to the Peaks District which as someone who likes to hike would be nice.
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Old November 11th, 2011, 08:37 PM   #342
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I can't help thinking you're being a little harsh on the US and its cities, I've only visited once but i found some great cities and had a great time!
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Old November 11th, 2011, 09:09 PM   #343
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Originally Posted by Steel City Suburb View Post
Its the Walkabout on Carver St, unsure about any murders...

Its pretty popular, on Sheffields main 'strip' (West St)
I'm beginning to think that it might have been in Bristol
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Old November 11th, 2011, 10:40 PM   #344
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Originally Posted by Jonesy55 View Post
I can't help thinking you're being a little harsh on the US and its cities, I've only visited once but i found some great cities and had a great time!
My guess you went to very large cities or very touristy cities - ie, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, etc. Yes, those cities will have some life to them.

But remember, these English cities aren't tourist cities, they are just regular cities. Nor are Liverpool, Leeds or Sheffield big. In terms of metro population they are rather small. Yet they have a vitality to them that only much larger or specifically tourist oriented cities in the US would have.

For instance, Liverpool with 1 million people has more street life and vitality than places in the US like Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Detroit, Philly, etc. even though those metro areas have 5 times as many people. Don't even think of comparing Liverpool with an American city of its own size like Buffalo, Memphis, Richmond, Columbus, San Antonio and on and on. A normal American metro area of the same size as Liverpool or Leeds has no where's near the same level of vitality.

If nothing else made an impression on me during this trip it was that. I was really, really impressed with how nice and big cityish these places felt while at the same time being small enough to still be livable.
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Old November 11th, 2011, 11:32 PM   #345
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Did you mean Wallonia? I've been in some area's yes but things like you showed us you will never see in Belgium. Some Flemisch cities have indsutrial buildings that have been saved, mainly along innercity channels, looking a lot like some of your pics. In Wallonia, the old industry stayed operating for a long time. Afther that the buildings now just lay empty en are crumbling and in very bad shape. The old mines in Wallonia are almost all demolished and the steel mills stayed operating for a long time so they where modernised untill the 50ties or so and are no longer authenthic. Now they are just ruins of steel.

There is still more things to see than that in Wallonia. For instance the Old Boat Lifts on the Canal du Centre are the only one in the world still working with their original pieces and are even Unesco World heritage site (http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=canal%20du%20centre). Then you also have several exemple of mining or industrial complex built next to a planned-town for the workers like Grand Hornu (http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&...d+hornu&m=text) or Bois-du-Luc (http://www.ecomuseeboisduluc.be/). And finally you have numerous sites who have been turn into industry museum (like Bois du Cazier among many others) or attraction. But yes, Wallonia is short of money and industrial patrimony is certainly not the first place to spend it. They are indeed places who looks a bit neglected (like this nice plant in Cheratte: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmdrcord/4483610945/) but saying that everything is ruined or demolished is unfair. It's just that we have way to much industrial areas and we can't take care of everything nowadays.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 12:01 AM   #346
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218

My guess you went to very large cities or very touristy cities - ie, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, etc. Yes, those cities will have some life to them.

But remember, these English cities aren't tourist cities, they are just regular cities. Nor are Liverpool, Leeds or Sheffield big. In terms of metro population they are rather small. Yet they have a vitality to them that only much larger or specifically tourist oriented cities in the US would have.

For instance, Liverpool with 1 million people has more street life and vitality than places in the US like Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Detroit, Philly, etc. even though those metro areas have 5 times as many people. Don't even think of comparing Liverpool with an American city of its own size like Buffalo, Memphis, Richmond, Columbus, San Antonio and on and on. A normal American metro area of the same size as Liverpool or Leeds has no where's near the same level of vitality.

