Roskilde, Denmark – We become Vikings

Me the Viking

Our last day in Denmark stated with a very good eat as much as you can breakfast at The Munchies (Rosennors Alle 32, 1970 Fredericksberg), which was just up the road from our hotel. For DKK89 (about £10) we got free range of hot and cold buffet with fruit, cereals, bacon, eggs, sausages, various salads, cheeses and cold meats, which was miles better than the somewhat grim repast laid out in the Cab Inn.

Suitably fortified we hopped on the Metro to Copenhagen’s central station where we boarded the train to Denmark’s former capital Roskilde. Roskilde is about 30 kilometres from the capital and the journey which took about 25 minutes was covered by our Copenhagen Cards. On arrival we were greeted by the local marching band. Nothing quite like a parade to set you up for the day is there?

Beats Take That anyday

Roskilde was founded by the Danish King Harald I (Bluetooth) in the 980s and in 1020 Knut the Great (yes he who tried to turn back the tide as King of England, he was also king of Norway and part of Sweden too) established a bishopric there. Many of Denmark’s Kings and Queens are buried in the Gothic Cathedral, which was built here in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Final resting places of the Kings and Queens of Denmark

Back in the 11th century five ships were scuttled in the entrance to Roskilde’s harbour to protect the town from rampaging Norwegians. In the early 1960s they were excavated and now they are preserved in the Vikingeskibshallen (Viking Ship Museum admission DKK 100, not included on the Copenhagen Card) . The ships include both war ships and cargo vessels.

Inside the Viking Ship Museum

Outside the Museum has shipbuilder’s workshops, where demonstrations of metalwork, carpentry and rope making take place, plus a harbour full of replica boats, some made by the Museum’s staff.

Replica Viking Long Boat

Best of all you can join the crew for a genuine Viking sailing experience on Roskilde Fjord.

Vikings in training

Our trip cost an extra DKK80 (about £9). Lars our captain saw us to our benches and appointed the Powder Monkey as helmsman, she was delighted. We got to leave the harbour under sail and spent about 40 minutes in the open water before furling the mainsail and putting our backs into rowing.

Me the Viking at sea

Despite nobody aboard ever having rowed a longboat before it was surprising how our disparate crew of Danes, Czechs, English and Tasmanians soon got into the swing of it and rowed safely back into the harbour. The boat moved through the water pretty fast and I think the Powder Monkey earned her promotion to Master’s Mate pretty effectively.

On our way out of the Museum I spotted some House Martens building nests above the door from mud gathered at the river mouth, clever little birds.

House Martens

On our return to Copenhagen we discovered some more ships, lurking in the Tivoli Gardens,

Pirates Ahoy

fortunately we didn’t run into any pirates, but nearby we found this mum with some charming babies.

Ruddy Shelduck and family

Then while we enjoying a quiet drink in the Japanese bar, pandemonium broke loose when two peacocks decided to have a showdown.

Come on if you think you're hard enough

It was the best free show in town until it got dark and the lights came on,

Pagoda, Tivoli, Copenhagen

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