Friday photo: Great Belt bridge

The Storebælt (Great Belt) bridge
The Storebælt (Great Belt) bridge

The beautiful 18 kilometre long Storebælt bridge joins two of the many islands that make up the nation of Denmark. We missed the official viewing location, but managed to see it from below on the island of Odense during our July 2011 visit to Denmark. Driving over it was an ecstatic experience (Tony drove, while I gave myself whiplash looking out of all the car windows). The toll fee, however, was worth weeping over.

Friday photo: Life preserver

Life preserver in Denmark
Life preserver in Denmark

I took this photo just beneath the Storebælt (Great Belt bridge), an engineering masterpiece and thing of beauty which joins the island of Zealand (where Copenhagen is) to the island of Odense, all part of Denmark. You can see one of the bridge legs in the background. TrygFonden (written on the life preserver) is a health and safety organisation.

Friday photo: Open wide

Car ferry opening up to receive vehicles
Car ferry opening up to receive vehicles

Here’s the bow of one of the ferries that travels between Helsingør in Denmark and Helsingborg in Sweden, opening up to expose the ramp that allows drivers to load their vehicles on the vessel in the harbour.

Interestingly enough, it was a lifting bow like this that caused the ferry Estonia to sink, as described in The Outlaw Sea. The Estonia was used in rough seas that she was not designed for, and the mechanism closing her bow and lifting the ramp was faulty. During a voyage in bad sea conditions her bow opened, flooding the interior of the vessel, and she sank very quickly claiming 852 lives.

I didn’t know all this when I took this particular trip! Fortunately the Øresund, the strait between Denmark and Sweden, is very calm.

Friday photo: Ship building workshop in Denmark

Ship building exhibit at the Viking Ship Museum
Ship building exhibit at the Viking Ship Museum

Here’s the ship building workshop at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark. The work of the boatyard at the museum is carried out so that the public can observe it; the museum builds clinker-built vessels for other museums, for research purposes, and for private commissions. I could spend days wandering around this place. The smell of sawdust and the beautiful curves of the wood are wonderful to me.

Friday photo: Ship building the old fashioned way

Viking ship construction in the boatyard at Roskilde
Viking ship construction in the boatyard at Roskilde

The boatyard at the Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde in Denmark builds replica historic ships of all kinds, with a focus on Viking vessels (from longboats right down to tiny fishing boats). Here’s an exhibit of a Viking ship under construction. The method of construction of the Viking ships involved riveting together overlapping planks, as can be seen here. Ships built using this method are called clinker-built.

Friday photo: Viking ship in a museum

One of the Viking ships inside the museum at Roskilde
One of the Viking ships inside the museum at Roskilde

Five Viking ships were scuttled in Roskilde Fjord, Denmark, in the 11th century, to protect the city from attack. The ships were discovered during dredging activities in the 1960s, and have been salvaged and restored for display in the beautiful Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde. The museum sits right on the fjord, with huge windows overlooking the greenish water. The displays are stark and simple, which lets one see just how beautifully these ships were put together. The Danes are rightfully proud of their Viking connections!

Friday photo: Viking ships in the water

Replica Viking boats in Roskilde
Replica Viking boats in Roskilde

Roskilde is a beautiful place to spend a day, and on our summer 2011 trip to Denmark we spent several very pleasant hours on the grass outside the Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde, and in the museum and boatyard itself. The boatyard builds replica ships of all kinds for museums and private collectors, and there are several Viking longboats on display at the jetty there. It is possible to go out on the fjord in some of the boats (you have to row!).