In December of 2005, I was joined by one of my travel buddies, Tim and we took a road trip through the Northern United Kingdom. We each picked a few “must see” destinations and plotted a route that hit one per day. I selected the town of Durham, and in particular the Cathedral.
This World Heritage Site has the oldest surviving stone vaults in the world. But for me, the Cathedral buff, what I find most exciting is the Romanesque style columns and round arches in the nave that is topped with pointed Gothic style arches in the vaults. As a lover of early church architecture, this space is absolutely magical.
This impressive door knocker is located on the Sanctuary Door. Before 1624, people had the right to seek sanctuary for up to 37 days. Monks would keep watch for people approaching the door and would respond quickly to the knock. If someone had committed a major crime, and if they made it into the Cathedral, they were guaranteed a temporary home while they figured out their situation. Often there were people in pursuit so those monks had to answer the door quickly!
Photography inside of the Cathedral is prohibited. I only got a few gloomy outdoor photos, on that drizzling December day.
One of my goals for this trip was to experience lots of different styles of lodgings. Over the course of the trip, we stayed in cute B&B’s, a swanky hotel, cheap drive-up motels, and this amazing pub! You can still find pubs with accommodations above through the UK and it was fun to end the day with a pint and hang out in our temporary living room. However, if you stay in a pub, don’t expect to get to be early. I made quite a splash as an American staying in such a “locals” place. The accent in this part of the UK was challenging for me, but that was part of the magic!
In the morning, we had a great breakfast and it was bright enough to catch the yellow and red color scheme and traditional sign.