Islands in the North

Orkney oneChristina here and I have once again been travelling in search of inspiration for my stories – this time to the Orkney Islands! These are situated in the far north of the UK, in between the Scottish mainland and Shetland, and the journey involved a 12-hour road trip by car with another hour and a half by ferry. It was worth every second!

As always, I was on the trail of the Vikings and they settled in the Orkney Islands during the 8th and 9th centuries (possibly before that). If you sail in a straight westerly direction from the southern part of Norway you end up either in Orkney or Shetland, and it was an easy journey in a Viking longship, only a couple of days’ sailing. Therefore, it made sense that it was one of the first places the Vikings went to when they set off on their adventures.

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A Norwegian Adventure

FlagChristina here and once again I’m going to take you all armchair travelling! A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to Norway on a research trip. My older daughter and I drove around the southern part of the country covering 1230 km in five days! Exhausting, but very rewarding.

We began our trip in the capital, Oslo, a beautiful town situated next to the Oslo fjord. In the city centre old houses mixed with new, overlooked by the royal castle up on a hill at one end of the famous Karl Johan Gate (street). Everything was within walking distance, including the cathedral, the harbour and Akershus, a medieval castle.

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A Journey Back in Time

StoneChristina here. I should have been in Norway right now on a research holiday, but for obvious reasons I’ve had to postpone. It’s a shame, as I was really looking forward to exploring that country, but hopefully I will get there next year. I had planned to tell you all about my journey too – hopefully with lots of wonderful photos – but I will have to take you along on last year’s trip to Denmark instead. As we’re all stuck at home, I hope you’ll enjoy a little bit of armchair travel!

For an author, seeing or experiencing things first hand is always the best way of doing research, and it’s a great excuse for going places. Of course it’s not always possible to find exactly what you need, especially when like me you’re writing about Viking times, but there are ways and means. With the whole of Scandinavia steeped in Viking history, one can definitely get a feel for the setting as a whole. And fortunately there are also quite a few museums where the curators have tried to recreate the past to really give visitors a taste of what it was like a thousand years ago. Two of the best ones are in Denmark and I came up with the idea of taking my mother (who lives in Sweden) on a little road trip, thereby killing two birds with one stone – she would get a mini holiday and I’d get to do some vital research while spending quality time with her!

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