NDT - Hjemkomst Ship of Dreams - October 8

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 9:37 AM CDT
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MOORHEAD, Minn. (Valley News Live) - The Hjemkomst Center might be the only museum in the world that was literally built around a Viking ship. In the 1970′s teacher Robert Asp decided he wanted to build such a ship and sail it across the Atlantic.

Asp was diagnosed with leukemia before he could see it through so others helped him finish. The job took more than 100 oak trees to complete. When it was done it stood 60 feet high and weighed 16 tons. In May of 1982 it set sail from Duluth with 13 crew members- including four of Asp’s own children.

The voyage was powered by wind. A week into their journey a tropical storm almost ended it all. It broke their rudder and tore a hole in the ship’s hull. They had nobody following them. No emergency protocol or anything like that.

But they kept going and it was a breeze after that. They sometimes had wind high enough to water ski off the back using the Vikings shields for skis.

After 6 weeks at sea they arrived in Bergen, Norway. The ship spent a year there before being placed on a freighter back to the U.S. Its final port was Moorhead- where it all began. And where visitors from around the world come to see it.

The ship isn’t the only Viking relic you’ll find here. The Hopperstad is in the little village of Vik, Norway. It is the second largest of all the Stave churches.

Wood carver Guy Paulson built and donated the church to the center. It took him 5 years to get it done. He even traveled to Norway to get the details just right- since the 28 Stave churches still standing were built in the Middle Ages. This is the time when the Vikings were transitioning from their multiple God religion to Christianity.

The theme here is dream big. Much like the builders of ships and churches once did. And hopefully visitors leave with a tip of the cap, or a Skol, for the creators.

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