This page features a collection of pictures sent into us by our listeners of famous Viking and saga related monuments around the world. It will start out small, but we hope to see it grow over time into an impressive album that reflects both the impact of the Vikings throughout the Western world and the passion of our listeners.
We’d love to see you in the picture, but don’t feel any pressure to make an appearance if you don’t want to. Send us what you’ve got and a brief story about the trip/monument/whatever. And let us know if you’d prefer not to be mentioned by name.
#16 – Matt at Lindisfarne
Matt, a longtime listener, made the journey from his home in Australia to the British Isles for a bit of conferencing and vacationing. He was in York, but forgot to look for saga/Viking related photo ops. They’re everywhere in York, Matt. Come on! It’s okay, though. Matt made up for his neglect by sending us pictures from Lindisfarne, a place famous for its Viking activity. While the original wooden buildings where Aidan and Cuthbert preached are no longer around for some reason, there are some lovely stone ruins of the priory (thanks Henry VIII) and the 13th century Church of St Mary’s. That’s Matt with his daughter in front of St Mary’s teaching her all about the “harrowing inroads of heathen men.” It’s important to educate these kids to appreciate their history. Matt is doing his part.
#15 – Joy in Iceland
After a recent trip to Iceland, Joy was kind enough to share a few pictures with us. Up first is a statue of Gudrid Far-Traveller and her son Snorri in Glaumbaer. You may remember her from such sagas as The Saga of Eirik the Red and The Saga of the Greenlanders. In keeping with the Vinland theme, she also sent us another angle on the impressive monument to Leif Eiriksson. She wrote that seeing the monument inspired a desire to return to L’anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland (she visited once in 1998). After her trip to Iceland (and listening to Saga Thing, of course), she has a whole new appreciation for that historic site. Lastly, no trip to Iceland would be complete without a visit to the Law Rock at Thingvellir National Park. As someone who works in politics, Joy found the Law Rock particularly moving.
#14 – Elizabeth and Steve in Iceland
Back in June, Elizabeth got in touch to say how much she and her husband enjoyed listening to Saga Thing as they prepared for their trip to Iceland. Of course, I forgot to post the pictures after appreciating them for myself. Better late than never, they say.
In the slideshow, you’ll see:
- A taxidermied cat from the Saga Museum in Reykjavík
- Elizabeth at the Cairns of Laufskálavarða
- Elizabeth at Borg á Mýrum with a cairn marking the site of the settlement farm
- Steve with a monument in honor of Bárðr Snæfellsáss, who we’ll meet in Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss.
- Steve in Geysir working on his Glima moves. Learn all about Glima in this stock footage from yesteryear. Or check out this slightly more recent footage from the 2005 Icelandic Glima Championship.
- Steve and the Sólfar (Sun Voyager) in Reykjavík
#13 – Tim in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Tim stumbled upon this gem during a visit to the High Court in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It’s a quote from our most recent episode of Njal’s Saga. Great find, Tim!
#12 – Ben and Thorfinn Karlsefni
When I announced the Statues and Monuments page for the first time during our Finnbogi’s Saga Judgment episode, I asked if anyone in the Philadelphia area would mind swinging by Fairmount Park to snap a picture of the great Thorfinn Karlsefni. It turns out that Ben, who’s been working his way through the podcast after discovering us earlier this year, lives just a few minutes from the park. As Ben said, it would have been churlish of him not to get the picture for us. Thanks, Ben! You’re a true thingman.
#11 – Andy visits the Draken Harald Hårfagre in Fairport Harbor, OH
Finally, Andy gets a chance to contribute to the Statues and Monuments page! After closely following the Draken Harald Harfagre on its epic journey from Norway to Iceland to Greenland to the United States, I took the family up to Fairport Harbor on Lake Erie to see the world’s largest Viking ship in person. It was a dream come true stepping on board the Draken. I can’t imagine how exciting and frightening those voyages in the North Sea, in the Atlantic, and in the Mediterranean must have been. Exploring the Draken gave me a newfound appreciation for the men and women of the Viking Age. Truly remarkable.
#10 – Ian in Weston, Massachusetts
A little while back, Ian sent us these pictures of the Norumbega Tower, an impressive tower built in 1899 to mark the spot of the fabled Norse settlement of Norumbega. It’s important to emphasize “fabled” here, because the Norumbega theory is based on the crackpot archaeology and even worse linguistics of Harvard scientist Eben Norton Horsford. According to Horsford, the Norsemen built a large fort and city on this very spot. You can read the plaque a bit in Ian’s picture and then check your work on the transcription here.
