Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Yorkshire through Spanish Eyes

Having arrived in northern Spain from (North) Yorkshire it was interesting to see our home through Spanish eyes

Espido Freire     

Yorkshire, stone and water
Punished by rain and blizzard, this region of hard men and women in arms take holds scratches on the soul and beauty that only such a bewildering appreciate the romantic. As in Wuthering Heights, the play is that of the stage.

The county of Yorkshire no longer exists: disappeared in 1974 by an Act of Local Government, which led to North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. It does not matter too much ...
Espido Freire
Leeds, la ciudad más relevante del antiguo condado. (Foto: O. DE PABLO)
Leeds, the city's most important ancient county. (Photo: O. DE PAUL)

... As I learned in my travels, there are three ways of doing things: by hook, by crook, and the way of Whitby. And Whitby is one of the cities most representative of the character of Yorkshire. The people of this region continue talking about the county as a reality, its character as a union of almost blood. It is not worth getting lost in legal platitudes.

In another time, when the spinning of the Industrial Revolution alternated with cattle ranching, and when nevaba for months, and just snows, they say with the greatest nostalgia, only rain-durísimo Yorkshire was a place to live.Among the bandits and deserts moors inhabited the most sensible recommended for travelers to make a will before you go into them. The wind was beaten with force, garments of wool is not entirely dry during the winter and disease became more silly pests. The hospitality was as mandatory as in the middle of the Sahara: the neighbors or passers lost could die under the blizzard.

So precisely begins Wuthering Heights, the most famous novel based in Yorkshire, of Emily Brontë. Emily loved the nature of their land, and his book and his poems describe accurately without the slightest condescension its beauty and its contrasts. In this first chapter, a wandering traveler arrives at a home in which, reluctantly, hardly something you can dine and sleep until morning. Rent from another nearby farm, the farm of the rooks, and during their stay will discover this hodgepodge of brutality and passion of those who inhabit the area, to ax molded by the wind and stones.

Intense emotions. 
In Wuthering Heights, as in Yorkshire, was spurned the soft artifice that is located farther south on the lawn neat, in the delicate porcelain. The emotions, such as beer, are intense. The manners direct, frank. The young heroine, Catherine, will say, when choosing between two men: "My love for Linton is like the leaves in the woods: time will change, no doubt, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks, which are hidden beneath our feet, are cause for little pleasure for those who look, but necessary .... "

Something very similar experience when the traveler for the first time nears Yorkshire: should be warned that you may find beautiful places, that the streets of York will surprise you a classic beauty, especially in its impressive cathedral, designed to enable the soul to experience communion with all around him. You may, in a golden sunset, dotted with clouds of color and heather dyed by the crepuscular light, the impression is the perfection of a difficult match. But it will be easier to prepare for scratches on the soul, for a constant bewilderment: the type of beauty that they appreciated the romantic, too, that which does not just react, but it keeps alive the senses.

Leeds, the city most relevant, not forward all of that impression: it is a city of red brick, a paradise for those deemed incomplete without a trip purchases and without good food. In its commercial galleries can walk, eat, or take tea made with clothing and footwear brands are hard to find even in London. From Thursday to Sunday, the nightlife is so alive that even Latinos will cost them believe it. Pubs, discos, restaurants, everything is open for pleasure. The girls take very short dresses without middle entrusted in the heat of the interior.

York is also not a bad place for fun, but will appeal to those looking for something different: a drink in some of the terraces on the river port, or a dinner in the elegant bistros. It is another thing. With a historical legacy remains dazzling-Vikings, Romans, Normans, medieval ...-, their alleys, including The Shambles, have a charm that is lacking in Leeds: the stores occupy less meters and are more picturesque. York can be very expensive salirle those who enjoy an exotic touch (clothes cut in imitation of the'50s, handpainted silks) or lovers of antiques. If you really want to invest, there are jewelry, furniture and glass from all periods, rated with rigor. In the shops of old there is always something new, a new curiosity.

