Roskilde Stories and Tips

Roskilde

Inside Roskilde Domkirke Photo, Roskilde, Denmark

The plan today is to take the train to Roskilde which is the original capital of Denmark. There’s an old Cathedral (Domkirke) and the Viking Ship museum there which is on our Must See list. The day is overcast and chilly unfortunately. Get used to it!

As breakfast wasn’t included, there is a bakery just up the street. We had hot drinks and something to eat there before going to Norroport station. Apparently we can get a regional train to Roskilde from here rather than going to the Central Station so that will be convenient. Only we had trouble with the ticket machines. It kept getting to the payment part and timing out, not giving me the opportunity to put in the corresponding PIN. There was no manned ticket office there either and the machine only took coins, not paper money. Arggh! We went down onto the platform to see if there was anyone there that could help. There was a snack kiosk so I asked there and the guy had some tickets and things so he sold us two 24 hour transport passes. Sorted.

The train took maybe 20 or 30 minutes and you arrive at the city centre. Roskilde also has lots of pretty colourful one or two storey houses. The looked quite old, some of them but they also have modern buildings as well, of course. We walked through a shopping area that led to the old Market square. Here you find some old brick buildings, one of which houses the tourist information centre and the brick Domkirke is behind that. One one side of the church is a long low yellow building which is apparently the Bishop’s Palace, his residence and offices.

As I said, this used to be the capital city and most of the Kings and Queens from the 1500s forward are buried in the church. The interior of the church does look like it’s been restored and it has been changed over the years since it was first built in the 13th century. Some of the walls and ceilings are ver clean and bright, painted white with crests but you can see that the pews and other woodwork is very old. The altar screen is gold, a very elaborate three panel piece that is from the 16th century. Behind that is the tomb of Margrete I who was a medieval queen of Denmark and the workmanship is exquisite on the decorations and the effigy.

The real jaw-dropper is the chapel built by Christian IV. The walls are covered in murals and the vaulted ceiling is bright blue with gold highlights and "stars" similar to the ceiling in Sainte Chappelle in Paris. This king reigned for over 60 years. The chapel has a number of tombs in it including his and a large bronze statue of him as well. The gates to the chapel are intricately worked wrought iron, it looks like lace!

Most of the rulers seem to be Christians or Frederiks though I expect that is just the name they take when the succeed to the throne.

From there we walked down a little street that let to a main one that comes out by the Viking Ship museum. It was a very pretty walk with the old houses lining the first street.

The museum has a lot of replica longboats in the little harbour and inside the museum there are bits and pieces of 5 real ones, mounted on a skeleton frame so you can see how big they really were. These ships were discovered in the fjord and were painstakingly raised and dried out and preserved. They also have sailings where you can go out in a replica boat and be part of the crew, rowing and handling the sails but it was far to chilly today for that. It also costs extra to do that on top of the museum entry.

We had a look into the working boat house where they are building another long boat according to traditional methods. There are lots of information boards and there is a film you can watch about the voyage they did in a replica longboat from Roskilde to Dublin and back. They do have radar and some other safety measures on board but basically they are in this shallow boat exposed to the elements and you cannot imagine how the Vikings could have gone across the oceans in these boats and survived!

We had a coffee and we bought a few things in the gift shop. We just missed the bus back to the station so we asked the gift shop people to call us a taxi. She said the bus was only once an hour so it wasn’t worth waiting and it was an uphihll climb to walk. The departures board at the station was a bit confusing. Surely more than one or two trains an hour stop in Copenhagen? I asked someone and of course, there were other trains and since they all went through one or two platforms, we could be sure of getting one if we waited there. We only had to wait about 10 minutes and we were able to get the train right to Norreport.

I have an app on my iPod for Copenhagen and it shows local restaurants. One of the ones near our hotel seemed like it might be a good bet so we walked down a couple of blocks and found it. It’s called Café Klimt and it turned out to be a little gem. It’s small but cheerful. They have an English menu and the prices seemed good. We notice they also do brunch and breakfast items cheaper than we could pay at the hotel so we will probably come here for our breakfasts even though they don’t open until 10. We’re not in any rush so it will mean we don’t have to get up really early.

We had an excellent meal here. I had lasagna and Graham had a steak with a peppercorn sauce. The food was presented with lovely decoration and it was hot and fresh and very good. The restaurant itself is a bit worn around the edges, with some vinyl on seats cracked but the staff was really nice, the food excellent and we liked it there.

Tonight we went to the studio where Dave and Donovan record their Metal Breakfast Radio Show to do a show with them. We had to take a bus through the northern part of the city, the Norrepro district and then walked a few blocks where the building was. It’s a small studio and Donovan also has his business in one of the rooms. He builds and fixes electric guitars and is very talented. The session went well, lots of fun. They play songs but then talk through a lot of it and if they don’t like the song, they finish it early with Dalek sound effects "Exterminate!!!!" Graham and I had brought some songs to play and I know I fully expected some of mine to be exterminated, one that I brought specifically for that purpose!

The room was small and got quite warm with the four of us in there. Beer was drank and laughs were had. It was mostly the three of them doing most of the talking as I don’t know as much about the metal music world that they do but I enjoyed myself. We got a taxi back to the hotel as it was dark and late and I didn’t fancy walking very far to find a later bus. We discovered we were too late for the hotel restaurant and there weren’t any others close by that were open or that weren’t too full so we ended up having to go to bed hungry! Better get some snacks in to avoid that situation again!

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