A Soggy Day in Roskilde

It’s official. There haven’t been any summer days in Denmark this July. By summer days, the locals mean anything over 25 degrees Celsius (that’s 77 degrees Fahrenheit). I didn’t feel this lack of summer more than on Saturday when Dave and I decided to visit Roskilde.

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Roskilde is one of the oldest cities in Denmark. Tucked into the pit of a fjord, it was in an optimal spot for Vikings to set up a community.

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“Kilde” means “spring” in Danish. There are lots of springs here. This one is the Large Spring (Magle Kilde). [I tried to figure out what “Ros” means in Roskilde and found that it most likely stands for King Roar – otherwise known as Ro.]

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Today, Roskilde’s claim to fame is the Roskilde Music Festival, which happens here in June. It is one of the largest music festivals in Europe and seems to sell out every year. This year 130,000 people attended. The line up included Foo Fighters, Arcade Fire, The Weeknd, and lots more!

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When it’s not festival time, Roskilde seems rather sleepy and low-key. At least it was the day when we came here.

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At first, it rained and rained and rained. I was miserable. My water resistant jacket was soaked through. I tried holding an umbrella, but the winds were strong as well. I realize that this is my weakness, this susceptibility to the weather. I easily get too hot, and too cold and too rained on. But I’m trying to work on my attitude towards the weather. I really am.

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But of course, this being Denmark, the weather did a 180 at some point. The sun came out!

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Roskilde’s year round biggest attraction is the Cathedral. Its construction began in 1170s and it took over 100 years to complete. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. To go in you need to pay 60 krone (almost $10). I decided to skip it. By the time Dave and I made it to the Cathedral I was tired and uninterested in sightseeing. Dave went in without me.

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We also made it to the harbor that day.

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The harbor’s big attraction is the Viking Museum.

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Here you can learn about how the ships were constructed – including the materials that were used and the techniques. Very impressive!

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This is an ideal place for kids, with lots of presentations to keep them interested and places to explore. This here is the Viking labyrinth. Labyrinths were used in Scandinavia in various rituals, but the one associated with the Vikings is for those going to sea. Apparently, one who was about to embark on a sea voyage would make his way to the center and then run as fast as he could out of it. This was supposed to confuse and trap any evil spirits that wanted to hitch a ride on a Viking boat.

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The museum is pretty cool, with four Viking ships on display. I should come back on a day when I’m not as exhausted by the elements.

 

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