Vikings

Tonight’s the night Vikings returns for season 5 on the History Channel.  I love this show, so I’ve been looking forward to tonight.  For the last several weeks, snippets of the 5th season have been showing up in my Facebook newsfeed.  I’m not into many shows, but Vikings is definitely one of them.  Fortunately, its also a show my kids love.   In fact, when we traveled to Norway this summer I made sure we incorporated some Viking themed scenery in our trip.  Although it would have been hard to avoid Viking related sights in any trip to Norway.

IMG_1969

Serene
Serene Fjord

In Flam, we took the boat out on the Aurlandsfjord.  This Fjord deep in the heart of Sogn Og Fjordane is sublimely serene and overwhelmingly beautiful.  As we boated around the fjord, we approached an outcropping from the cliff.  There was a grassy area on this outcropping, which was home to a Viking Burial.  It was pretty cool to see.  As an aside, Lagertha according to legends is from the Gaula Valley, which is in the northeastern part of the Sogn Og Fjordane region.

Now that the show has started, I’m writing during the commercials.  How fitting that Ikea is one of their advertisers, but I digress.  As an American of Norwegian descent, I enjoy watching a show about Norwegian/Scandinavian history.  My dad’s family emigrated to the US from Sogn Og Fjordane the very same region that Lagertha is thought to have come from.  Clearly, I was born to be a modern day shield maiden or Viking queen.

Our trip through Norway gave us a deeper connection to our Norwegian roots, heritage and Norway.  Now as I watch the Vikings, I long to go back and explore the Norwegian Countryside.  Additionally, I’d like to explore Ireland, where the show is largely filmed, and the U.K. retracing the Vikings travels.  While in France in 2011, we ate lunch at a small seaside Norman town.   As we enjoyed our crepes, our view was a replica Viking ship moored in port.  It was beautiful and imposing much like the authentic ships housed in the  Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.

Finally, tonight’s song, in keeping with my Norwegian theme, is “Take on Me” by Aha.  I know a collective sigh of relief went out as you realized I wasn’t gonna torture you with “What Does the Fox Say?”

Advertisements

The Viking Ship Museum

My favorite museum in Oslo was the Viking Ship Museum on Bygdoy Island, where you can see actual Viking ships recovered from burial mounds in Norway.   Growing up in Minnesota, we would see a replica Viking ship in Leif Erikson park up in Duluth.  The replica was impressive, but seeing actual Viking ships up close was beyond pale.

IMG_9414

The construction of the Viking ships showcase a level craftsmanship that is astounding on its own.  However, when taken in tandem with the wood carvings on the ship, the craftsmanship of the Vikings is unparalleled.   The intricacies of the carving are astounding considering the lack of modern tools.

IMG_9396IMG_1913

The Vikings present an interesting paradox.   Historians, and the people they conquered,  considered the Vikings to be barbaric marauder, but the Vikings were also expert seafarers and sophisticated craftsmen.  Inside the museum, a part from the ships, there are sleds, wagons and other vestiges of the Viking Age on display.   The Viking’s expertise is on full display through each exhibit.

IMG_9401

The ships at the Viking Ship Museum were constructed in the traditional fashion.  The Vikings passed on their ship building knowledge, a tradition, from generation to generation.  As a consequence, Viking ship builders picked very specific types and shapes of trees for their ships.  If you are a fan of the show Vikings or find yourself in Oslo, this museum is a must see.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.