Week 2: Friday (Dearest Durham)

The last time I was in Durham was for my MA graduation in January 2012, and this trip was a long time coming. After bidding farewell to George, Val, and Steve, I caught the train from Grantham to Durham (£14.35) as it began to rain for the first time in about a week. When I stepped off the train and the cold embraced me, I felt a peculiar sense of homecoming.

SInce I’m spending a long weekend with my friend Sarah, whom I’d met during our MA year, we decided to start our adventure by meeting in Durham, and attending an alumni riverside walk. Our own walks around town were to revisit some of our favourite cafes and shops, and marvelling at some new establishments.

One of my favourite Durham cafes, though it's always difficult getting a seat.

One of my favourite Durham cafes (though it’s always difficult getting a seat).

A new cafe--love the pun! You can even see the cathedral in the distance.

A new cafe–love the pun! You can even see the cathedral in the distance.

Lunch was at Leonard’s, where I had a delicious jacket sweet potato with bacon, chicken, and mayo, followed by halvesies of tiffin and peanut butter tiffin with Sarah (£15.05 total).

:D

:D

The peanut butter blonde was okay--too dry and cakey for my liking, but I loved the peanut M&Ms.

The peanut butter blonde was okay–too dry and cakey for my liking, but I loved the peanut M&Ms.

This. Tiffin. <3

This. Tiffin. <3

The riverside walk (£3) was also really interesting, and we both discovered a lot about the cathedral’s history. Even Sarah, who went to Durham for her undergrad and knows quite a bit about the place, learnt something new. A stop at a cafe (I had an Elderflower presse–£2.80), a chat with the other alumni, and a meander later, and we were back in the cathedral, an absolutely stunning place that held its own unique places in our hearts.

Outside the cathedral. The bell tower is currently being replaced.

Outside the cathedral. The bell tower is currently being replaced.

For me, Durham Cathedral was the first I’d visited, and which has spoilt me for all subsequent cathedrals. I’ve been to a fair number since then and have sung in a few, but Durham remains unsurpassed.

Inside Durham Cathedral. <3

Inside Durham Cathedral. <3

I've processed down these cloisters several times, clad in academic gowns (robes!) and ready to sing in the cathedral as part of St Chad's College Choir. (This was also used in the Harry Potter films.)

I’ve processed down these cloisters several times, clad in academic gowns (robes!) and ready to sing in the cathedral as part of St Chad’s College Choir. (This was also used in the Harry Potter films.)

Dinner at Capriccio’s (it was okay, but a little pricey for what we got–£18 each), climbing the hill back to the station, a soft farewell to the first bit of England I’ve ever called home, a train (£16.55) and a taxi (£1.65 shared), and I was being welcomed into Sarah’s home by her awesome parents, while a small part of my heart remained in Durham, patiently waiting for my next homecoming.

Accommodation: Sarah’s family
Food: £35.85
Transport: £32.55
Tickets: £3
Total: £71.40
Walked: £18,870 steps; 13.2km

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