I’m lucky enough to get two holidays in the space of a week!
I was in York this weekend for a server install and a lovely sunny break. We deposited the server and got a tour of the data centre which was amazing, particularly as a front-end developer who doesn’t really understand servers! And York itself was awesome; I’d been there before for a hen do but hadn’t got to see much of the city, so it was lovely just being able to walk around it. I got to visit the Yorkshire museum, walk around the walls, walk along the river…we had an amazing meal at El Piano (vegan restaurant, and it was good enough that the cookbook may have been purchased…) and visit a Roman bathhouse. I was in Classical geek heaven at the museum; I must have spent an hour walking around all the exhibits, chattering away like mad to my travel companion (who is very good at the nod-and-listen routine, thankfully) about all the bits and then they had an artefact showcase with some coins, a Neolithic polished axe, a brooch, some pottery…so I spent another twenty minutes or so chattering to the guy doing the exhibit about Edward I’s coinage reforms and the ubiquity of freakin’ green glaze jugware. I was eventually displaced by a wandering toddler and got dragged back out into the sunshine…
…and then found the bathhouse. It was the next day, though, which was probably a good thing for my friend’s peace of mind. Luckily he likes learning by random facts and being told stuff, otherwise I don’t think he would have agreed to go into the baths with me. Anyway, the man on the desk was a medieval history PhD student and as soon as I confessed to being a classicist, we were off. Constantine, tapeworms and parasites, malaria as a cure for syphilis, the lack of stirrups and how this affected cavalry tactics, religious symbols, the inability of chain mail to be taken off underwater, dating tactics for tiles and how this causes arguments amongst scholars, rye madness and hallucinations, Roman battle tactics, the similarity of caldera volcanoes and caldarium…we’d got onto Regency fashions before I managed to convince him to eat his lunch (which was definitely cold) and let us look round the rest of the baths. They’re not particularly extensive, mostly because the entirety of York is history and so there’s a limit to what you can dig out, but they’ve got some quite cool exhibit stuff and a dress-up section with a whole range of helmets (no, I didn’t try them on. And there aren’t any photos.)
Anyway, your life lesson from that is not to take me anyplace with Roman history unless you are prepared for a) squeaking, b) random facts, and c) a very happy Kate.
I’m now in Bologna for a week with my family – I’ve never been before and it’s supposed to be lovely, so I’m looking forward to it! I’ve got some writing to do as well, so hopefully it’ll be a week off before chaos starts. I’ll be sporadically in contact over the next few days, so if you don’t hear from me – I’m geeking out over history someplace!