The viking museum

It was a pretty good night of sleep, thanks to the sleep mask blocking the sun. I woke up, got dressed, and immediately started wandering around with the camera.

A supremely foggy morning.

I'm not sure what that big line is all about - or if it's plastic or wax or what - but it sure looks dramatic.

I have no idea how I missed this giant stone thing last night. It wasn’t actually dark. Maybe I was just tired.

Oh it's sooo touristy but I totally can't resist the charms of a viking settlement...

There was a miniature reproduction of a viking settlement next to the museum. One could walk all the way through in about 90 seconds. It added some variety but wasn’t very informative.

"We dwarves are natural sprinters. Very dangerous over short distances!" (And/or the Atlantic.)

April showers, May flowers, et cetera... But how about July?

I inspected the outside of the tent just in case I’d missed any damage in my tired state, but all was well.

You can see my hack job here, where I ziptied a tarp to the side of the tent. From a distance it almost looks like it was designed this way...

… So, time to go in and explore the museum!

On the deck of the viking ship Íslendingur.

The Viking Museum has a buffet area in the Icelandic pattern. Here I had a truly refreshing breakfast: Two hard-boiled eggs and a sandwich with two kinds of cheese, three kinds of salami, mayonnaise, and lots of pickled herring, all smashed together. Yum!

Near the tables was a large television, playing a presentation that looped every five minutes. It was about the construction and maiden voyage of the Íslendingur — the ship hanging from the cables overhead. Right in the middle of it is a clip of Hillary Clinton standing on the boat and talking to some people.  The narration goes, “During an international tour, Hillary Clinton met with the shipbuilders and offered her wishes for a safe journey.”

Wistfully I thought of a time, not too long ago, when I actually enjoyed seeing the president of my country doing and saying things…

I chomped my breakfast and then walked the circuit around the museum, and learned some pretty cool things.

Tupilaks were a phenomenon distinctive to Greenland. These small figurines were usually given to an enemy to curse them and hopefully kill them. Others were made and kept to protect from such curses. (Courtesy of the excellent Viking World museum.)

This reproduction of a Scandinavian map from 1590 combines cartographic knowledge of North America with names from the sagas, like Vinland and Markland. (Courtesy of the excellent Viking World museum.)

This ancient map appears to claim that there is pack ice between Scotland and Denmark, more of less corresponding to the North Sea on modern maps.

Diorama detail of viking settlers cutting sod out of the ground for use in lining buildings. (Courtesy of the excellent Viking World museum.)

Diorama detail of a viking woman outside a longhouse. (Courtesy of the excellent Viking World museum.)

Diorama detail of viking settlers carving and drying meat from a beached whale. (Courtesy of the excellent Viking World museum.)

On the second floor of the museum there were a half-dozen posters lining the wall next to the ship. Each one showed part of a map of Iceland with markers on it, and chunks of text next to the markers describing all kinds of weird legends and fun historical details, with cartoony illustrations nearby. Here I finally learned the reason why there was a Rock ‘N’ Roll Museum in Keflavik.

Detail of a map of Icelandic culture and legends, designed by Ingólfur Örn Björgvinsson.

Also on the second floor was a room full of stylized pop-up characters from viking culture.

Total Scooby-Doo moment in the Viking World museum...

I can only assume these are trolls. They've done something horrible to the local livestock... (From the excellent Viking World museum.)

My favorite part of this amazing art is the eyes. (From the excellent Viking World museum.)

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a selfie on the deck of the Íslendingur.

Ahoy! And stuff!

On the way out I bought a handful of “authentic reproduction” Viking coins, and mixed them in with some Icelandic money. These are going to The Dane back home!

As if in tribute to the museum, or to vikings in general, the sky conjured up a cloud very much like a viking ship over my campsite. A good sign for the travel ahead!

Viking ship in the sky over the campsite.

The museum was fun, and the price of admission was completely offset by the fact that I had camped there for free the previous night. Hooray for small-town Iceland being nice to tourists!

And now, it was time to get on the road for the largest town of them all — the capital city of Reykjavík.

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