As I introduced my reason to go to Stockholm in my first post of impressions about it, the research of viking lost culture was the main reason of my trip to the North. To do that, I asked beforehand to many swedish friends, search on guide books and sites to get some info about the topic. The part that got my attention the most was the island of Birka, UNESCO World heritage site, so I booked a tour to Birka by boat at stromma.se. After this little introduction you can keep reading to know about the one day tour I made to a full viking experience.
The day started smoothly, quite hot for being Stockholm (all my swedish friends insisted it wasn’t normal), and sunny. We were blessed by the gods on our trip. The meeting point was at the harbour next to the Stockholm city hall, and it took around two hours to get to the island of Birka. On the boat we had a viking and archeologist guide that explained some details of story and scenery we had on our trip.
Birka is considered to be Sweden’s first town, and was a trading city and port between regions. Many viking related and other cultures objects have been found in the surroundings of Birka.
Once in the island, the group had some spare time to explore around the area, have a snack in the restaurant and visit the museum in the island. Also, many activities were aimed to kids, like archeology, pottery and rune craving. I had a quick bite and entered the museum in my craving for viking knowledge.
Right after finished the museum visit, the whole group was called for the free guided tour around the island, in english. Really appreciate that detail, as many of us weren’t swedish speakers. The swedish group was after the english tour. Starting point in front of the museum we were accompanied through the ancient graveyard and listen to our viking guide. Walking through history and the well explained tour, people was delighted by the viking stories of Birka. The tour takes you for a walk to the Anskar cross monument on the hills of the island. From there, the tour finishes and takes a short walk back to the harbour.
With more spare time around the island, I explored a bit more details and activities there, whilst waiting for our boat to call for departure back to Stockholm. My viking day wasn’t going to finish there though, as my friend Alex made a reservation for us in the viking restaurant Aifur, back in Gamla Stan.
AIFUR VIKING RESTAURANT
Aifur is located in the old town of Gamla Stan, in Stockholm. To access there you can walk through the main street and is easy to spot Aifur viking restaurant. It helped also that my friends waited me there. My day of viking experiences continued awesomely after crossing the main door of the restaurant. A waiter attended us in the door, and asked for our names. Right after that he raised his voice to the hall and introduced us one by one to the crowd. A real warmth welcoming. Guided to our table spot in a big hall, all viking decorated, accompanied by a live group music, using traditional instruments. The atmosphere and themed is perfectly recreated in Aifur. The food and drink as well, all worth the experience. I was lost in translation most of the time, letting my swedish hosts take the decisions and talk to the hall staff, but also getting soon the translations in english made it an awesome experience.