Jorvik Viking Festival

Hello? Is anyone still reading this? Aksel wants to know.

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Just in case the four month hiatus from blogging didn’t turn you away, perhaps this series of incredibly dorky photos will do the trick.

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Over Valentine’s weekend, we took a quick trip to York for the Jorvik Viking Festival. Since we arrived late Friday evening, we did a quick run into town for dinner at House of the Trembling Madness per Trip Advisor’s recommendation. The storefront reminded me of a 7-11 filled with beers and glasses. But upon climbing the staircase, we were in for a massive treat. Animal heads, horns and skins adorned the walls of this medieval drinking hall and we found a spot in a small alcove just next to the bar. The place was packed so we sidled up to a shared table with the other patrons and proceeded to devour some absolutely delicious bar food. Jason was in heaven as they have over 600 ales in stock and had a tough time narrowing down his selection. I think we came home with about 14 bottles; not too bad considering all the options.

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I surprised my “people” the next morning with some little treats and V-Day cards in bed. Lena has been on a Rio kick and since Jason loves anything Pez-related, she thought Daddy just HAD to have this dispenser. The owners of the guest house we stayed at even put out some chocolate roses for us which I thought was quite sweet. As you can imagine, it was all very romantic with the four of us sharing a double bed.

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After a proper English breakfast, it was off to the festival. Lena insisted on wearing this helmet the majority of the day much to the delight of both me and the majority of the people who saw her. First up was Clifford’s Tower. It was originally built by William the Conqueror, burned down twice and then rebuilt by Henry III in the 13th century. Jason took Lena to the top of the wall and then quickly returned as he claimed he was about to pass out from fear of heights. I also took this opportunity to take a family photo in full Viking garb. You’ll notice both my children are hiding their faces from embarrassment. I have succeeded as a mother.

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Below Clifford’s Tower was a small viking camp where actors? viking? … people were demonstrating Viking crafts and living. Just as we were learning all about cooking and woodworking, the procession showed up, ready for a fight.

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There was lots of yelling and awkward dialogue and I was giggling hysterically because I basically can’t get enough of this stuff. It fascinates me to no end that grown adults will play make believe in public and let me take photographs. It’s the best. If the feigned Scandinavian accents weren’t enough, the Thrifty van in the background really lent an air of authenticity to the entire production.

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After the husky Viking won the battle by castrating the last man standing (yes, seriously), we did a bit more people watching and then headed towards the Shambles.

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There was another Viking camp set up here showing the animals Vikings would have kept as well as some of the wares they created or traded.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t make it into York Minster as the lines were incredibly long but I did get some shots of the exterior. It was massive and imposing and really beautiful. I handed my camera to three different sets of people in order to get a family shot and none of them actually took a picture. This made me unreasonably angry for some reason and Jason had to calm me down. But seriously, how hard is it to push a button? Apparently, I’m still not over it.

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Also, I think I was hangry because after this, we stopped for a crepe and all was well with the world again. Lena declared it to be disgusting and refused to take a bite. And then she saw there was Nutella on it, changed her tune, and ate the entire thing in three bites. She obviously gets that from her dad.

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On our way to the Treasurer’s House (a National Trust site), we happened upon Holy Trinity Church dating back to the 15th century. It was very simple but beautiful especially with the irregular box pews and some Medieval stained glass.

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We finished up with lunch at the Treasurer’s House; the first house ever given to the National Trust. The remains of a Roman road were found in the cellar and supposedly, there were ghost sightings of legions of Roman soldiers here.

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Also worth noting is that we did manage to go on a date Valentine’s night at an absolutely delicious Italian restaurant called Little Italy. However, we had both kids with us so they seated us basically underneath a staircase and at the far back of the restaurant. I thought it was hilarious while Jason was braided about disturbing the other guests. Eventually, Aksel started crying a bit though nothing major so we made a quick meal of it. I would just like to say “you’re welcome” to all the young couples in the restaurant. I hope that seeing us hidden beneath a staircase with whiney children reminded all of you to make wise decisions as you carried on with your romantic evenings!

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