Sunday, July 31, 2016

You Too Can Collect the Danegeld: Learn to Be a Viking

They say "without the pillaging" wink, wink but we all know where the big attraction lies.
From Smithsonian Magazine:

Learn to Be a Viking (Without the Pillaging) in Ribe, Denmark
Travel back in time in this Viking village
At one time, the Vikings were feared around Europe for their battle skills and acutely good sense of where to pillage. But back at their Scandinavian homestead, they lived a much calmer life farming and raising families. Modern-day Vikings looking for an education in these old ways—whether they prefer to battle or just Norse sagas and chill—should get to Denmark, a hub of Viking activity past and present.

From medieval trading centers to runic monuments, Viking heritage rules Denmark. In Jelling, there’s the Jelling stone, also known as “the birth certificate of Denmark;” a runic stone carved by King Harald Bluetooth in 965 to honor his parents and announce his unification of Denmark under Christian rule. Kerteminde has the Ladby Ship, Denmark’s only authentic ship burial of a Viking king dating back to 925. More ships are on display at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, which houses five original longboats rescued from the fjord. And an entire Viking farmstead has been recreated in Hobro. Viking heritage is so intrinsic here that there’s even a self-guided Viking history trail around the country.

  But if you really want to learn to be a true Viking, head to Ribe. The city’s Viking heritage began back in 710 AD, making it not only the first town in Denmark, but also the first in Scandinavia as a whole. It was an ideal location for a market with a permanent settlement, situated on the banks of the North Sea and cut through by the Ribe River. Plus, the harbor was big enough to accommodate large ships from far-off lands. Though the Viking era as we know it today began in 793 AD with the first known Viking raid, on Lindisfarne in the UK, Ribe was a functioning international trading center with both economic and political significance to the Vikings long before. Viking artifacts are still being found in the area, too—in June this year, a trio of amateur archaeologists found seven valuable arm bangles nearby dating back to the 10th century....MORE
Seriously, without the loot, pillage and plunder you're as bad off as these poor guys on the Draken Harald HÃ¥rfagre:

Forced to pass the begging bowl via Sons of Norway due to U.S. pilotage fees of $400/hour for passage on the Great Lakes. WSJ, July 23:

Donations Put Wind in Sails of Viking Ship Hit by Pilot Fees
Vessel is anchors aweigh toward Chicago after receiving donations from tall-ship enthusiasts
A Norwegian Viking ship up in arms about the six-figure fee that U.S. law requires it to pay to travel the Great Lakes is now anchors aweigh toward Chicago, after receiving donations from tall-ship enthusiasts including a yoga studio and Norwegian-Americans.

The Draken Harald HÃ¥rfagre, billed as the largest Viking ship built in modern times, left Norway in April to brave the north Atlantic and join other tall ships for an educational tour of the Great Lakes, including stops in Chicago and Duluth, Minn.

But a blow befell Draken when it entered U.S. waters in early July and realized the ship had to hire a certified pilot to navigate the lakes, the seafarers say. Since then, a flood of grass roots support has kept Draken afloat.

Peter Hardy, co-owner of Bay City Yoga, in Bay City, Mich., led Draken’s sailors through a dockside class after he found out some of the crew practice yoga on board.

“They were just really cool," he said. The yoga studio has so far contributed more than $400 toward the pilotage fees with the help of fellow enthusiasts....MORE
Donations? Ragnar weeps!
On the other hand they do retain some of the spirit of the ancient Karls and Jarls:
As naval battles go, the war of words between the U.S. Coast Guard and the captain of the world's largest Viking longship was a bit of a tempest in a teapot.

But a week after he accused U.S. authorities of being "impolite," the Norwegian captain of the Draken Harald Harfagre moved to ease diplomatic tensions Wednesday after docking his warship at Navy Pier.

Saying that he had been "a little drunk" when he last week complained to Chicago Inc. that the Coast Guard had sprung unexpected $400-an-hour pilot fees on his crew after it was invited to participate in this weekend's Tall Ships festival....
-Chicago Tribune, July 29
Anyhoo, this is what I think of when I think Vikings:
(profuse, profound apologies to our Nordic friends)