York is used to be the protagonist of the story. Buffeted by rain in autumn and spring, and Horadada by its two rivers, the Ouse and the Foss, has persisted as a pink stone. As Eboracum as Eoferwic or as JORVIK, was the capital of those who have conquered. Children will enjoy this journey through time that is offered as a tourist route. There are walls and doors and medieval castles and, on many occasions in the street markets that sell toys and sweets.

However, cities are those that allow minors to capture this dramatic atmosphere. It should rent a car and tour the region with a calm, open to various surprises. The cliffs of Scarborough and Whitby in the cobbled streets will give an idea close to the charm of Yorkshire.

Whitby was built around an abbey which sought to enrich themselves with taxes and the percentages of maritime trade of these ports. She was a woman, the Abbess Hilda, which organized the business with a firm hand, and who later bequeathed it to a venerable line of matriarchal princesses and aristocrats.

The ruins of the abbey crowning the city, and his feet lies the cemetery of Santa Maria, distanced itself from the docks by 199 steps: the views of the harbor, the streets with their brightly colored sea and the horizon interrupted by contrails of boats make this city one of the most beautiful of England.

Bram Stoker chose as one of his sources of inspiration: in one of the boats that docked in the area, the Demeter, came the plague vampires. The red eyes of Lucy while walking in the cemetery in ruins, storms ... are part of local folklore. Those who are interested in the Gothic movement should know that twice a year Whitby hosts a weekend dedicated to them.

Harrogate, by contrast, offers serenity. Also around are less dramatic than those that lead to Whitby: there are gentle hills covered with grass and trees, cows with Latex and square.

This is a spa town, which for centuries gained fame for its sulphurous waters. The buildings speak of the popularity it enjoyed in the early twentieth century. The European nobility came on the train from London for bathing and drinking water with a rotten egg flavor.

Even today you can drink. A couple of taps public off the scent of the devil, a sulfur spring. But the First World War began the decline of this gracious city, where luxury cars and shop windows of the first firms indicate that those who had retained. Perhaps that is why Agatha Christie, when they lost the case and nerves for adultery by her first husband, sought refuge here. And then came under a false name in one of the hotels in Harrogate, relaxed, quiet and desmemoriada.

Just a few miles from Harrogate is the Abbey of Fountain. With its imposing arches her and the drama returns. When, in the twelfth century, a handful of Benedictine monks left their monastery in York, one of them donated their protectors in this place a piece of land. With an unusual magnetism, enjoyed an unequaled splendor along 400 years. Later, the Dissolution of the Monasteries ordered that Henry VIII, sentenced her to the disappearance. Not quite: though its stones were used for other construction, the skeletal remains of the abbey. Since the mansion nearby, Studley Royal, the view seems unreal. Many castles are worth visiting. The most impressive, that of Howard, steals your breath: the lamps, stained glass primorosas, the brocade curtains of ... We wrapped it up at the exit, go back to reality.

Less spectacular, but very beautiful, Ripley Castle makes it a good number of centuries past in which religion forced to kill or die, a time of secret corridors, false doors and masses in hiding.

But Yorkshire would not be complete without a visit to the rectory where the Brontë wrote their works, and that was to die young, poor, with little glimmers of what his fame would be then.Haworth, a town of gray stone nailed to the moors, that home is home, church, cemetery at bedtime and wake up to see, and the pub which supplied drugs to his brother, his favorite.

The house crowns the main street, paved, and rises in a sea of tombstones put in place. Among those walls fraguaron are some of the best novels of modern literature. Their portraits are saved, the clock of his father, the sofa on which Emily, who had refused to receive treatment for tuberculosis, dying. The pilgrimage of readers around the world is constant, well-justified. There is an air of sadness, a certain darkness, which remains in the house, and that explains better than any lesson of literature the atmosphere of his works.

The county of Yorkshire no longer exists, but these are merely words on paper. Since the reefs of the east coast, the limit of forests in the south, on the cliffs dotted with shell or fleece wool, the fascination of this land remains intact. A region of hard men and women in arms take, survivors of the adverse conditions that turned into a haven of luxury and splendor. Catch and seduces.And care, and in its underground springs, secrets and whispers. 

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