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Viking Ship Museums - two choices


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While in Copenhagen, Denmark. I recommend visiting the nearby town of Roskilde. We were in Copenhagen for two days and felt that we wanted to see a smaller Danish town. It is a short 30 minute train ride West of Copenhagen and contains a wonderful Viking ship museum, which was our primary objective. Later in our cruise we also visited the Viking Museum in Oslo, and I am so very glad that we did both museums.


Rick Steves gives the Roskilde Viking Museum 3 diamonds but only 2 diamonds to Oslo’s Viking Museum at Bygdøy. He was correct. The ships at Oslo’s Viking Museum at Bygdøy are much more complete, appearing as if they could be returned to the water and put into service. However, the museum itself is rather lacking and extremely crowded. The ships at the Roskilde Viking Museum are fragmentary with limited restoration. Furthermore, when restoration was done they took care to make the appearance different. What distinguished the Roskilde Viking Museum was the museum itself. It was extremely informative about not only the Vikings themselves, but it went into significant detail about the ship’s construction. All of the exhibits were in multiple languages, including English. The museum is building a reproduction of their recovered long ship using the same tools, techniques and materials as the original. It is nearing completion and will set sail in September. They also have people in period dress making arrows, barrels, baskets, shields, etc., in addition to people actually working on the reproduction long ship with authentic Viking tools.


Children also enjoy this museum as they have a section with reproduction ships where they can climb aboard and don period clothing and chain mail in their size. The kids also can shoot Viking bow & arrows. It all looked like fun to me as well.


In summary, Oslo’s Viking ship museum was worth a half hour visit but Roskilde’s Viking ship museum was worth two hours plus, depending upon your available time. Plus the train ride was scenic and pleasant.


Below, are my journal notes on our Roskilde day.


- Around 11:30 we caught the ship's free shuttle to "Kongens Nytorv", which is the Northern tip of the pedestrian shopping streets, collectively referred to as Strøget. We walked down into the subway station at "Kongens Nytorv" to see if we could take it to the central train station, but discovered that the Copenhagen subway is in its infancy and there is only a short route constructed.

- From "Kongens Nytorv" we walked South to the Train Station "Hovedbanegården", which is behind Tivoli. We purchased round-trip tickets for Roskilde, which is about 30km West of Copenhagen. Our goal was Vikingeskibsmuseet, the Viking Ship museum. Rick Steves rated this as a three star tour, even higher than the Viking Ship museum in Oslo, which was a two star. It was very interesting with everything printed in multiple languages including English. I never realized how tightly Ireland was integrated with Viking Denmark, but this museum made the point. Several of the five ships in the museum were built in Ireland. The museum is also building a reproduction of the long ship and will launch it in September and in 2007 will "reconcour Ireland".They also had people in period dress at work with period tools making barrels, arrows, etc., much like at Williamsburg, VA.

- We ended up walking back to the train station as the #307 bus was going to be over 20 minutes in arriving. We passed the beautiful old Roskilde church but it had just closed for the day.

- After arriving at Copenhagen Central train Station at 6:30PM, we immediately went to eat dinner at a restaurant near the station and Tivoli that was recommended by Rick Steves, the Bryggeriet Apollo, which is also a microbrewery. My wife had rump of tender mild lamb (Lammeculotte) and I had Plaice, a flat "Danish Plaice" fish (Ovnbagt rødspætte) that tastes more like lobster than fish. Wonderful! The food was the most enjoyable that we have had on the entire cruise. Not fancy, just very good.

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