So we’re doing it again. Lark and I are on vacation in Europe, including a cruise on the National Geographic Explorer that begins in Copenhagen and ends in Lisbon. And because neither of us had ever been to Denmark before, we flew in to Copenhagen a couple of days early, got a hotel room, and went to look at interesting stuff.
So, it turns out that Charles DeGaulle airport in Paris is Europe’s equivalent to O’Hare in Chicago: you have to fly through there all too often, but you never enjoy it. This visit only reinforced my previous opinion that Terminal 2 was designed by a demented psych major who liked making mazes for rats. Oh, and Air France managed to break our airplane by whacking the tail assembly with a piece of ground support equipment. So they made us deplane, sat us in the terminal for 30 minutes, then loaded us into buses and drove us what seemed like half the distance to the Belgian border in order to load us into a spare airplane, after which they finally delivered us to Copenhagen, two hours late. In the process, they lost one of our bags. I filed the requisite report with the lost luggage office, and the very efficient Danish clerk informed me that she had located the bag at DeGaulle, there was a flight it might possibly make that evening, but that it would certainly be delivered to our hotel in central Copenhagen within 24 hours. In fact, we had it in hand by about 11:00PM that evening.
Alright, I know, you’re wanting to know how we celebrated Talk Like A Pirate Day (Sept 19) when we were sitting around in Denmark. Well, I don’t know about what you, but we got on the train, and went out to Roskilde, to the Viking Ships Museum. Back in the 1960’s, near the town of Skuldelev, the Danes discovered the remains of five ships that had been sunk to block one of the channels leading into the southern part of Roskilde Fiord at some point in the around the 10th or 11th Century C.E. So the National Museum excavated the five ships, preserved their timbers, and created a museum around them, that is now devoted to preserving and studying the art of making and sailing clinker-built wooden ships and boats.
This is “The Seastallion form Glendalough,” the VikingSkibsMuseet’s replica of a 60-oared Viking longship that was based on one of the ships recovered in the excavation. When the Seastallion was completed in 2008, the Danes decided that because the original had been built in Dublin, nothing would do but to put a crew aboard her and sail her to Dublin via Orkney, then come back to Denmark through the English Channel. And the big building in the background is the VikingSkibsHalle, where the preserved timbers of the original ships are displayed.
This is the interior of the VikingSkibsHalle, showing the preserved ancient ships displayed in wrought metal frames that show the original shapes of the hulls.
And one of the things they allow visitors to do is to go sailing on Roskilde Fiord in a replicated Viking-era boat. You KNOW we couldn’t go out there and not go sailing on the fiord in a “real” Viking ship.
Here’s a picture of the volunteers from the Museum getting the boat ready. The boat itself is very similar to Skuldelev 6, the smallest of the ships preserved in the museum. That boat is thought to have been a fishing vessel crewed by 8-12 men
And here’s a couple of pictures taken out on the fiord.
And that same day we also saw Roskilde Cathedral, where many Danish monarchs have been buried since Harold Bluetooth. Including every Danish king and queen since Margarethe I. You can see the spires of the cathedral in the lowermost picture above. But more on that at another time.