A trip to: The Jorvik Viking Centre in York, UK

Kids are a bit weird. For some time now, Izzy has been obsessed by both 'the olden days', and 'poor people'. I think it is something to do with a TV series called 'Horrible Histories' that she has recently been watching. Anyway, suffice to say that they are subjects that have held her rapture. 

Just the other day, we were at the local supermarket, queuing at the checkout, when Izzy noticed that there was a woman in front of us was dressed in her pyjamas with just a coat over the top. 

"Is that a poor person?" she asked loudly, pointing at the aforementioned woman.

"Sssshhhhh no, it's just because she is a pikey," I hissed back (good grief, I sound like a Daily Mail reader), hoping that the pyjama woman hadn't noticed ...... because people who don't mind being publicly seen in their nightwear are often quite fighty too.

As I mentioned, Izzy proved to be equally fascinated when it came to the olden days.

She awoke me at 6.30am on a Sunday morning, 2" from my face, staring intently.  "Why are people in the olden days always black and white?" she asked seriously.

I blearily mumbled some stuff about the fact that the people all lived in colour, but the cameras could only take pictures in black and white. And then I alluded to the fact that if she didn't go back to bed, I would open the window and lob her over the back hedge.

'So what's all this about?' I hear you cry. Well, given Izzy's love of 'poor people' and 'horrible histories', and the fact that we were visiting my chum Sarah oop north, I thought it might be pertinent to undertake a day trip to the Jorkvik Viking Museum in nearby York.

Now England has got a pretty impressive historical backgound - buildings that are 500 - 600 years old are commonplace (I live in one), so imagine how exciting it was to go back to the era of the Vikings.

The vikings invaded England in AD 793 - yep, that's 1200 years ago. And the city of York was, in past-times, the site of a major viking settlement. As if that wasn't cool enough, some archeologists actually discovered the ruins of a viking settlement and it was made into a visitor attraction post-haste.

Which was where we had decided to visit .......................... enjoy the pics!

 

Pic.No.1 We parked the Bling Mobile next to York Castle (shown above). Given the amount of history associated with York, the castle is a bit weedy

 

Pic.No.2 This is Izzy. She has a look of concern on her face for some reason. She's probably disappointed with the castle

 

Pic.No.3 We had to walk through the city of York to get to the Viking site .... Oooh look! It's bloody raining. What a surprise for oop north

 

Pic.No.4 We passed the world famous 'Betty's Tea Rooms'

 

Pic.No.5. Having afternoon tea there is a 'must do' for all tourists ....... tea is served in the English way, with light snacks such as cucumber sandwiches. BARF!

 

Pic.No.6 And finally we arrived at the Jorvik Viking Centre (can you spot the most unsubtle gate-crashing guy ever?)

 

Pic.No.7 Bloody queues. I hate them. Luckily we were only there for 5 minutes because we arrived late. I highly recommend that you do not visit the Jorvik Centre during school holidays

 

Pic.No.8 Once inside the Jorvik centre, we discovered the coolest thing ever (except for gadgets, jalapenos, and pizza). A Viking settlement circa AD700 had been uncovered by archeologists. It was covered by a glass floor so that you could look at it

 

Pic.No.9 That square thing that Izzy is looking at is actually a real viking toilet

 

Pic.No.10 This real viking shoe was found at the site ... jeez, it is over 1200 years old and still looks like a shoe!
 
The piece d'resistance of the Jorvik Viking Centre is it's mock-up of a viking village. You get into a electric carriage and it takes you down a track depicting viking life. But what really brings it to life is the smell - the whole place had been made to smell like a viking settlement, and it honked. Probably the lack of flushing toilets, etc.

 

Pic.No.11 This is a viking making combs and broaches from deer antlers

 

Pic.No.12 Look! This is what an average viking house would look like. It looks like something that Barrett would knock out today

 

Pic.No.13 This is a chap selling pelts and bowls .... Oh, and there were manky dogs everywhere

 

Pic.No.14 This is a shoemaker. If you wanted a pair of Christian Loubutins in AD350, this is where you would be hanging out (this viking quite obviously hasn't noticed the marketing benefits of having red soles)

 

Pic.No.15 This boring bastard just turns pots all day

 

Pic.No.16 If this chap lived in modern times, I expect that he would run a shop called 'Everything's a Scheckel' or 'Scheckel-Land'. He was selling a bit of everything

 

Pic.No.17 This is what a viking's typical back garden / yard looks like (you can the fire pits). If you look closely at the photograph you can see the carriage (the big black seat) that was in front of us

 

Pic.No.18 And for the finale of the viking villge tour - here we have Izzy's piece de resistance - A viking going to the toilet. They basically crawl into a waist-high box and perform their ablutions in full view of the family. 


The toilet had to be dug out and buried on a regular basis to stop disease or bacteria from spreading. Apparently they still use a similar system in Finland.

Once we had alighted our carriage, we then when into another section of the museum where there were exhibits.

Pic.No.19 This man was showing the children all types of viking artefacts that looked, smelt or felt cool

 

Pic.No.20 But what was really cool were the cases showing the genuine skeletons of dead (obviously) vikings

 

Pic.No.21 The skeletons has been forensically examined because there was a plaque detailing things like the sex of the skeleton, height, and underlying medical conditions that the person had
 
As museums go, it was blooming interesting, but a tad on the expensive side at £9.25 for an adult and £6.25 for a child. Even though you got free annual entry included in the price, a visit to the viking centre probably only lasts one and a half to two hours. Well worth a look though. 
 
As we left the museum, it was going dark and getting cold. 
 
"Shall we grab a coffee?" I asked. 
 
"Ooh yes," replied Sarah, "there is a Cafe Nero near here - they make my favourite coffee."
 
We entered the godforsaken establishment, and I quickly wished that we hadn't. 
 
There was one person in front of us, and yet we still had to wait 10 minutes to get served while the server fannied around. 
 
Then, upon taking our order, he proceeded to amble over to his mate for a chat, leaving us waiting at the counter like numpties. Once he had finished his chat, he disappeared into the kitchen for a further 5 minutes before reappearing and only then, did he start to make our coffees.
 
By which stage I was mumbling, "by god I was to bop his lights out." And Sarah was protesting, "the Cafe Nero in Leeds is nowhere near as bad as this."
 
Eventually we got our drinks, and went to find a free table.
 
The whole of Cafe Nero was filthy and disgusting.

 

Pic.No.22 We eventually found a free table, but couldn't sit down before moving other people's empty cups (as you can see in the background - and we weren't the first ones to have had to do that)


So peeps, whatever you do - avoid Cafe Nero in York like the plague. So have you been anywhere cool lately, or conversely, experienced some diabolical service?

Annie (Lady M) x

Anne Dickens | The day after yesterday

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