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Traveling with the Vikings: discovering some of the unknown

Ian Harvey

Who would have liked to be a Viking woman, obligated to stay at home nursing livestock and dirty children while your chap went off pillaging?

Well, at The Land Of Legends, a marvelous open-air museum in Lejre in Denmark, you can learn all about what Viking life was really like. There, you can find a reconstruction of the Viking market town of Ravnsborg, complete with food stores, fire, and forge. Demonstrations are held there that show how to create flour in the traditional Viking way, and it even has a working forge.

Skuldelev 3' ship at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark Source:By Hans Olav Lien - Eget arbejde, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23047397

Skuldelev ‘ ship at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark Source:By Hans Olav Lien – Eget arbejde, CC BY-SA 3.0, 

Viking men demonstrated their wealth or fame by dressing in the most luxurious cloth they could afford. The museum’s presentation of sophisticated jewelry, heavy swords, delicate glass beads, coins, iron axe heads, huge picture stones, and ships is captivating. The surviving timbers of an 110ft-long Viking warship form the centerpiece of the demonstration. At the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, which was previously the capital of Denmark throughout the Viking Age between the dawn of the 8th and 11th centuries, you can see five restored ships from the 11th century.

Roskilde also has a wonderful cathedral and marketplace square that are worth a glance. At the Diner Snekken, you can even dig into a realistic, Viking-style supper, containing lots of apples, pears, berries, cabbage, hazlenuts, roast pig, bone morrow, and beer. Of course, it’s very tasty.

 

A longship at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde Source:CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=205665

A longship at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde Source:CC BY-SA 3.0, 

 

Trelleborg, close to Slagelse, is a Royal Viking fortress that was constructed by King Harold Bluetooth in 980AD. Around 1,500 Viking remains had been found there, as well as a flawless Viking shield.

An hour’s travel from Copenhagen is the Gerlev Games Park, where you can play more than 140 games from history. One of them is named Giving Birth to a Bear, and includes two burly Viking types baring legs and cramming a third player called the “bear” stuck between them, so he has to try to escape. Makes a change from pillaging, I suppose.