Monday, 5 December 2011
PLACES: DURHAM CITY -THE CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
Ironically the day after I put up a post in which I said I hardly ever went anywhere, Susan and I paid a visit to the Durham City Christmas Festival. Okay, this was hardly a great effort as Durham is barely 20 minutes drive away and mostly along dual carriageways, plus, to coin a phrase, the city itself is absolutely fabulous.
Don't take my word, take that of American writer and anglophile's Bill Bryson who came and saw and fell in love with the place. In one of his books about travelling in the UK, when he comes to write about Durham, he insists you stop reading and go visit the city and he wasn't entirely joking. You've got the cathedral itself which is one of the most beautiful and inspiring cathedrals in the world (and that is most emphatically not an exaggeration) which is now nearly a thousand years old. It's perched, next to Durham Castle, on the top of a hill, around which wind streets that curl down to the River Wear which almost entirely encircles the base. The old streets themselves, still cobbled, are packed with restaurants, cafes, bars, bookshops etc. The walk along the river bank at the bottom is lovely no matter what the season. See for yourself.
But Susan and I were there for the Christmas festival, specifically that humongous tent in front of the cathedral in the first photo. Inside it contains a vast range of stalls selling all kinds of arts and craft items, clothing, food, and drink -a great place to spend lots of money on things for yourself and on Christmas presents for others. We must have spent an hour browsing before, laden down with goodies, we went inside the cathedral to the tea room for coffee, plus a cheese scone and a slice of lemon cake which we shared. After that we wandered slowly down the narrow streets to our car and then home.
You still here?
Oh right, you were wondering what fabulous things we bought at the festival. Well, Susan bought one fancy Christmas card and I bought two pies -a layered game pie and a layered pork with chicken, both wrapped in tasty crusty pastry and delicious they were too.