As a part of the Nordic Mythology elective course, students got to go on an all day field study to various places with rich viking history as well as an optional viking sailing experience. I was lucky enough to participate in both activities recently.
Starting with the all day field study, all three nordic mythology courses visited piled into a tour bus early Saturday morning. I can confidently say that the majority of us were very tired since we are used to having the opportunity to sleep late during the weekend. Our tour bus took us to a variety of places across the east part of Denmark. We went to Roskilde to the viking ship museum, then we went further west to see ruins of an old viking fortress in Trelleborg, a mock viking village in Lejre, the remains of what would be Hrolf Kraki’s dining hall, and the remains of stones arrange in a boat shape that served as a grave for someone unknown from the viking era. For someone who is a history enthusiast, this type of field study was very interesting and fun for me to be able to participate in. It’s one thing to read about these places, but another to be able to actually see them in person and get an idea of their size and how they look. Both my professor as well as the other Nordic mythology professor attended the field study and they were very passionate about telling us the history of each landmark. This is one thing I really appreciate about studying at DIS. All the professors are very passionate about their subjects and it really shows. The passion they emit truly makes me interested and eager to learn more throughout my time here in Denmark.
My favorite part of this weekend field study was when we visited the recreation of a viking King’s hall. The size and detail that went into the creation of these halls are very impressive, especially at such a time with less technology than people have access to today. Another exciting part of the field study was the fact that the professors surprised us with mead. We got to drink mead in one of the old recreated buildings in Trelleborg. After such a long day, the whole group really became animated. I truly felt connected with the past at that moment!
A week later than this one was the viking ship sailing excursion. For those who participated, we traveled by train to the viking ship museum in Roskilde once again. The museum is located on the fjord and that was where we would be sailing the ships. Once we got a quick safety lesson, we split into two groups and went with two of the museum staff to a boat. Once at the boat we received a quick lesson on how to row and then everyone was instructed when to get their oars out and when and which way to start rowing. I never imagined it to be so challenging to manually row such a large boat. Especially since everyone needed to row in sync and at a fast enough pace to get us moving forward. Once we got further out into the fjord, we were instructed to put away our oars and then we focused on getting the sail up. Roughly five of us out of twelve helped the two museum staff with taking up, turning, and bringing down the sail. I was one of those five and my job was to help turn the sail to catch the little wind we had that day.
I would say that these experiences were very unique and exciting. I’m really grateful that coming to DIS gave me such opportunities.