Tour Scandinavia
by Ronald Bruce Meyer
(brocure copy written on spec for a luxury tour company based in Chicago)

Wordcount 3600

Scandinavia With Silversea . . .
1 unusual cruise

fjord ship

Norway. Sweden. Denmark. What the glaciers uncovered a mere 13,000 years ago, you can discover... in eleven days. You'll cruise the North Sea from England to the Baltic, retracing some of the routes the ancient Vikings sailed. You'll experience the lands of Odin and Thor, Balder and Loki -- and discover what the explorer Leif Erikson discovered. In the lands of giants and runes, you'll tour castles, cathedrals and gardens, historic towns, museums and exhibitions. And you'll find other wonders of the Baltic along the way: Tallinn, capital of Estonia, and St. Petersburg, political hub of Imperial Russia.

viking corner

During Magruder Simpson's 11-day cruise,  Scandinavia With Silversea, travelers will explore, in comfort the Vikings never imagined, the most striking sites and cities of the Baltic north. We'll traverse the North Sea and round Denmark on our way...

Ashore in Oslo, Norway, we'll visit Holmenkollen and Frogner Parks, learn about Norway's Viking heritage at the National Museum of Maritime History and the Viking Ship Museum, and remember the more recent explorations of Thor Heyerdahl at the Kon-Tiki Museum.

Ashore in Helsingborg, Sweden, we'll explore the historic city center, enjoy the Fredriksdals Open-Air Museum, wander the Wrams Gunnarstorp Castle, and tour the Sofiero Castle, Springs and Gardens, and Ramlösa Springs. From Helsingborg our ship will round the southern tip of Sweden to dock at Karlskrona for leisure activities.

Ashore in Tallinn, Estonia, we'll take a walking tour of the medieval old town, applaud a short concert, see the Czarina's summer cottage at Kadriorg Park, visit the Song Festival Ground and stroll the beautiful Pirita district.


viking hull

The hull of a Viking ship

Ashore in St. Petersburg, Russia, we'll tour the cathedrals of St. Nicholas, St. Isaac, and the Fortress of St. Peter and Paul, relive the glory days of Peter the Great -- at Peterhof, the Cottage Palace, the Chinese Palace at Lomonosov -- and Catherine the Great, at Catherine's Palace. In addition, we'll marvel at the Russian heritage we find on display at the Hermitage and the Mukhina Art Academy.

* * *


A Scandinavian sunset

* A Bit of History

Since classical times, Scandinavia has referred chiefly to three countries with intertwining histories but distinct cultures -- Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. They are approached from England via the North Sea, site of the Battle of Jutland. The largest and northernmost of the three, Sweden, splits vertically a land mass, the Scandinavian peninsula, that extends northward into the Barents Sea, crossing the Arctic Circle. Norway is on the east, Sweden on the west.


Beowulf MS

A fragment of the Beowulf manuscript

Denmark, the smallest of the Scandinavian nations, is located on the Jutland Peninsula between the North Sea on the west and the Baltic Sea on the southeast.

The great epic Beowulf, written anonymously sometime between 650 and 750, reflects the heroic civilization of Scandinavia. In this story of how the hero rescues the Danes from the monster Grendel and his mother, the poet captures the spirit of tribal life, including the intense bond between the tribal leader and his thanes -- freemen granted land in return for military service.

As masters of the maritime technology of their age, for nearly three centuries, 800 to 1050, Vikings plied their raids and trades over the northern seas, as Scandinavia became a center of civilization in northern Europe. Gradually, what was an amorphous Scandinavian region became separate nation-states. Harold I (Harold Fairhair) brought most of Norway under his rule by the year 872. King Gorm the Old of Jutland reunited Denmark by about 930. By the end of the 10th century, the Goths finally conquered the Suiones (Svearna) and warring tribes and kingdoms at last became Sweden. It was toward the end of the Viking Age, about 1000, that these national kingdoms adopted Christianity and some increased literacy emerged.


Norway flag

(Norwegian: Norge) The western coastline of the "Land of the Midnight Sun" is washed by the Atlantic Ocean, which is sometimes called the Norwegian Sea. To the east is its neighbor, Sweden, with whom it shares the Scandinavian peninsula, some of its history, and most of its border. The northern third of the country lies within the Arctic Circle, which in summertime feels almost 24 hours of sunshine, earning Norway its popular sobriquet. The climate is temperate, with winter temperatures along the coast moderated, as with winters in northwestern Europe generally, by southerly air currents brought in above the waters of the North Atlantic Drift, which is warmed by the Gulf Stream.

* A Bit of History

More Scandinavia . . .

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