If nothing else made an impression on me during this trip it was that. I was really, really impressed with how nice and big cityish these places felt while at the same time being small enough to still be livable.
It's true that many US city centres seem to die once the offices close despite looking big and busy with lots of tall buildings (even small cities seem to have skyscraper type buildings downtown over there!). But i still enjoyed many of them, NYC, Annapolis, DC, New Orleans, Galveston, Austin, SF etc and the scenery in between them is usually stunning
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Old November 12th, 2011, 02:37 AM   #347
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wow, just wow. Spent most my night discovering this thread. its compelling...
More!
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Old November 12th, 2011, 03:38 AM   #348
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
My guess you went to very large cities or very touristy cities - ie, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, etc. Yes, those cities will have some life to them.

But remember, these English cities aren't tourist cities, they are just regular cities. Nor are Liverpool, Leeds or Sheffield big. In terms of metro population they are rather small. Yet they have a vitality to them that only much larger or specifically tourist oriented cities in the US would have.

For instance, Liverpool with 1 million people has more street life and vitality than places in the US like Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Detroit, Philly, etc. even though those metro areas have 5 times as many people. Don't even think of comparing Liverpool with an American city of its own size like Buffalo, Memphis, Richmond, Columbus, San Antonio and on and on. A normal American metro area of the same size as Liverpool or Leeds has no where's near the same level of vitality.

If nothing else made an impression on me during this trip it was that. I was really, really impressed with how nice and big cityish these places felt while at the same time being small enough to still be livable.

IMO (population wise!) it looks that way partly because provincial British cities are divided up into parochial, self serving fiefdoms, each eager to protect their own identity and serve their own interests. There are lots of little towns, some dating back to the doomsday book, or for various other regions, like insurance premiums, who want to feel like seperate entities. In reality though, Liverpool, for example, functionally serves an area of around 2 million, and together with Manchester, which is only "up the road", sits in probably the second most heavily populated area in the UK. Together, the two cities service a population, by various means, maybe around 5 million, when you factor in parts of Cheshire, Wales, etc....
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Old November 12th, 2011, 04:55 AM   #349
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
My guess you went to very large cities or very touristy cities - ie, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, etc. Yes, those cities will have some life to them.

But remember, these English cities aren't tourist cities, they are just regular cities. Nor are Liverpool, Leeds or Sheffield big. In terms of metro population they are rather small. Yet they have a vitality to them that only much larger or specifically tourist oriented cities in the US would have.

For instance, Liverpool with 1 million people has more street life and vitality than places in the US like Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Detroit, Philly, etc. even though those metro areas have 5 times as many people. Don't even think of comparing Liverpool with an American city of its own size like Buffalo, Memphis, Richmond, Columbus, San Antonio and on and on. A normal American metro area of the same size as Liverpool or Leeds has no where's near the same level of vitality.

If nothing else made an impression on me during this trip it was that. I was really, really impressed with how nice and big cityish these places felt while at the same time being small enough to still be livable.
I think you have to take into account that US cities are spread out much more than English and indeed European cities and hence the reliance on the car, the commute to the burbs and the city centre falling asleep at night. In England cities are more dense and compact, making for busier street life, where people can walk or catch convenient public transport to places. There are of course exceptions in both countries, and one must also consider other social (eg, 'white-flight' xenophobia, urban poor in the inner-city) environmental (eg vehicle infrastructure, suburban development) and economic (better incomes for larger homes on large allotments) reasons to why this occured. Many American cities embraced 'road culture' to the detriment of the city centre and its vitality. A movement espoused by Robert Moses of NYC with his signature motorwys or 'parkways' as he called them, creating extensive infrastructure to cater for vehicles, and in the process killing the social-life, the buzz of the walking, human-scale, mixed-use city. Jane Jacobs writes about this in her very telling book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. I highly recommend you read it, if you want to understand what's happened to American cities, but also read about the New Urbanism movement, which is giving new hope to the resuscitation of US cities.

Finally, if you like the vitality of English cities, you're in for a real treat if you hit the continent of Europe, where English cities seem somewhat sleepy in comparison to them. I'd highly recommend Paris, and most French, Italian or Spanish cities, and especially Istanbul. These are my top fifteen favourite lively cities in Europe: Istanbul, Paris, Nice, Rome, Milan, Bologna, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Salamanca, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin and Vienna.

