Danube River in Austria

Vikings, Bikings and lots of laughs...

Submitted by mag on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 04:54

Our last days near Copenhagen with friends Jack and Linda Knicely were filled with adventure, fun and lots of laughs. I've combined them in one post - so LOTS of photos! 

Another wonderful day exploring - we first saw the Viking Ships as Roskilde when we came to Denmark on our way home from Korea in 1999, but they have done an amazing amount of work since then.  The fragments of the Viking ships (skuttled to form a blockade to defend the harbor in the waning days of the Viking age and preserved for a thousand years in the muck until around 1960) are still there in '99... but the museum has expanded to a full-blown boatyard and shipbuilding facility using the methods and materials from the viking age (800 - 1070 AD - 1000 years ago!).   They have reconstructed all five of the ships whose remains were found plus many others and some even take people out sailing. The ships were coated in something like tar and must have been extremely uncomfortable for crossing oceans as they were known to have done.  At one time they ruled the north seas all the way to America and down to the Med.  (We noted that the viking age declined as the Hanseatic League gained control those same areas.)    

Being old sailors, we were fascinated by the rigging and tackle - the way they found trees with appropriate shapes for the various ships parts - one of the largest parts on the ship was the "mast partner" that both stabilized the mast and enabled them to lower the it when needed (see photo).  We wondered how they could attach the rudder to the side of the ship with enough strength and flexibility to steer. Many of the models showed a thick rope with a huge knot on the outside end passing through a hole in the rudder, but we were sure this could not have been durable enough to allow the rudder to turn and also be raised.  We could not find the solution in any of the exhibits, but we think we found an  answer by investigating the reconstructed ships and in the unattended rope making shed...  a "withy of birch"... no not witchy - withy.  It turns out birch is stronger than oak.so apparentlywhat they did is dig up a young straight birch... trim the roots to form a large knot about 10-12 inches across, and then strip the trunk into strands about 1/8 inch square (unclear how they did this or what tools they used) - this creates a cable of great strength and yet with the flexiblity to twist in any direction in adverse conditions under great strain.   look at the photos - ingenius and fascinating! 

We also toured the cathedral that holds the mausoleums of Danish Royalty through the ages - where the main interest was to tomb of Magarethe I who died in 1120... she was the orginal power behind bringing together the factions of Denmark and even added Norway into the country although of course this did not last. 

We also toured the original Carlsberg Brewery where we had lunch and a number of refreshing brews,.and where the main attractions other than the beer were the draft horses and the elephants at the gate. .

The next couple of days were spent relaxing at the beautiful house, touring castles and cycling through beautiful scenery, ending up at Bakken - the very first  amusement park and having a fine meal int he environs.  A fitting last day for our time near Copenhagen.  .