Monday, September 28, 2015

Walking the Wall

Walking the Walls

There is our canal again
Chester is a very old historic city. The most significant feature of the city is its almost intact city wall, built over 2000 years ago by the Romans to keep out the evil Welsh barbarians to the West. As well, because of the walls, space in the inner city was limited so a two level shopping district developed where there are not only shops along the street, but also shops overhanging the streets on a second level.

It is recommended that your first activity in Chester is to walk the old city walls. This takes you completely around the old city and gives you a good orientation of the area. Since we had a couple of hours to kill before the apartment was ready, we decided to do as we were told and take a walk around the city walls.

Chester Cathedral
It wasn’t difficult; crossing the bridge that the cottage sits beside, you come to the main city gate and you can climb stairs to the wall. Although there are a few gaps in the wall where roads have been inserted, or sections are under repair, the wall mostly does go all the way around the city center. We had to stop for a walk signal on one road intersecting the wall, and we were forced to descend to street level where one section was undergoing a major repair, but most of the way you can walk on top of the old wall. In sections the wall is not very high, but it is built on steep embankments, but other sections the wall looks down on the canal system outside and the city on the inside.
This will keep those Welsh out!

From the wall you can see the River Dee, the Shropshire Union Canal, the Chester Cathedral, and the inner-city pedestrian shopping streets, so it does give you a very useful introduction to Chester.

And a horse race - Who Knew?
The other thing you see from the wall is the Roodee Chester Racecourse, a beautiful facility for horse racing. It is the oldest horse race track in England, and on our first day we happened upon the last horse race of the season. What is nice about this, is although the race course has lots of internal seating and facilities for people to watch the races, you can see perfectly well by just finding a spot on the wall. On race day, they close the streets to vehicle traffic and a carnival atmosphere develops. If you want a beer, or wish to bet on a horse you must actually pay to go into the grounds, but if you just wish to watch the horses, you can do it for free. A really nice attitude, and the race course does not seem to be suffering by letting people watch for free – the grandstands were full and the general admission spots along the sides of the course were packed. We enjoyed seeing one of the races from a spot on the wall. Would have liked to have put money on number 8, he won with 7 – 1 odds. . . .

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