I could name another fifty lively cities, but consider them and I assure you, you're in for a treat.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 05:19 AM   #350
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoshef View Post
IMO (population wise!) it looks that way partly because provincial British cities are divided up into parochial, self serving fiefdoms, each eager to protect their own identity and serve their own interests. There are lots of little towns, some dating back to the doomsday book, or for various other regions, like insurance premiums, who want to feel like seperate entities. In reality though, Liverpool, for example, functionally serves an area of around 2 million, and together with Manchester, which is only "up the road", sits in probably the second most heavily populated area in the UK. Together, the two cities service a population, by various means, maybe around 5 million, when you factor in parts of Cheshire, Wales, etc....
Yes, you have a point there. If you go back to my Leeds pictures I have one in a hospital of a poster appealing to keep a heart surgery unit open. I think they were saying it served an area of 14 million people.

And you could almost consider Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, and maybe some other places as one big urban conglomeration. You could certainly live in Leeds or Liverpool and work in Manchester. In fact, I know of people that live so far outside of NYC it takes them more time to get to work here in NYC than it would take to go from Liverpool to Leeds.

Nevertheless, even when it came to nightlife and shopping, where generally people stay closer to home, it was amazing all the street life.

Whatever the cause, it is great and the English should make sure they keep it that way.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 05:28 AM   #351
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skymantle View Post
I think you have to take into account that US cities are spread out much more than English and indeed European cities and hence the reliance on the car, the commute to the burbs and the city centre falling asleep at night. In England cities are more dense and compact, making for busier street life, where people can walk or catch convenient public transport to places. There are of course exceptions in both countries, and one must also consider other social (eg, 'white-flight' xenophobia, urban poor in the inner-city) environmental (eg vehicle infrastructure, suburban development) and economic (better incomes for larger homes on large allotments) reasons to why this occured. Many American cities embraced 'road culture' to the detriment of the city centre and its vitality. A movement espoused by Robert Moses of NYC with his signature motorwys or 'parkways' as he called them, creating extensive infrastructure to cater for vehicles, and in the process killing the social-life, the buzz of the walking, human-scale, mixed-use city. Jane Jacobs writes about this in her very telling book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. I highly recommend you read it, if you want to understand what's happened to American cities, but also read about the New Urbanism movement, which is giving new hope to the resuscitation of US cities.
Yes, all of that is absolutely true. Sadly, it would be next to impossible to reverse that. Plus, at least in the US we go through cycles were people like cities and then they hate cities. We've been in a very pro city cycle for about 20 years. I bet that is about to change again, especially given the economic problems, and there will probably be flight out of the cities. Just my guess anyways.


Quote:
Originally Posted by skymantle View Post
Finally, if you like the vitality of English cities, you're in for a real treat if you hit the continent of Europe, where English cities seem somewhat sleepy in comparison to them. I'd highly recommend Paris, and most French, Italian or Spanish cities, and especially Istanbul. These are my top fifteen favourite lively cities in Europe: Istanbul, Paris, Nice, Rome, Milan, Bologna, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Salamanca, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin and Vienna.

I could name another fifty lively cities, but consider them and I assure you, you're in for a treat.

I've been to Italy and it was very nice but I don't speak Italian, they don't speak English generally, and hence while the cities were lively I couldn't partake in any of the liveliness. In England I could have a brief conversation with the person selling me coffee and donuts in the morning, and that really does make a huge difference, at least to me. Imagine, in England when I went to museums not only could I read everything but I could ask questions of the people who were running machines and had great conversations with them. In Italy and France that will be hard to do, and maybe even in Germany too.

