We may be in March, but winter still has Norway in its icy grip. Well wrapped in a woollen shawl and with a warm mug of tea in hand, I find myself yearning for warmer temperatures and longer days. So much so, I figured a throw-back to an article I wrote after a summer trip would be a welcome change today. I was in the midst of worldbuilding and research for my MG book series and took a trip with my son to Stavanger to study the vikings of Norway. We had the best time and honestly, I’d love to be back there right now! Enjoy!
As a fledgling author, I’m still trying to find my feet and figure out what works for me. There’s a lot to take in. Over the past month, I’ve predominantly focused on worldbuilding, outlining and research. Worldbuilding, because it has allowed me create and imagine the world my stories will be set in. Outlining, because I’m a perfectionist at heart and can’t see how to take on a project of this magnitude without a really detailed plan. Research, because my story, despite having fantasy elements, will be set in a real place and historical period of time and I want it to feel authentic.
Last week though, I took a break from the worldbuilding rabbit hole and took a trip with my son to Rogaland here in Norway. Our goal was to visit different locations and museums in the area and soak up as much “Vikingness” as we could in the process! And boy did we ever!
We’ve been to the site of the battle of Hafrsfjord, where the viking that first unified the country under one ruler – Harald Hårfagre – became the first king of Norway. The picture above is of my son standing near the monument that has been erected there to commemorate the significance of the site. The monument is made of three bronze viking swords that stand 10 metres tall. It’s pretty impressive!
We’ve also been to what they believe was the royal seat of Harald Hårfagre and other Norwegian kings after him, in Avaldsnes. The ruins of a large stone building were discovered in 2012 and are in the process of being uncovered and restored. The history of the place and the view of the surrounding area are the things stories are made of and it’s safe to say my imagination was kicked into overdrive!
Aside from these two historical sites, we visited two open air reconstructions of viking farms – complete with guides and actors that were more than willing to share their knowledge and stories of life during the viking age. We also went to the Stavanger Archeological Museum to see artefacts from the viking period that have been found in Rogaland. Many of these items were incredibly well preserved and provide a picture of the vikings beyond that of mere marauders and murderous heathens.
All in all our trip was a great experience and we had the best time! Our feet are sore from all the walking we did for hours and hours each day but, above all, I came away with a whole heap of relevant research and details I can use in my books. That was my goal and I’m happy to say, our brief trip back in time was a success!