In a remote town on the coast of Norway, a small junior college is currently offering a course to teach students the original Viking crafts. Some of the kids, however, are looking to Iceland for more inspiration.
According to Vísir, in fact, 14 students from a junior college in Nordfjordeid will be coming tomorrow with the intent of expanding their Viking knowledge. The week-long plan includes various activities such as checking out the mighty Viking ship ‘Íslendingur’ which brought Leifur Eiríksson to the New World, meet members of the Ásatrú fellowship and explore the history of Icelandic Viking.
From a theoretical point of view, the Viking course focuses mostly on how Viking culture has changed and developed over the centuries, as well as how it’s perceived right now, for instance in literature and cinema. Teacher and Viking expert Stig Myren, however, explains that the students also gain insight into the practical side of things by engaging in Viking-related activities. “That includes working with steel and leather, making food and clothes the old fashioned way, and even sailing ships,” Stig explains.
According to Stig, however, in Iceland the kids will have the opportunity to explore ancient Viking culture from a different perspective. In particular, the kids are looking forward to riding Icelandic horses and learning how to engage in Glíma, a form of folk wrestling that was extremely popular amongst Vikings. The students will stay in Iceland for about a week and learn as much as they can before travelling back home to complete their studies.
The fact that Norwegians are coming to Iceland to find more inspiration and harvest knowledge of Viking crafts might sound strange. Yet, according to Marta Eiríksdóttir, an Icelandic yoga teacher working in the same school, Norwegians are very interested in the history of the land settlers who sailed to Iceland. Her students ask Marta about all kinds of stories related to the settlers, and she insists that Iceland is their Mecca.
“I think this should make Icelanders think a little bit about who we are and where we come from,” Marta adds. “We are not Americans, nor are we Danes. We are Norwegians. We need to remind ourselves of this, and that’s exactly what we are doing in this tiny community.”