I do speak Spanish so I am looking forward to Spain. It is definitely high on my "to visit" list.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 06:25 AM   #352
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Yes, all of that is absolutely true. Sadly, it would be next to impossible to reverse that.
Never say never. Yes you can, where there's a will there's a way. Plus, necessity will dictate the move to more environmentally sustainable, and hence lively cities in the future, that's my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
Plus, at least in the US we go through cycles were people like cities and then they hate cities. We've been in a very pro city cycle for about 20 years. I bet that is about to change again, especially given the economic problems, and there will probably be flight out of the cities. Just my guess anyways.
Interesting. I suppose people will go where the jobs are.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
I've been to Italy and it was very nice but I don't speak Italian, they don't speak English generally, and hence while the cities were lively I couldn't partake in any of the liveliness.
Language can indeed be a barrier, but I don't speak Italian either and I didn't have a problem connecting with people. Some spoke English and I also had the opportunity to meet other travellers and we'd get by somehow. Also, for me at least, Italian is like the easiest language to pick up. You just add a vowel to the end of an English word and chances are you're right. Italian essentially is the roots of the English language after all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
In England I could have a brief conversation with the person selling me coffee and donuts in the morning, and that really does make a huge difference, at least to me.
Different people have different experiences. I stayed near Gloucester Rd Sth Kensington, London last year and all the coffee shops had Polish and other eastern European attendants and I couldn't get a converstaion out of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
Imagine, in England when I went to museums not only could I read everything but I could ask questions of the people who were running machines and had great conversations with them. In Italy and France that will be hard to do, and maybe even in Germany too.
Perhaps, but the challenge is half the fun if you ask me, and to be honest there was no shortage of English speakers when I was in Germany and France last year, especially compared to Italy and Spain. Many museums throughout Europe also have descriptions in English, as they've come to accept that it's the lingua franca of the world these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
I do speak Spanish so I am looking forward to Spain. It is definitely high on my "to visit" list.
Well if you Speak Spanish then I'm a bit surprised you couldn't get by somehow in Italy, considering how similar the languages are. My little Italian got me through Spain. Anyway, Spain is sensational, arguably the most interesting country in Europe, with a plethora of attractions, especially art and architecture, including re-adaptive use industrial sites, such as you'll find in in Bilbao and elsewhere, including converted railway stations, shipyards and warehouses. Spain has Europe's most lively cities, I think most Europeans would agree, staying that way well into the late night, with one to suit every taste; from grand to cosy, grungy to elegant, exotic to belle epoque, atmospheric to ultra-modern etc.


Back to your great pictures and comments.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 07:08 AM   #353
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On the following day, Thursday, it was time to head to York. This would be my main concession to doing touristy stuff, though I had heard they also have a good steam locomotive musuem there. Before leaving Sheffield my hosts convinced me that travelling to Durham would be more practical and interesting than going to Whitby, which is what I had originally planned.

I went back to the center, caught a train, and off I was.

The first pictures are blurry and have the sun generated reflection that would not go away but as we discussed this interesting two level highway I’ll post them anyways.

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Notice that not only is it two levels but both levels are elevated off the ground.

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Further north, maybe a half hour out of Sheffield (I don’t remember exactly) the train went by a large number of massive power plant cooling towers and smoke stacks.

I was seated on the right hand side but I could see these on the left hand side:

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And then on the right hand side, at the same time, this is what we were going by:

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So in other words, we were passing a whole line of massive power plants all in very close proximity to each other. Although in the US those types of cooling towers you only see with nuclear power plants I am told all these were regular thermal plants.

In total I am counting 14 cooling tower that we were passing. An impressive and amazing sight.

In short order the train arrived in York which had a nice, if not very large train station:

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ok, it looks like the English flag on top. Not sure what the other coat of arms are.

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Turns out it is an old station.

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I dropped of my bag in the bag storage area and set off to see York.

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It is a walled city and this was my first glimpse of the wall:

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I actually didn’t have a hotel lined up and needed a place to stay but this looked like it would be out of my price range:

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How does anyone sign a lease for 500 years??

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An old building that is probably very new by York standards:

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The Minster dead ahead:

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Saw lots of school children in uniforms. Don’t know if that means they go to a private school, or if public schools wear uniforms as well.

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Sort of interesting that you would see soldiers and about 20 machine guns outside a church. Clearly there was some special event taking place. In fact, the Minster was off limits to the public until 3 pm.

The more you look at this the more amazing details there are:

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Given that I couldn’t go inside the Minster until much later I decided to wander the old streets of York.

