Denmark, Day 4: Vikings! and burnout

We finally ventured outside of Copenhagen on Saturday, May 6. We had a quick bite at Anderson Bakery, across the street from the train station. I was worried that because of the proximity to tourists, the pastries would be mediocre. They were delicious. The cafe also had kind of a Japanese vibe (Joe had a Japanese-style bun with custard) so that was a fun surprise too.

 

Then we hopped on the regional train to Roskilde! Roskilde is a market town, and has been inhabited for thousands of years. It sits at the bottom of a fjord and due to it’s easily defensible position was the capital of Denmark before Copenhagen was built. The town itself is lovely. They were having some kind of music festival that was more like Play Music Madison — performers on each street, lots of sidewalk sales, and a farmers market in the town square.

Roskilde is home to a cathedral listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We had planned to take a tour, but it’s still an active parish and there was a wedding in process, so we just had to take pictures from outside.

Most importantly, Roskilde is home to the Viking Ship Museum!!! It is also home to some amazing experimental archaeology projects, which I think is the neatest thing ever. In the 1950’s, divers discovered 5 Viking-era ships that had been defensively scuttled in the 1100s. There was 1 fishing vessel, 2 trading ships, and 2 long ships (war ships), all built outside of Denmark, which is a true testament to the scope and connectivity of this empire. The pieces of the ship were preserved and reconstructed, and are on display inside of the museum:

We’re Vikings now:

Other good stuff from inside:

Beyond putting the ships back together, a team used traditional Viking ship-building methods to build a long ship (which meant figuring out what tools they used and making those, cutting down trees, etc), and sail it from Roskilde to Dublin and back (the larger of the long ships they recovered had been built in a Dublin ship-yard). When they sailed the ship they used only the navigational tools available to the Vikings, which meant stars, sea channels, wind currents, and a sun dial. They made it to Dublin with no problem, but bad weather on the way back diverted them to Sweden. Here’s the reconstructed ship in the harbor:

They are constantly building ships based on archeological findings. Here are the tools they use, and one of the archeologists working:

And some of the ships. Some of the ships were built by the archeologists and some by hobbyists. What a hobby!

The smell of the tar, being able to actually touch the boats… as you can tell, I was enchanted.

A few other non-categorized museum pictures:

 

Last but not least, lunch! We encountered our first restaurant without an English menu, but the waitress very kindly explained each dish. We ended up getting a meatball sandwich (*very* good — I recommend getting meatballs or dumplings anywhere, because they tend to be a good representation of how each cuisine spices their food), and a summer sausage sandwich. I also have to say, the Danes make a mean fried potato.

We were very excited to do some shopping — unfortunately, commerce seems to end in Roskilde around 3 PM on Saturdays. Luckily there was a kindly record store owner who let us browse past closing time. We found some good stuff too. Thank you, Vinyl Freaks:

IMG_20170506_154243470_HDR.jpg

All in all a beautiful day! We got back to Copenhagen and went straight back to the apartment. The adrenaline of the first few days is starting to wear off and I’m beginning to get tired by mid-afternoon. We’re still doing a lot of walking, which doesn’t help the tiredness. Luckily we front-loaded most of the high-activity days, so we can take it easy down the back stretch.

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