Monday, October 10, 2011


It has been very busy of late.  We just returned last Tuesday night from our trip to North Dakota.  We absolutely fell in love with the Fargo area.  Unfortunately we weren't able to see other areas of the state during this trip, but we're planning to return.  Our five days there were filled with activities though and we thoroughly enjoyed our little vacation.

By accident I discovered Viking Ship Park while checking out a map for area attractions so we ventured across the bridge to Moorhead, Minnesota, to check it out. Seriously, who could pass up checking out a Viking ship?  This mural is at the entrance of the center.  The ship has a wonderful story about it being built by a teacher from Minnesota who had initially planned the contruction of the ship, the Hjemkomst (Homecoming), and to sail it to Norway, the land of his grandparents (ie The Homecoming).  The design was based on ships the Viking would have sailed in approximately 700 AD.  Construction was planned to take three years but actually took ten years to finish.  He constructed it in an abandoned potato factory.  Unfortunately the man died of leukemia at the end of construction and wasn't able to see the completion of his dream.  His children promised they'd finish his dream for him and did in fact sail the ship to Norway after his death in 1982.  Incidentally, on it's way from Minnesota to New York through the Great Lakes the ship made a stop in Detroit and there's a letter with Coleman Young's signature on it displayed at the Center.   

The Stave church replica was later built and donated to the center in 1998.  It's a replica of the Hopperstad Stave Church in Vik, Norway, which was built in approximately 1000 AD.  The dragon  carvings on the trim of the roofs are clear indications of the Viking influence and a marriage between their pagan beliefs and the Christian beliefs starting to spread into Norway and other Viking areas.  The church from the side looks like a pagoda and there's a belief that the Vikings, probably from Denmark, made it to China and were influenced by the architecture there.  Our guide gave us a wonderful history lesson on the Vikings.  The carvings are unbelievable and completely done by hand.  The entrance to the church has panels that are heavily carved.  The stave shingles that give the name to the style of church are made using three cuts on the ends of each board.  There's a covered walkway around the entire church, sort of like a porch, where they would walk around the church meditating before they entered it.  It's very visual and our guide said that was intentional due to the fact that the priest and the people probably wouldn't have spoken the same language so the people would have only understood through the pictures.  Our guide was phenominal to say the least.  Below is a picture of the baptismal on the left and one of the carved beams in front of it.

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