Durham Castle and Cathedral

My flatmates and I took a day trip to Durham this past weekend, and (wow!) the town is beautiful. Highlights of our trip include strolling through the town and visiting the castle and cathedral.

When we got off the bus, we walked around a few streets full of shops until we reached a bridge with a straight view of the castle and cathedral. The streets are so colorful and inviting that I felt as though I could walk around them for ages just admiring everything. On the day we visited, the sun shone bright on the town, making the view of the castle and cathedral even more memorable.

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Flatmates on the bridge

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Durham Cathedral is extravagant, especially with its stained glass windows from up to a thousand years ago. The cathedral’s cloisters were where parts of the Harry Potter movies were filmed, so although I did not feel the magic as much as I did at Alnwick Castle, the magic was for sure in the air.

Sadly, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the cathedral or castle, but walking somewhere built a thousand years ago makes me realize how vast the world really is.

We took a tour of the castle (the cathedral was free to roam around on our own), and I realized why I usually do not take tours: they make me feel restricted. I enjoy exploring and choosing how long to enjoy a particular site, so tours that do not allow freedom to explore the site do not suit me.

Today, the castle is used as accommodation for Durham University students (how insane would it be to live in a castle?), so not many rooms were open anyway. But, from what I saw, it is still as beautiful as the rest of the town.

The castle was renovated multiple times throughout its history, which goes back over a thousand years. Our tour guide mentioned a “more recent” renovation, and then said that it happened in the 18th century, and I was a bit taken aback about how nonchalantly he threw that fact in there. Like, America was barely more than a few colonies in the 18th century, and he considers that time period recent. I guess it goes to show how different American and European cultures really are. Coming from a country without castles, I am always in awe of the extensive history in Britain, whereas many people who have lived here since they were children will walk past castles like they are no big deal.

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With its cute shops and deep history, Durham is definitely a town I would love to visit again. In the meantime, Halloween is approaching, and I plan to go all out (or as “all out” as I can) for this spooky holiday. My costumes are Three Blind Mice with two of my flatmates on Saturday and Bubbles the PowerPuff Girl for tonight and Halloween night.

Upcoming: Updates on my classes, and a mid-November trip to Amsterdam and London. Then, my winter holiday travels, which as of now include Egypt, Rome, Ireland, Scotland, France, Greece and Germany.

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