The Viking Ship Museum In Denmark

Viking, Viking ship, Denmark
The Vikings were the greatest sailors of their age. They built sturdy vessels that took them as far as Greenland and even North America. A few of these amazing craft have survived to the modern day.

The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, has five such ships on display. Fifty years ago they were discovered at the bottom of Roskilde Fjord, where they had been deliberately sunk to create a defensive barrier in the 11th century A.D. Silt and cold temperatures kept them remarkably well preserved and archaeologists were able to restore and display them.

Walking through the main hall of the Viking Ship Museum, it’s easy to imagine you’re in a busy Viking port. The ships are of various types, such as the knarr, a broad ocean-going trading ship. These were the ships that the Vikings took on their long voyages of commerce and exploration. The famous longship was for battle only and didn’t do well on the high seas.

There’s a longship here too, a 98-foot-long beauty that was probably the warship of a chieftain. Tree-ring analysis of the timber shows it was built in or around Dublin about the year 1042. The Vikings settled in Ireland in 800 A.D. and founded several towns, Dublin being the most important.

%Gallery-174000%There’s also a smaller type of warship called a snekke. Shorter than the longship at only 57 feet, it was still a formidable vessel and remnants of the shield rack and carved decoration can be seen on the side.

The best-preserved boat is a byrding, coastal trading vessel built of Danish oak. There’s also a small boat that may have been used for fishing or whaling.

After examining the displays – very well done and with signs in English as well as Danish – walk outside to the museum harbor. Here you’ll find reconstructions of some of the ships you saw inside as well as historic vessels from later eras of Denmark’s seagoing history. At the boatyard, you can watch shipbuilders using traditional techniques. The star attraction is The Sea Stallion from Glendalough, a reconstruction of the museum’s longship. It’s seaworthy, and tests have shown it reaches an average speed of 2.5 knots and a top speed of 12 knots when under sail. There are even a few surprises, like kayaks from Greenland and Borneo.

Some ships are actually used and visitors can go on boat trips around the fjord.

If you’re heading north after your trip to Denmark, check out the excellent Viking ship museum in Oslo, Norway.

[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Watch Man Break Record For Freediving Under Ice

If you’re one of those people who goes down to the local swimming pool and attempts to swim the length of the pool twice without coming up for a breath, I have news for you:

Stig Severinsen owns you.

In the YouTube video above, the record-holding, freediving Dane (who also casually has a PhD in medicine) shatters the Guinness world record for longest freedive beneath ice on a single breath of air.

Oh yeah, and he’s in a Speedo.

Sure, this happened in March, 2010, but who cares? The concept alone is insane and the video is astonishing and wildly entertaining. Notice that when he successfully pops out of the icy cold water he opts to flash the “OK” sign, speak in English for some unbeknownst reason, and then casually relax with his bare arms on the ice sheet as if it’s a post-massage hot tub session at the resort.

Just for fun, let’s just look at a few more pieces of trivia for the intriguing Dr. Severinsen. According to his Wikipedia page, this 39-year-old human lung enjoyed such childhood pursuits as underwater rugby (in which he competed for the Danish National team), and also dabbled in underwater hockey (where he strangely enough competed for the Spanish National Team).

Combining his love of breath holding with yoga and physiology, the adult Stig set out to redefine the realm of possibility by shattering numerous freediving and Guinness World Records.

Around the same time of this stunt, Stig set a second Guinness record by holding his breath for 20 minutes and 10 seconds in a tropical swimming pool. Oh wait, that’s right. It wasn’t a swimming pool. It was a tropical shark tank. As if being the only human to ever hold his breath underwater for 20 minutes wasn’t enough, he decided to immerse himself in a cauldron of sharks.

Not one to rest on his laurels, however, Stig would break his own record two years later by holding his breath for 22 minutes, and for his efforts he was subsequently declared to be “The Ultimate Superhuman” by the Discovery Channel.

Move over Dos Equis man; Stig Severinsen might just be the most interesting man in the world.

Urban Park Allows Visitors To Travel To More Than 50 Countries


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Do you wish you could travel more but don’t have the time to visit as many places as you would like? If you can get yourself to Copenhagen, you’ll be able to travel to over 50 different countries without leaving their newest urban park project, Superkilen.

