York Can Make You Smell Like a Viking

May 27, 2014

in Destination Updates

  • SumoMe

For about three centuries or so, the Vikings were, as the British would say—and they should know, having been raped and pillaged by them—a “bad lot.”

Jorvik Viking Festival

(Rigel Flickr Photo)

About 800 years after this Scandinavian scourge ceased be a threat to peaceful life in Europe, Hollywood brought th0se scruffy sea-faring rouges to the big-screen in the 1958 movie, The Vikings, starring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, and Ernest Borgnine.

Although such action might have sent its 10th century inhabitants spinning in their graves, the city of York, England, home to the Jorvik Viking Centre museum, recently unleashed “Norse Power,” a deodorant designed to imbue you body with the stinking scent of a Medieval era long-boat raider.

According to the city’s “Official Media Centre,” VisitYork.com, here’s a list of the “aromas” that will emanate from your fetid flesh if you use this “Eau de Viking”:

  • Mead (imbibed generously by Viking warriors after a hard day’s raiding)
  • Blood and gore (spilled on the battlefields as the marauding Vikings conquered all in their path)
  • Smoke (from the settlements razed by Vikings during raids)
  • Seawater (From the journey by longship to British shores)
  • Mud (Vikings often travelled by foot over the sodden terrain)
  • Human sweat (which would have been deep soaked into a warrior’s clothes after a hard day’s raiding)
  • Animal meat, fruits and nuts (the essential ingredients of a hearty Viking feast)
  • Fresh pine (from traversing the many forests of Britain in search of places to conquer)

Gag me to the max!

The UK’s Telegraph says that the consensus of its staff was to “[a]void [“Norse Power”] at all costs.” And that should be easy, because there doesn’t seem to be anyplace where you can buy the putrid potion.

But to make you feel like you’re leading the Viking lifestyle, the Jorvik’s online shop does sell:

  •  Viking Hand Soap (“…to cleanse and purify after plunder pillage and victorious celebration. Contains herbs that the Vikings would have used in their everyday lives.”
  • Viking Bath Oil (“…with essence of juniper and pine to restore and revitalise after plunder pillage and victorious celebration. Contains herbs that the Vikings would have used in their everyday lives.)
  • Viking Bath Salt Crystals (another post-plunder and pillage restorative.)

If you think that using those products might turn you into a Viking sissy, the museum can sell you “Arms and Armour” (for kids), “Boats & Longships” (not full-scale, unfortunately) or four “Viking Invaders” (made of pewter, these don’t appear to be “action figures”).

Of course, if you want a “boots on the ground” Viking experience, you could travel to York, visit the Jorvik Centre, and learn what Viking life was really like “back in the day.”

According to the museum’s Website:

At JORVIK Viking Centre you are standing on the site of one of the most famous and astounding discoveries of modern archaeology. Between the years 1976-81 archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust revealed the houses, workshops and backyards of the Viking-Age city of Jorvik as it stood nearly 1,000 years ago. These incredible discoveries enabled us to build the JORVIK Viking Centre on the very site where the excavations had taken place, creating a groundbreaking visitor experience that enabled you to experience life in Viking-Age York.

“As you travel around the Viking-age city of Jorvik aboard our state of the art time capsules you will encounter the old-Norse speaking citizens, see inside their houses and back yards, experience a blast of smoke from blacksmith’s furnace and enjoy the smell of home-cooked stew inside the home of our amber worker.”

This interactive map on the Centre’s Website shows that even if you can’t get a whiff or “Norse Power” during your tour, there are plenty of smells you’ll encounter, including fish, burning logs, and (yum) roasting boar.



And for history buffs and Shakespeare fans, the Centre offers the “Richard III Experience at Monk Bar.” Unfortunately, you won’t find the late, and maybe-not-so-great, King of England there, even though he was also known as Richard of York, last member of the Plantagenet ruling clan.  Despite the stink put up by the Plantagenet Alliance, his bones will be reburied in Leicester Cathedral, near where they were discovered in 2012, and just over 100 miles south of York.

Can’t make it to York to learn about the Vikings at the Jorvik? Not a problem. Just pick up a copy of Shadow on the Crown, the first in a trilogy of historical novels by Patricia Bracewell, featuring Emma of Normandy, who was married off to the King of England in order to cement an alliance against those bad Norski dudes.

(You can buy or rent the 1958 Kirk Douglas movie, The Vikings, from Amazon.com. And if you’d prefer to watch a more recent dramatization of the lives of those Norseman, get Season 1 and Season 2 of the History Channel TV series, Vikings. Shadow on the Crown is available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle e-book and Audible audiobook versions. Purchases made from Amazon.com through links on this page helps Tales Told From The Road continue to bring you a wide range of travel-related stories.)

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