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A tudor building so old its sagging:

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Truthfully, I wasn’t impressed with the center of York. It was way to touristy and commercial for me. It was sort of like 5th New York meets tudor England and that makes for an ugly hybrid. To me it completely lacked authenticity and as you know by now if you follow this thread authenticity is what I like - not put ons to entertain tourists.

Anyways, I made it back to the front of the Minster which was still not open to the public. Turns out they were having ceremonies to honor the French Airmen of WW2. They had a small parade of British veterans and some active military units.

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I am guessing there are members of the Royal Airforce.

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Maybe these were some French who were invited? Don’t really know.

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These were some cadets of high school age.

Then there were some military flyovers.

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There were actually modern (and very loud) jet fighters that flew over before these but I didn’t get a picture of them.

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Pretty sure that is a WW2 British Lancaster bomber. Now I can say I’ve seen one.

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Then I decided to walk back to the train station as that was near the train museum which I thought I’d see while waiting for the Minster to open. On the way I went by some interesting ruins.

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You can walk on the wall and I did that for a bit.

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Funny looking busses by the train station:

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I then walked over to the Steam Railroad museum. It was a brilliant museum. In fact, it was probably the biggest and most comprehensive museum of the trip. For a true rail enthusaist it would be worth crossing the Atlantic just for this.

Unfortunately, two things prevented me from really taking in this museum. One was that I was simply museumed out after nearly two weeks of visiting museum after museums. The second was that I was pressed for time as I knew I had to get back to the minster to see it when it was opened to the public plus I still had to find a place to spend the night. Still, I spent about 2 hours in the museum and this is some of what I saw there:

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Look how tall the smoke stack is!!

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They had an excellent cut away steam locomotive so you could see all its inner workings. They have one of these at “SteamTown” in Scranton (BTW, this museum in York is MUCH bigger than Steam Town) but it was nice to see it here also.

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This is the work area where they refurbish trains:

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I then left the museum in a rush to get to the Minster. However, I saw some more beautiful emergency vehicles so I had to stop and get some pics.

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It is interesting that they don’t seem to use one brand in particular for police cars. I’ve seen BMWs, Ford, Cheverolet, and some other makes used as police cars in England.

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Note the metal screen that can slide down over the windshield. I guess that is for protection during riots.

I made it to the Minster and went in. Of course, the lighting was very poor so I couldn’t get many pictures but I got a few.

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I then headed back out and did a bit more sight seeing.

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A French flag flying over the Minster. People in York said they had never seen that before.

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I finally booked a room at the tourist information site and started heading over to it.

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Once again it had been a very long day and it was good to get in my own room and get some sleep.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 01:36 PM   #354
openlyJane
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Most primary school children ( 7 - 11 years old) wear uniforms in Britain - both public and private; and all secondary school pupils too ( 11- 16 years old).
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Old November 12th, 2011, 01:43 PM   #355
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I wouldn't say York is inauthentic, its just of a different era to the other cities you visited with a different historical makeup and different purpose. More great photos again!
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Old November 12th, 2011, 04:35 PM   #356
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York is very authentic and with an invaluable collection of old buildings but yes, I agree that it probably tries too hard to please visitors and gets too touristy.

But the Minster looks better the more you look at it and the museum seems worth it.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 05:16 PM   #357
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The North of England never looked so good, so much better than the South.

Most importantly, the people are better. South = Tory voter.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 05:37 PM   #358
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albionfagan View Post
The North of England never looked so good, so much better than the South.

Most importantly, the people are better. South = Tory voter.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 05:39 PM   #359
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Yes, I guess the proper word isn't inauthentic. Obviously the buildings are nice and very much real.

But the commercialism and obvious catering to tourists are just not my cup of tea.

Also, a big factor was that I was simply quite tired and worn down by the time I got there.

Finally, I really love Victorian era buildings and industrial museums and that is not what York is about.

So I really don't mean to dissuade anyone from going to York, it is a great pace and depending on your interests can be fantastic.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 05:50 PM   #360
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York is an incredible beauty!
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