Commissioned by the city of Copenhagen and RealDania, the concept of the “Super Park” was developed by SUPERFLEX as well as architectural firms Bjarke Ingels Group and Topotek1. According to The Atlantic Cities, the park runs through the diverse neighborhood of Nørrebro and has three sections, Red Square, Black Market and Green Park. While Red Square embodies modern city life with sports, music and a cafe, Black Market takes a classic approach by featuring fountains and benches. Green Park is where people go for picnics and dog walking. The unique twist on the concept is each area is dotted with various pop and cultural artifacts from the community members’ home countries.

Instead of having Superkilen reflect just Danish culture with local benches, plants and playgrounds, the park is curated to represent nationalities from all over the world. For example, you may find an Islamic-tiled fountain from Morocco, neon Communist signs from Russia or a bench from Ethiopia. In total, there are over 100 artifacts from over 50 countries.

If you’re visiting the park and want to know more about the objects, you can download Superkilen app which tells the story of each artifact.

[Image via Superkilen]

Kulusuk: Sneaking Into Greenland

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Over the last decade, Greenland has opened up to increasing numbers of tourists. The Danish territory, with new powers of political autonomy as of 2009, inspires adventurous travelers with its extreme weather and dramatic geographies. Greenland is also incredibly expensive to visit, as there are no roads connecting towns and settlements along the coast. To get from town to town, one must either fly very pricey Air Greenland or travel by boat.

The easiest and least expensive way to visit Greenland is to book a day tour from Iceland to the Eastern Greenlandic island of Kulusuk, which is a 110-minute flight from Reykjavík‘s domestic airport. The day trip is not cheap. It runs €533 ($654) though August 20, and from August 21 through September 8 it is priced at €477 ($585). The day trip gives participants a guide-accompanied walking tour from the airport to the village, about an hour of free time wandering around the village, a tour of the village church, a brief discussion of Greenland and a viewing of a folk dance performed by a Greenlandic man, translated by the guide. The tour itself lasts around five hours.

The tour finishes up with a boat ride through an iceberg-laden bay back to a bit of shoreline adjacent to the airport. This boat ride, an inarguable highlight, costs an extra 150 DKK ($25).kulusuk

The tour guide is an Icelandic man who’s lived in Greenland on and off for years. At the start of the tour, he gestured toward the glaciers and peaks across from the airport and told us that there were countless mountains and lakes in Greenland that had neither name nor number. Greenland is the world’s 12th largest territory, and the guide’s teaser of an introduction hit home just how vast a place Greenland is. The guide also provided information about Greenlandic life and culture. To my neophyte ears, his summaries struck me from time to time as a bit too absolute for inclusion in such a brief tour.

We made our way slowly to the village of Kulusuk. With around 300 inhabitants, the village is a small yet frankly fascinating place. There are brightly colored houses, a supermarket stocked with Danish goods, a post office and a church. The terrain is rocky. A picnic table at the top of a hill within the village permits a gorgeous panorama, which includes views of enormous icebergs. There is also a souvenir shop on the island, manned during my visit by the son of the tour guide. Villagers mostly leave visitors alone, though a few salutations were exchanged.

The tour is offered from early June through early September through Air Iceland. Though expensive, I found it to be worthwhile as a very basic introduction to Greenland. At the same time, I concluded the tour wanting more information about Greenlandic life and culture and craving more opportunities for exposure and immersion. By the time the Air Iceland plane had landed back in Reykjavík I had already plotted a visit to capital Nuuk for a blast of “urban” Greenlandic life.

For passport stamp collectors, this day trip is a special joy. Though there is no official passport control between Iceland and Greenland, vanity entry and exit stamps are offered free of charge to passengers.

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[Images: Alex Robertson Textor]

Symphony Orchestra Plays In The Copenhagen Tube


Much of the music heard on public transportation is less than comforting to the ears. A drummer banging loudly on buckets, a man singing a monotonous melody, a woman making vibrations on a saw, or a barbershop quartet that can’t seem to sing in tune. True, there is a lot of good music played underground (particularly by those who have permits or well-known artists who play incognito), but I’ve never seen anything like the above video of a symphony orchestra playing in the Copenhagen tube. The entire video – including sound – was recorded on location, and as you’ll see, it seems to make the whole subway-riding experience much more pleasant. I really hope some of the lucky riders put a few dollars in their cases!