Viking Life. 8/22/18

We start today with some breakfast room service which allows us to avoid the crowded early morning food scene. The food come like a big puzzle all fit into a large tray.

Breakfast tray

Today is our first excursion and we are supposed to learn about Viking life. One thing I notice here in Scandinavia is that they try very hard to paint Vikings as explorers and adventurers rather than marauders. We get on our bus and fight through a lot of morning traffic to Viking Aliv! which is kind of a hokey Viking theme attraction.

Approaching Viking Aliv

At Viking Aliv we see mock ups of Vikings, Viking houses, Viking food, etc.

Guide pointing out a (not real) rune stone
Statue of a Viking

A few things we do learn are that the word “window” comes from the Vikings. Their homes had no chimneys, just a triangular eye at each end for the wind to pass through or “wind eye” which morphed into window.

Diorama of Viking house

Two other factoids are that Viking sails were woven of wool and that Viking helmets had nose pieces but no horns. The German composer, Wagner, was the inventor of horned Viking helmets.

Hornless Viking helmet

We also go on a ride through a Viking story, Ragnfrid’s Saga, which tries to be Disneyesque but fails.

From there we go to an actual Swedish history museum where we see real rune stones, burial sites, and gold ornamentation of the Vikings.

Real rune stone
Actual gold necklace rings and helmet

We would have liked to stay longer but our time is shortened due to the fact that our leader has miscounted heads and left someone behind at Viking Aliv! and we have to go back and pick her up.

Finally we go to a restaurant, Sjatte Tunnan, in Gamla Stan, the old town, which is kind of a pretend Viking dining hall. We have a glass of mead and a pate that is made in the shape of a pear with a lingonberry sauce. It is pretty tasty!

Meat pate in the shape of a pear and lingonberry sauce

We get back in time for the mandatory safety drill and a quick lunch before we head off through the Stockholm archipelago.

John tries a new lunchtime beer


The archipelago is quite lovely with small islands with summer homes upon them. We do some relaxing on our deck and watch the world go by. Until tomorrow morning we will be steaming our way to Helsinki, Finland.

Stockholm receding in the distance
Islands and summer homes
John relaxing on our deck

Tonight for dinner we are going to the other of the Viking Seas’s premium restaurants, Manfredi’s. We have a mostly bad meal. The positive things I can say are that the bread is very good, once he got past the errant bones John’s sea bass is good, and the dessert we make for ourselves, Parmesan with honey, are all good. Here are some pictures –

Good bread!
Tough calamari and shrimp with shells (I tried eating a bite with the shell on, not good)
John’s semi-boneless sea bass with fregola
Mary’s very Marsala veal Marsala with tired asparagus and not crispy potatoes
Dessert we made up for ourselves – slivers of Parmesan cheese and honey plus grappa!

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