We talked about Horsford a bit in the Judgement section of our episode on The Saga of the Greenlanders (around the 10 minute mark). Even if the tower may represent a bit of historical corruption, it speaks to our nation’s fascination with the Vikings and their discovery of North America. The Norumbega Tower is an interesting curiosity and worth a visit. Ian tells me that it’s quite close to Brandeis University, just over the town line from Waltham to Weston. Thanks for sharing, Ian!
#9 – Steve in Duluth Minnesota
On his way home from Minnesota’s North Shore, Steve stopped by Duluth for a walk around Leif Erikson Park. You’ll never guess who he bumped into! That’s right, Leif the Lucky was there. It seems that Leif really gets around. As Steve tells us, a ship called the ‘Leif Erikson’ used to be located in the park, but was moved in the 1990’s for restoration (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leif_Erikson_(ship)). The ship was built in Norway in 1926, and was sailed to Duluth MN, arriving at Duluth harbor on June 23, 1927. The ship was purchased and placed in Lake Park which was subsequently re-named Leif Erikson Park.
Nice shirt, Steve!
#8 – Per’s Trip to Norway
Per has a photographer’s eye and a pretty good camera. He sent us these amazing shots from his trip to Norway, including stops at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo and Hafrsfjord. The picture of the Sverd i Fjell monument is particularly impressive.
#7 – Ryan in Manitoba
Ryan sent us two photos of himself with the Viking statue in Gimli, Manitoba. The first is from 1981 and the second from 2016. It’s our very first “Then & Now” post. As you can see, Ryan has aged well. I have it on good authority, however, that the Viking has had a little work done since ’81.
#6 – Patricia in Reykjavík
Our friend Patricia is taking advantage of a break from her work on the television series Arrow and travelling through Europe. A huge fan of the sagas and Saga Thing, she’s currently in Reykjavík soaking up all the Icelandic goodness. Patricia was also kind enough to send us a few pictures of the Leif Eiriksson monument.
#5 – Andrew in Iceland (Borgarnes and Mývatn)
Andrew recently shared a few pictures from his visit to Iceland. The first is from the very spot, as Andrew tells us, “where Skallagrim is said to have heaved a boulder at his maid Brak for daring to try to stop him from killing his son because he beat him at hockey. ‘Neither the woman nor the boulder ever came up afterwards.’ (Nice witticism for the narrator.)” This isn’t too far from the Settlement Center in Borgarnes.
He also made the trek up to Mývatn, where he encountered the famous midges. After listening to our episode on the Saga of the People of Reykjadal and Killer-Skuta, Andrew sent us this picture. He advises future visitors to enjoy the scenery with mouth closed. You can even see some of the pesky litter buggers in his picture. Thanks for sharing, Andrew Midge-Mouth!
#4 – Dioramas at the Settlement Center from George’s visit to Borgarnes
Check out these amazing wood carvings and statues sent to us by George after his visit to The Settlement Center – Landnámssetur Íslands in Borgarnes. The center features a walk through the sagas with wooden dioramas. I love the craftsmanship in the Egil statue and the cubist influences in diorama #8. Thanks for sharing, George!
#3 – Leif Eiriksson monument from Neeraj’s visit to Reykjavik
Statues of Leif Eiriksson can be found all over the place. Neeraj found this beautiful monument to John’s thingman in Reykjavik. As the inscription says, the United States of America gave the monument to Iceland to commemorate the 1000 anniversary of the Althing in 1930. Makes me wonder what the last monument the United States gifted to another country. You don’t really hear about that kind of thing too often.
#2 – Holger Danske from Eric and Treasure’s visit to Solvang, California
And here we have Eric with his faithful companion, Treasure, posing in front of Holger Danske, a replica of the bronze statue in Denmark of the popular hero of French and Danish literature. According to legend, Holger the Dane sleeps at the ready, waiting until the day when Denmark needs him again. Eric ran into Holger while visiting Solvang, California. Plenty of good wine there and apparently a few Vikings as well.
#1 – From Martin’s visit to Þingvellir National Park
This first grouping was sent to us by Martin, who visited Iceland near the end of 2015 thanks to a surprise birthday gift from his wife. In order to prepare for the trip, Martin binge-listened to the full Saga Thing catalog. Here’s his panorama of a wintry view from the Law Rock at Þingvellir National Park. It’s an appropriate first set of photos for this page, since much of what we discuss on Saga Thing revolves around the Althing that was held at this very site. Martin’s lucky to have visited such a cool (and clearly cold) place.