July 2002. One long ago summer I found myself touring Denmark for a couple of weeks. Time was tight, so when I rolled into Roskilde I had just under twenty-four-hours to hit the highlights before my train to Odense. My first stop was the city’s giant cathedral. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, this was Scandinavia’s first Gothic cathedral to be built from brick, a huge inspiration on the subsequent construction of churches throughout Europe. Located on a small hilltop overlooking Roskilde Fjord, the cathedral boasts a dramatic location; while inside you’ll find a mausoleum where forty Danish kings and queens are buried! The Royal Tombs are pretty spectacular and its impossible not to feel the weight of history as you move between the coffins.
July 2002. A large chunk of my day was spent at the altogether more lighthearted Viking Ship Museum. With five original vessels from the 11th century in its main hall, this is one of the most important centres on the planet for an insight into the world and lives of the Vikings.
July 2002. There’s also an adjoining playroom with a giant model ship, which visitors can climb aboard, as well as a number of costume chests and a wide variety of plastic weapons. More for the kids really… and err… me.
July 2002. The museum’s boatyard meanwhile specialises in full-scale reconstructions of historic boats. But the highlight is probably a walk down the jetty where you can board a merchant vessel for a local sailing trip.
July 2002. I made a couple of friends that day. First there was Dave, a tanned, silver-haired Brit who’d been teaching English in Japan. The other dude was Niels, a bearded, softly spoken Dane from Roskilde. I met them both at my hostel and that evening we went out for a few beers at a traditional pub in the town centre. For me it was an early taste of that wonderful experience of the coming together of random strangers, one of the many great joys of travelling. Forever caught in this one moment of my life, I can’t help but wonder what happened to them both in the fifteen years that have passed since this photo was taken.
For more on my adventures in the country, check out my other reports from around Denmark.
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