Durham Cathedral

I should have been writing my dissertation, but it was a gorgeous day and I just couldn’t sit at my desk any longer. I only had three days remaining before I left Newcastle, and a whole bucket list full of things I hadn’t seen yet.

Sometimes a girl just has to throw caution to the wind and buy a train ticket, and that’s exactly what I did.

The city of Durham sits on a curve of the River Wear, about ten minutes south of Newcastle by train. It’s home to one of the top universities in England, and that same university has a library named for Bill Bryson, one of my favorite authors. (He wrote A Walk in the Woods, which was adapted into a movie last year.)

I met up with Mo and our friend Tarn and together, we explored Durham’s historic high street. The crowds were out enjoying the sunshine, walking their dogs, and taking in the window displays at all the little shops. The busker in that photo was quite good so I gave him £1 and went away feeling smug for supporting an independent artist.

The three of us walked up the hill to see Durham Cathedral and the Castle. Unfortunately, the Castle was closed for graduation ceremonies, but we were able to visit the Cathedral.

And then we weren’t allowed to take photos inside the sanctuary, which was understandable but a total bummer nonetheless. But thanks to Wikipedia, you can still see what the nave looked like:

“Durham Cathedral. Interior” by Oliver Bonjoch. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

The Cathedral was one of the most spiritual places I visited in England. There was a choir practicing, and their harmony filled the rafters and my soul alike. I’ll admit that it doesn’t take much to make me weepy—for crying out loud, I bawl every time I watch any Budweiser Clydesdale commercial—but I was definitely misty-eyed pretty much the entire time we walked around inside. Words really can’t do it justice. Of all the cathedrals I’ve visited, Durham was my favorite—hands down.

We could, however, take pictures in the Cloister, which was also beautiful. It also might look a little familiar, if we have any Harry Potter fans in the house. Remember this famous scene?

Yep, that’s Durham Cathedral.

I wish I’d made time to visit Durham earlier in the year, when I might have had more time to explore. But I’m really glad I took a break from homework to go visit for even a few hours. It was the perfect diversion, and the peace and quiet was good for my dissertation anxiety.

What have you crossed off your bucket list lately?

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