We are almost a week into our adventure into Sweden’s culture and cleantech world and have immersed ourselves in what it means to live in a progressive, modern, energy conscious world. Day 6 is upon us and we have taken a step back into the past into Sweden’s fascinating history of the Vikings. The Swedes are clearly an industrious nation, who are determined to improve their quality of living and are proud about their heritage and achievements throughout history from the days of their forefathers the Vikings. Swedes are unique in that they are both leaders in technology and are passionate about nature and the precious resource of the countryside that they celebrate and hold so dear. This aspect of their culture is reflected in the importance of sustainability and finding better technologies to improve living, whilst minimizing the impact on the environment in order to secure the their world for future generations. Despite living modern, technology-driven lives, Swedes always have one foot in nature, which is seen in their love for spending time in the countryside during their holidays, often at their summer homes.
The Viking village not only highlights and recognizes the history of the Swedish nation, but its growing popularity speaks to the importance of getting back to nature. Our guide Jon Erik is a shining example of this, having given up a life in the city as an accomplished chef to move to the country to continue doing what he loves – cooking. His vision of bringing this Viking countryside experience to Swedes and tourists alike materialized in this unique attraction and interactive experience.
On arrival, we were greeted by an introduction around an outdoor fire and a tour of a Viking ship replica, setting the scene for the rest of the afternoon. The central theme of the experience was that of being one with nature together, while enjoying traditional Swedish food and drink. The sustainability theme is reflected in the buildings, waste disposal and the use of local ingredients. We were treated to homemade honey mead and fresh local foods. Another key theme, which is both important to Swedish culture and our CAP experience is that of teamwork. We enjoyed a unique culinary experience of working together in teams to prepare a traditional Swedish meal, and then enjoying the fruits of our labors together in a Viking house.
We capped off (no pun intended) the day with an amusing attempt at archery, a traditional medieval skill used by the Vikings to vanquish their enemies. James Montgomery, our teammate kindly took on the role of the archery coach! This was a great way to take a step back and enjoy the more traditional view of Swedish culture and history, which no doubt had an impact on who the modern Swedes have become today.