Here’s a test. Can you remember what Saturday is in Danish? I told you last week. Ok. I know – they’re strange words. I am taking pictures of the street names and will give you a laugh with those soon. It’s Saturday though and Saturday is Lørdag. (pronounced lor-da) Which means…. it’s Explørdag again!
Today – I’ll take you to Roskilde. You may or may not have already heard of this Danish coast town from its beautiful and majestic fjord.
Definition of fjord: fēˈôrd,fyôrd/ noun: fjord; plural noun: fjords
- a long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea between high cliffs, as in Norway and Iceland, typically formed by submergence of a glaciated valley.
Oh. That’s Norway. This, is Denmark. Even the fjords are flat here. See for yourself.
You are more likely familiar with Roskilde from the music festival of the same name held here every year. It’s a huge, multi-day, camping and general raucousness of a concert that takes over Roskilde. See here for this years line up. It costs an arm and a leg to get in (doesn’t matter who’s arm and leg – this is Viking territory) but the line up looks pretty good. The kids get in free with us paying adults and are pushing for Pharrell. We’ll see. I’m sure when the schedules are actually announced suddenly there will nary be a ticket to find. No plans yet. But it looks cool.
So you can’t manage to get to the festival, there is still reason to go to Roskilde.
- It’s capital C – Cute! Anyway – I thought so.
- It’s only 30 minutes from downtown Copenhagen – you can take a train.
- It’s on a FJORD. I just like saying that word. This is no Norwegian cliff hugging fjord, but lovely nonetheless.
- It is home to the Vikingskibsmuseet (did you guess what it is? Obviously has to do with Vikings and it’s a museum. But of what? Viking ships! Ding, ding, ding – we have a winner.) The museum and ship yard – where they restore the Viking vessels, that you can operate your own darn self – is right on the water with beautiful views of the fjord. Alas, when we visited, it was winter and it was VERY cold. There was ice in the water and so no vessel faring for us that day. Definitely will go back in the summer, when there are no longer throngs and masses of concert-goers, and try a Viking ship ourselves.
- Home to the Roskilde Domkirke. Kirke = church in Danish, and just like the rest of Europe there are lots of them here and they are old and they are beautiful. The Domkirke sits up on a hill. Yes Virginia – they do exist in Denmark! In the sunset hours of 3pm, the pink light cast on the red brick of the church was amazing. It has a great little museum inside full of interesting history of the church from Viking days – late 900’s to today – none of which was very interesting at all to the kids. Oh well. Personally I paid the entrance to get to some place with views over the city for the amazing light and view. If you’re wondering – there wasn’t one. Access to an outside view anyway. If I missed it. Well then, shoot.
- Darling center of town with a walking street full of shops and restaurants. In warmer weather Roskilde would offer great places to sit outside with views of the water. Delicious.
Enough reasons? I think so. Highly recommend. Just for the Vikingskibsmuseet alone. In the 1960’s they dredged up fem (5) vessels from the fjords bottom and put them back together, from the bits they could recover. There is a recreation of the battle (in miniature) for which the ships had been sunk (on purpose) to create a barrier from those mean nasty Norwegian Vikings coming down to pillage Denmark. (I really have no idea which Vikings were nastier or meaner or who had the right or what the dispute was to be honest, I just live in Denmark is all and there was a slight bias in the Danes favor from the media at the museum.) Read more about the discovery of the skibs from the BBC here. The ships are huge and impressive and a bit like witnessing dinosaur skeletons being reconstructed. There is a fun kids section – geared at littles a wee bit younger than ours are currently, although my 8 year old adored trying on the traditional Viking costumes and spelling her name in runes. She was a tad disappointed that all the letters to spell her name did not exist. Guess we should have named her Brynhildr or Hlökk or Reginleif or even Prima from back in the day (good Viking warrior names.) Not exactly on our short lists.
At the end of the day, I will divulge honestly that the kids had the most fun in Roskilde skipping rocks across the ice and breaking up chunks of ice to hurl and delight at it’s crystal-like shattering. Oh well, some culture AND outdoor pure kid fun is always good. Been to Roskilde? Have other tips to share? I’ll be back. Enjoy your lørdag.
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