In search of Vikings

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A few months ago when I started planning this trip to Copenhagen I remember telling friends that we were going for two weeks and I was greeted with “WHAT are you going to do in Copenhagen for two whole weeks?”, little do they realize that Copenhagen is a totally strategic spot for exploring many different areas in Scandinavia including Helsinki, Malmo and in my case the Northern most tip of Germany.

 

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Besides, when you are vacationing with a toddler you have to allow yourself double the amount of days to see the same things you could have seen in your pre-baby days.

 

This vacation is extra special because I am here with one of my dearest Canadian friends, Adrienne, and her new baby girl and man.

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I will say that surviving two weeks in Copenhagen is not easy financially (every coffee is 4 euro, $6, and you can’t help but notice that even supermarkets are expensive), but we are totally staying within our budget.  I’ll share a few more details on how we are ding this to.  Hint: It involves brining two luggages of food with us to Copenhagen, oh and of course I’m cooking like every night!  Yay.

 

The Land of Vikings

 

Denmark was Viking territory, in fact, no other place in the world has so much Viking heritage and 2013 marked the 1000 year anniversary of the Viking’s arrival in the country. Everywhere we go in Denmark we are greeted with Viking museums, ships, rune stones and fortresses.

 

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In search of a new experience we headed out of Denmark into Northern Germany. The road trip, (which should have taken 3.5 hours but actually ended up taking closer to 5) took us over an incredible suspension bridge (below is the picture I took with Instagram), green meadows, small towns and finally to our “glamping” campground in Kollund where we all stayed in a fully equipped 6 person cabin!

The Viking Settlement in Haithabu

 

 

Once upon a time around a thousand years ago Vikings settled in this inlet and stayed here for over 300 years. They worked, lived and set sail from here, until the site was abandoned for the more strategic position across the lake. The area they left behind remained untouched until archeologists discovered it and were able to piece together the story of the settlement, recreating a few of their homes, tools and ways of life.

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We spent an incredible day at the Viking Museum in Hedeby, immersed in vibrant green meadows and perched on the edge of the inlet that connects to the North and Baltic seas.

 

The museum itself is very modern and showcased the artifacts in an interactive and well-laid out way. FYI, I was not able to actually read or enjoy any of the indoor exhibits because I was WAY too preoccupied ensuring that my toddler didn’t:

a)    Climb/break the exhibits

b)   Stomp his feet, play hide and go seek, climb the exhibits (wait did I already say that?)

c)    Annoy the £$%& out of other museum dwellers with his adorable (to me) and yet surprisingly ear-piercing squeals (aka tantrum screams!)

 

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What I really LOVED about this place was that you could go outside of the museum, walk for 15 minutes along the nature trail to an entire Viking Settlement recreated on the water’s edge.

 

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Incredible attention to detail made it feel as though we really did enter a real Viking settlement complete with characters in full costume! There were even sheep grazing in the hills beside us along the trail!

 

I loved this part of the museum and thought more than once about the fact that the same cold wind that was blowing all around would have blown a Viking’s face a thousand years ago.

 

The Moral of the Story

I guess what I’ve really learned about myself from visiting this museum is that interactive displays are NOT JUST FOR KIDS.  I can get really disinterested in just looking at artifacts our of context in normal museums.  I was having a conversation about this the other day with my friend, we were wondering why archeological sites in Italy don’t do more to “recreate” the scene.  Perhaps because it is dumbing down culture?

 

What do you think.  Are your favourite museums the interactive ones?

 

I’m so glad to be back on the blog writing and since I’m bak home next week I will try to catch up on many an unwritten post.  Tomorrow I will be sharing what I wore to the Viking Village…..or to be more specific, WHAT TO PACK if you plan on visiting Norther Europe in mid-August….note to self “tank tops” and “shorts” are not on the list!

 

Tomorrow I will also give you the chance to win a super special prize with a new giveaway! Have a great Tuesday!

 

 

 

 Linking up with Mama and More’s #AllAboutYou!

 

 

  • I’m going to Copenhagen in October so I’d love to read or hear about any tips for what to do – and of course staying in budget is helpful too!

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  • I love checking out the Viking settlements here in Iceland. Looks like a great time!

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  • Pingback: What to Pack for a trip to Northern Europe in mid-August (what I wore + a giveaway!) »()

  • I lived in Denmark for two years, just 20 minutes north of Copenhagen. And you are right, it is a gateway to the rest of the region, including Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland if you want to! I miss living by the sea, the Design culture, and Copenhagen friends! 🙂

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    • In the next few years I really want to make my way back to the area and explore the other major cities. I’ve decided that too much city hopping with a young child in tow is not my idea of a relaxing vacation so I’m glad that I got to fully experience Copenhagen. And the DESIGN culture was incredible!

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