I planned and took my mother and myself on a trip to London. If you ever get the chance to take one (or both) of your parents on a trip like this, especially if you have siblings and usually travel as an entire family, definitely do it. I planned a great deal of the trip in advance, as I enjoy researching and finding the deals and the unique places we absolutely had to visit, and we had such a wonderful time. Before we left, we met up with and talked to one of my father’s coworkers who is English. She gave us all sorts of great tips on how to have a great trip and where to go, and she mentioned that her parents still lived in York, and if we wanted, she could connect us, as we might want to get out of London for a day or two.
I am so glad we took her up on this offer, as we learned that her father had been an archaeologist in York for years, and he helped put York on the map for Viking archeology. He was a part of the group in the 1970s who started a huge dig on the site of a proposed mall, and since York’s ground is peaty, practically everything from Viking life had been perfectly preserved. Our guide took us through the city, pointing out aspects of the ancient town still used today, some of this information dating back even to the Roman era and beyond. He finished the tour with the backstory of the Viking dig, and how they created the Jorvik Viking Centre, which actually takes visitors to the dig site, below the mall, and shows the story of both the dig and the Vikings in the most comprehensive but entertaining way possible. We learned about every aspect of Viking life in York, and we noticed that other visitors around us would listen in as the archaeologist would share stories from the dig and point out discrepancies in pop culture references to Vikings (it’s not just the horned helmet that is wrong!) There were so many details and stories he shared with us, and it was definitely one of the most unique and special experiences I had, and was especially great that we had the chance to learn from someone who was so involved and passionate about his work.