The adjective “amazing” was invented to describe the kind of experience I had in Whitby, a small town located in North Yorkshire, UK. This is where Bram Stoker found inspiration for his famous novel Dracula (1897). Now I understand what he felt when he visited this town – I felt it too.
I arrived in Whiby on Wednesday 22 April after a 6-hour journey by train. Went to the B&B where I had made a reservation, checked in, then started my exploration of the famous vampire town. My first destination was Whitby Abbey, or, to be more precise, the ruins of Whitby Abbey. In the footsteps of Dracula, I climbed the 199 steps leading to the Church of Saint Mary and the top of the East Cliff.
Old tombstones surrounding the church greeted me solemnly. I turned to contemplate the setting sun that burned like a molten copper orb, bathing the cemetery in a warm orange glow.
I continued my journey toward Whitby Abbey, its ruins silhouetted against the darkening sky.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a cloud of fog appeared to shroud the town in semi-darkness. It hung oppressively – as Edgar Allan Poe would say – over the bay, the valley and the town, eclipsing the last rays of the dying sun.
The cloud swiftly slid over the ruins of the abbey, as if some malevolent power had cast a spell. Then the cold came, this humid, traitorous, creeping cold that sucks the warmth out of your body. The change in temperature was as swift as the change in luminosity. The warm glow of the setting sun was replaced by an icy semi-darkness. This sight was surreal, as if nature itself had staged it for my benefit. I felt a connection, an inexplicable bond with this place – the ruins, the church, the cemetery, the old stones.
After this moment of awe came the realization that I was freezing. I felt the need to send some hot drink down my throat to expel the cold tentacles of the night. Destination – the nearest café!
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Learn more about the history of this town in
S. C. Flynn says
Very good article. Last time I read Dracula, I could sense how important the setting of Whitby was – which is usually overlooked in the film adaptations.
Hi S.C., I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Part 2 is coming soon!