This is journal entry 2, our first day in Norway when we explored the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.
My six-year-old son and I have embarked upon a 14-day Eurail trip from Oslo, Norway to Bodo in the Arctic Circle. We will be stopping for overnights in cities and guided adventure tours to explore Viking heritage, the places that inspired Disney’s, Frozen, and Sami culture. These are our Daily Journal Entries happening March 27-April 10th! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with #VisitNorwayUSA.
Destination Norway Day 2 Journal Entry
It takes just under 37 seconds for a six-year-old boy to nail you with a snowball given the opportunity. This was pretty much the scene of my first walk through Oslo. I can’t say that I blame him. We are after all Floridians and Oslo had just seen a good snow storm. This was our first real day in Norway and we had two things on our agenda. Go to the Viking Ship Museum and explore the Oslo Folk Museum.
I was especially excited about the Viking Ship Museum. I had come upon the attraction during the course of my research some time ago. I had learned that it was home to the largest Viking burial excavation ever. Like jackpot! I knew I had to find my way to Oslo. I had to see these Viking Ships first hand.
Beyond Vikings, we had the opportunity to explore the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History where we saw collections of artifacts from all social groups and all regions of the country. There were over 150 buildings relocated from towns and rural districts in Norway, some as old as the 1500’s. We got to see a cool Stave Church and tried some freshly made Lefse, my new favorite treat. We loved running around the cool buildings. This place is a must see in Oslo (more on this cool place soon).
We ended the night with an absolutely amazing dinner at Restaurant Festningen at Akershus Fortress – the castle was the model for the castle in Disney’s, Frozen (more on Frozen in Norway later). The little suffered a serious case of six-year-old-itis and completely revolted against trying anything new. However, he loved the desert. I, on the other hand, tried an amazing smoked trout which was divine. If you’re in Oslo, you have to try this place. Best for adults, dates, and special dinners $$$.
The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo
There are few things in this world that trump an adorable, frizzy-haired troll. One of them is a 1,000-year-old Viking ship. I raced past the Viking Ship Museum gift shop, souvenir resin trolls in my peripheral vision, a massive, restored, hand-crafted wooden Viking ship in my direct line of sight. In an instant I thought to myself,
Oh my God, look at it! (insert a plethora of gasps and oooh’s here).
The Oseberg Viking Ship commanded everyone’s attention. Its detailed carvings and dark, thick planks looked like something from a movie set except, it was 100% real. I couldn’t believe it! I was finally standing in front of an actual Viking Ship!
About the Viking Ships
Okay, get your Viking helmet on and get ready for a quickie history lesson. In 1903 the world’s largest Viking grave was discovered on the Oseberg Farm just a short distance south of Oslo. Creatively, it was named the Oseberg Ship. This sweet find dates back to about 834 AD. When they uncovered the Oseberg Viking Ship, they found an extensive collection of burial gifts and ship equipment. We learned a great deal about the Vikings through this finding yet, there are still so many questions.
Along with the Oseberg Ship, there are Viking Ships from what’s called the Oslo Fjord Era. At the museum you will find the Gokstad (before 900 AD), Tune (910 AD), and Borre Ships as well. All were excavated between 1854 and 1904.
The Gokstad and Tune ships were used as burial ships for powerful men. They could have been brave and loyal warriors or maybe the sons of kings. All we know is they were a big deal. The Oseberg Ship was the burial ship for two important women.
Viking Burials What We Know
Viking burial traditions are very similar to other Pagan burial traditions in that the dead were buried with loads of valuables to take with them to the afterlife. In Viking traditions, a ship would be pulled ashore from the sea and filled with burial gifts such as pottery, jewelry, wood carvings, a generous supply of food and drink, various animals, and valuable objects (anything from furniture to art). Often times, prominent or titled people were buried with their handmaiden or servant who would offer his or her own life to follow the deceased to their afterlife. Talk about dedicated.
Tips and Final Thoughts
We loved seeing the Viking ships and the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. It was a totally awesome way to pop off our Viking expedition through Norway. We can’t wait to see what else Norway has in store. The Viking Ship Museum was so fascinating, I’d be hard-pressed to see if they can outdo that! Also, check out this cool article on my friend’s blog Points and Travel for a different perspective on this museum.
For more information on visiting Norway, please visit www.VisitNorway.com
Special thanks to Visit Norway USA. While they are funding all air, hotels and meals, this in no way shapes my opinion of my journey through Norway.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments below. I love hearing from you!