Posts Tagged ‘chester’

When You Wish Upon a Stair

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

According to Pip’s fantastic guide book, somewhere along the ye olde wall of Chester are a set of stairs called the “Wishing Stairs.” According to the book and local myths, if you run up and down these stairs three times while holding your breath, you can make a wish and it will most definitely come true. What sort of adventurers would we be if we didn’t hunt down this stairway to our hopes and dreams and give it a go?

The book’s description of the exact location of these stairs was cryptic to say the least and they definitely were not clearly defined on the map. However, after a fair amount of sleuth work, some judgement calls and a bit of a leap of faith, we decided upon a set of stairs located near the River Dee. There was no signage to suggest that our chosen stairs were definitely the ones and the book’s description of ‘uneven steps’ didn’t really correlate with the fairly even pavement we had chosen. However, there weren’t many other options as far as stairs went and we decided they were slightly wonky.

We also made a judgement call that running all the way up and down the entire staircase three times while holding our breaths would most likely result in our deaths and no wishes would ever come true. So we mutually agreed that it would be a better idea to simply run up and down three levels of the staircase (three steps per level so nine steps in each direction making a total of 27 steps. Go maths!). Pip went first.

As Pip prepared herself for the epic climb, we were struck with our other issue for having all of our wishes come true – tourists. The wall is a popular place, particularly on a relatively sunny day in the middle of school holidays. Two girls running up and down wonky stairs in the middle of tourist traffic can cause issue. So we waited for a break in the flow and BAM! off Pip went! Up, down and back up again. Through sheer agility and physical strength, she managed to complete the challenge and could make a wish.

Then it was my turn. I will admit, I was nervous. I knew I could make the distance, but holding my breath is not one of my strong points. I am one of those people who puffs up their cheeks before diving under water and then returns to the surface gasping and spluttering. But I was determined to take this challenge on – I got ready, I inhaled, I went! I had to duck around some tourists who looked at me like I was a crazy lady but I kept on going and am proud to say that I made it up, down and back again successfully. I could make my wish and I am still waiting for it to come true.

Action shot!

Action shot!

Hanging with the Romans

Monday, February 24th, 2014

My first week of self/un – employment was great. This was largely thanks to my friend, Pip, coming to visit which provided me with a great distraction for my lack of work. You may remember Pip from my first year of adventures in Paris. Pip was my shopping/museum/sanity buddy in that crazy city and a fellow Aussie trying to find her place (and preferably passport) in Europe. She has since lived in Dusseldorf and is now in London and a mere two and a half hour train ride from me! Hoorah!

Pip had picked up a guidebook for northern England – a surprisingly thin book that somehow managed to cut half of Manchester city centre off the map (and it isn’t a big city.). However, this handy book suggested Chester as a good place to visit so we booked some bargain tickets on a very slow train.

According to Chester.com, Chester is one of Europe’s prettiest cities. I would agree, it definitely rates highly on my Prettiness Scale.   It also wins big points for having been established by the Romans over 2000 years ago. It always amazes me how far those Romans managed to get. Very impressive.

Ye olde Chester.

Ye olde Chester.

The main town centre is surrounded by a ye olde wall first built by the Romans and you can walk around the entire city with a fantastic raised view of the river Dee, England’s oldest race course, and into people’s backyards. Then there is the Cathedral which features one of the most peaceful courtyard gardens I have ever stepped foot in. The main city centre features some beautifully preserved medieval half-timbered buildings. There’s something so wonderful about black timber beams criss-crossing over white building exteriors. My camera finger goes snap happy whenever I’m in the presence of such architecture.

Peace and quiet (and a couple of mer-people) in the Cathedral courtyard.

Peace and quiet (and a couple of mer-people) in the Cathedral courtyard.

We somehow managed to score decent weather and the sun shone for most of our day out. It was lovely to be able to wander around outside for an entire day, enjoying new sights, good weather and fun times with friends. I have missed these random adventures and plan on doing it more over the next year. There’s so much to see in this world – this week I am off to another Roman town, York to attend a conference. I don’t think I’ll have much time to explore but it is just nice to get on a train and travel to a new place. I think I would had made a good Roman.

Walking on a wall.

Walking on a wall.