Tag Archives: Vikings

Jelling #AtoZChallenge

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Ever wonder where the symbol for Bluetooth comes from — or even the name?

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If you go to Jelling, Denmark, you will learn about the Viking King Harald “Blåtand” Gormsson and see this familiar symbol carved into rocks, on signs and in the museum (Blåtand sounds like “bluetooth”). It seems that his name is living on through modern technology. However, Jelling is not about the technology, it is about a Viking burial ground filled with the memories of King Harald and the beginnings of Denmark.

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Archaeologists discovered remains of wooden pillars that formed an outline of a very large long boat. Now, white stones and pillars mark the space. In the center is a small chapel and graveyard. On the north and south side of the chapel are two large mounds. It is believed that the north mound was originally built for Harold’s father, Gorm, but no bones were found there.

Bones were eventually discovered in the church, and have been reburied there after extensive renovations. If you follow the line the goes along the floor of the chapel, it points to the spot where the bones were interred.

The chapel and surrounding graveyard is still actively used by the local community. My tour guide told that this is the church she attends and that her family is buried there.

Just outside the chapel are two carved stones. The oldest is known as Gorm’s Stone and is the first time Denmark is named as a country (~950).  This stone was dedicated to his wife, Thrya. The larger stone is Harald Bluetooth’s Stone it is tells of his conversion to Christianity.

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I don’t always to into museums, preferring to get a sense of the place from the outside. But, the tour guide advised that we should, at the very least, go to the roof of the Jelling museum to get a better sense of the whole site. So, in I went and all I can say, is you should try to visit this museum! It is one of my favorite museums anywhere. It includes several an interactive experiences that shows Viking history and their culture through interactive displays. I found myself playing with every button to see what the displays would show next. We were all transformed into children playing with all the exhibits.

Some of the exhibits showed items that had been found onsite, and then, through holographic imagery, the object were transformed into what they probably looked like. It was fascinating and so much fun!

There there was the room where you could stand on different spots on the floor and experience a Viking death, funeral and journey to Valhalla to be with your kin and fellow Warriors. Sounds a bit morbid, but really is was so much fun!  I think it did that a couple of times. It was fun to “see yourself” flying with the Valkyries!

From there, you climbed the stairs to learn more about the Viking Gods and their stories. On the roof of the museum, you can get a panoramic view of the whole site. Yes, I could have stayed at the museum for a long time!

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Hundested #AtoZChallenge

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Hundested is a small town of about 8,500 residents and is located on the northern coast of the island of Zealand. And this was our second port of call on the Mystery Cruise of Maiden Ports I took in May 2016. It was the fist time a cruise ship ever came to this port of call — and what a welcome we received!

It started with a flotilla of various types of ships — from small personal boats and kayaks to military boats to a Viking ship.

Then, there was the turnout of, what seemed to be, the entire town to greet our ship!

And finally, we we greeted dockside by Vikings!

Once we were off the ship, there was a little Viking Village setup where they were selling mead ad other souvenirs. The town itself had arranged for a number of tours around the local area. Everyone was friendly and seemed very happy to receive their first cruise guests.

 

 

Carvings #AtoZChallenge

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When the area you live is filled with large rocks, when not decorate them with stone carvings?  In Tanum, Sweden, is the Vitlycke Museum, a centre dedicated to bronze-age rock carvings. These carvings are very detailed and show many cultural aspects of life during that time. The images include people, animals, boats and other tools.

Some of the carvings have been painted red, to make it easier to see them and to protect them from the elements.

Some of these carvings have not been painted.

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Fredericia, Denmark

Our fifth port of call on Braemar’s Mystery Cruise to Maiden Ports was Fredericia, Denmark. We were greeted with more porpoises — this time I have some “bad” photos of them, but at least I can say I saw them this time! As we docked, a marching band, the Sixth of July, announced our arrival. Fredericia is a fortified town, and it is also very close to Jelling, the home of the Viking King Harold Bluetooth. This would be my first stop of the day.

Jelling is an interesting site. It has two mounds — the North Mound and the taller south Mound. The North Mound was used as a burial mound, but no bones were found there. It is believed that it was originally built for Harold’s father, Gorm. Bones were eventually discovered in the church, and have been reburied there after extensive renovations. The Church stand between the two mounds and in the exact center of a large “long boat” shape that is the center of the palisade. Archaeological findings located the wooden indicated the pillars the marked the site and have marked the site with stone pillars.

Also on this site are two carved stones. The oldest is known as Gorm’s Stone and is the first time Denmark is indicated as a country (~950). The larger stone is Harold Bluetooth’s Stone it is tells of the conversion to Christianity.

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The museum that is located with this site is now one of my favorite museums. It is a very interactive museum that shows Viking history and basic living through interactive displays. I found myself playing with every button to see what the displays would show next. There there was the room where you could stand on different spots on the floor and experience a Viking death, funeral and journey to Valhalla to be with your kin and fellow Warriors. Sounds a bit morbid, but really is was so much fun!  I think it did that a could times. From there, you climbed the stairs to learn more about the Viking Gods and their stories. On the roof of the museum, you can get a panoramic view of the whole site. Yes, I could have stayed at the museum for a long time!

But it was time to head back to the ship and Fredericia. The ship was docked very near to the city center and there was a visitor’s center setup right there. It included a place to rent bicycles, a souvenir shop, an information center with a map of the local area and there was a tourist train that would take you directly into the center of town. I enjoyed my walk into town, passing by a display of old cars, a market, and then down the main street.  One corner had an English pub on one side and and Irish pub on the other — I found this interesting!

As with everywhere we went in Denmark — the people were friendly and very helpful. This is another place I would love to visit again!

On our way out of port, the band played and I think I saw a few more of those elusive porpoises.

 

 

Hundested, Denmark

Our second port of call on Braemar’s Maiden Call Mystery Cruise was Hundested, Denmark. It is a small fishing town of about 8,500 people on the northern parts of the island of Zealand. We started to sail in before 8 AM — and it seemed that the entire town was out to greet us!  The seaside and port was lined with people and the bay was filled with a flotilla boats of many types, including a Viking ship, a Danish warship, a kayak and a small boat filled with photographers taking our pictures. There was even a plane circling over us.

And it kept getting better! There was a Viking group that meet us as we docked alongside the pier. They blew horns to welcome us and erupted into battle as I tried to walk between the two rows — swords and shields were flying!

As we left the official port area, townspeople, a even a few dogs, were lining the street into town — it was an overwhelming welcome and one that I will never forget (and of course, I had to stop and pet the dogs!).

Again, not knowing where we would be, I opted for a tour and again was surprised to learn that we were going to Kronborg Castle — also known as Hamlet’s Castle. On a previous cruise to the Baltic, I had only seen this castle from a distance as we sailed by — now I was gong to go inside! We climbed up the the main living area and saw many furnished rooms and some impressive paintings. One long hallway was called the Queen’s Gallery. It connected her apartments to the main ballroom. The room was huge, taking up one whole side of the castle. I imagine it would also be very cold, as it only had one fireplace at one end of the room.

On the way back to Hundested, we drove past the Queen’s Summer Palace, also known as the Peace Palace.

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Once back to the ship, it was easy to walk into town. There was a Viking Village setup to sell various types of trinkets, including some amazing mead. Locals were also around the town, offering information and advice on things to do and see.

Would I go back to Hundested? Yes, no question! Everything was absolutely perfect. Here are some links to more information about Hundested:

As we sailed away, the Vikings were back and sent us off by blowing the horns again.

Our Captain responded by blowing the ship’s horn three times. And the Viking ship escorted us out of the harbour.

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