Today's stop was Aalborg (also spelled with a single 'A', if there is a halo over it), but that doesn't really tell you all that much. In reality, today was basically "All things Viking" day, as the day was spent, well, learning about the Vikings. Right off the bat, I'll confess to having no special love for, or particular interest in Vikings, be they from Scandinavia or Minnesota. I just don't think about them all that much. This noted it was interesting to visit a Viking village, a Viking fortress and a Viking graveyard. I even got to sample Mead, which basically tastes just like honey-flavored cough syrup. Given the fact that, back in times past, streams were also used as sewers, drinking Mead was probably far safer than actually the water.
So in keeping with "All things Viking" day, here are a few photographs.
(A Viking graveyard)
(An actual Viking helmet; in reality, they didn't have horns)
(An actual Viking grave)
(The remains of a Viking fortress)
The pictures don't do what I saw justice, and there is something on the wonderful side about having a graveyard basically intact from around 900 A.D.
On an unrelated note, one fun (well at least for me) thing I've been doing is taking photographs of interesting ships and then researching them online. The size and variety of ships is actually kind of astounding, and I think about how cool it could have been to perhaps work on a ship. I know just how pitiful that sounds. Anyway, what wasn't pitiful were some of the views from our ship.
(View from the stern, heading to Denmark)
(Sunset over Denmark)
Tomorrow we are in Copenhagen, which I'm really interested in seeing, if only for the architecture. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
As what seems to be a custom, I'll end this posting with a few observations:
- People. People are just people. Outside of the different language, a bunch of folks walking in center city Bergen, Norway or Aalborg, Denmark pretty much look the same as they would in any town in the United States. That may fall under the category of "Not exactly insightful", at least on the surface, but there's more to it; we're all too often made to feel as if "they" are different. Well, for the most part, "they" aren't, which is an important point to make these days, especially when we have people in high public office that feed off of xenophobia like seagulls feed off of discarded french fries.
- Pickup Trucks. Want to know what actually is different? I haven't seen a pickup truck since I checked the air pressure in my Silverado before leaving on this journey. Well, to be fair, I did see an old rusted VW Rabbit pickup sitting on the side of a barn in Eidfjord, but in my mind, that shouldn't count anyway.
- Profile. Profile of the average person on this cruise? Mid to late 60's, white, seemingly well off, definitely well dressed. Mostly from the United States, but some from the U.K. as well. I don't exactly fit in, but that's okay; maybe I will one day (well at least the older part).
- Aalborg. As a city, it was rather non-descript. During our tour, my mother-in-law asked our guide if the name "Aalborg" had any special meaning. The correct answer was something along the lines of "town at many streams". In my mind, the answer should have been "Danish version of Reading, Pennsylvania".
- Diesel. Between the diesel engines of the Viking Star to the diesel engines powering many of the passenger vehicles in the towns we've visited, I think I'm growing fond of the smell of diesel exhaust. Or at least getting used to it.