First, we drove down to York but stopped in several towns along the way, one of which was Durham. We saw the Durham Cathedral and walked around the university. The cathedral was so big that we couldn't get it all into one picture very well. We went over and walked around the castle then down into town. After having a bite to eat we headed out towards York. Once we got to York we drove to our bed and breakfast to check in then quickly headed out to walk around the town. York was the most amazing place. First of all, it is an ancient city and the ancient city walls still surround the city (which you can walk on as the old city guards would have). We walked all the way around the city on the walls which was very cool to us. We couldn't believe that what we were walking on was ancient! The picture of Andy alone is when we were on the city wall by a guard tower. Also, the York Minster is there. Now that was a sight to see. York Minster is a huge cathedral that towers over the city and was built beginning in 1087 (that's right, almost 1000 years ago!). We took the guided tour of York Minster and learned about all the history and age of the buildings. We thought it was quite funny when we got to one of the rooms in the Minster and the guide started off by saying, "nothing in this room is old......there was a fire and it had to be reconstructed......in the 1800s". Now, the 1800s have always been considered old to us. Although since we get to see things from the 900s, 1000s, 1100s, etc. our perspectives have changed on what old is. Most of the stained glass in the Minster is original and we thought it was interesting that in order to save the original stained glass from being destroyed back during World War II they removed it all piece by piece and buried it underground. It was later put back into the window frames (Which was quite a task considering only one of the windows is the size of a tennis court). Directly across from York Minster is the church where Guy Fawkes was baptized. Guy Fawkes was the man who was killed back in the 1500s for almost blowing up parliament because Catholics (which he was) were being persecuted and the King had betrayed them (V for Vendetta...anyone?). Another fact for you...November 4th is Guy Fawkes or Bonfire night here (people make bonfires down at the beach and set off fireworks to remember that Guy Fawkes did not succeed. Some celebrate that we should always hold government to account). That night after we had been walking around for a few hours we decided to get something to eat but nothing we found was serving food anymore (this was about 9pm). We both started to get grumpy until we finally found an Italian restaurant where we filled ourselves up. The next morning after breakfast we walked around town some more just so we could take some more pictures and get a better look at everything. The town, as you can imagine, is simply filled with beauty and history. By the way, York is the town where Constantine the Great's British coronation was held. They just celebrated the 1700th anniversary.
On our way out of York we saw a sign for an ancient church so we stopped to check it out. Part of the building was from 95o! Amazing...we love history! As we drove over to Austwick (that's the village the wedding was in which is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park) we stopped in a couple towns to see castles or anything that looked like it might be interesting. Once we got to Austwick we checked into our B&B then walked around the village. It really is a proper village, so quaint. The amount of stone fences in that area is unbelievable. It's so pretty. The picture of me alone is where I'm sitting on a stone bridge in the middle of the farmland. It was really peaceful there. That night we drove to Settle which is the neighboring town (6 miles away) for dinner. The menu said that they sold "milkshakes with real ice cream" which is a big deal because they don't sell proper American milkshakes over here. They're usually milk that's flavored and literally shaken. So we ordered a strawberry milkshake and it came out as strawberry flavored milk with 2 scoops of ice cream in it. We got a good laugh out of that...all hopes of a good milkshake shattered. On the way to Settle you have to drive through a town called Giggleswick which we just loved because the name is so funny. The next day was the wedding and Andy did a Scripture reading in the ceremony. It was a lovely ceremony full of big hats, feathers, kilts and hymns. We were the only Americans there and once Andy opened his mouth to do the reading he had won the hearts of all in attendance. They (by they, I mean pretty much everyone) LOVED his accent, thought it was "lovely," wanted to keep hearing him talk, etc. Right after the wedding we all walked out of the church to the tune of a bagpiper and were piped down the road as we all walked to the hotel where the reception was. First we were greeted on the front lawn with Pimms and lemonade (a popular summer drink here) where we stayed for about an hour just mingling then we made our way inside for the speeches. Speeches are given first by the groom where he has to say, "my wife and I" for the first time and everyone applauds, then by the Father of the Bride where he has to thank certain people and make a sentimental toast, finally by the Best Man where he has to thank the bridesmaids and come up with a funny, heartfelt toast to the new couple. After the speeches we mingled some more until dinner was ready. After dinner we mingled some more until finally they broke out the dance floor. Then we danced into the night (and morning), then eventually made our way back to the B&B to sleep. We both danced all night but Andy really was the life of the party. There was one boy there (about 11 years old) that followed Andy around all night and did every dance move exactly as Andy did it. Now, usually it's me pulling Andy out on the dance floor but not that night! At one point he said to me, "we're the only Americans here, we've got to represent".