If in doubt and time is limited, what better way to see Victoria than by double-decker bus?
The boys were stoked. We’d take the bus, climb up to the upper level and see all there was to see.
Right after seeing the Royal BC Museum and their Viking Exhibit.
So, since I am long-winded and can never tell a story in 10 word when 1000 will do, I’m going to do this in 3 parts. 1st part, the museum. 2nd the bus ride and then, How Best To Experience Victoria In Pictures (and it may not be what you think.)
So first, Vikings. In explaining what they were all about (as we stood in line for the tickets), I think I made two little girls ill and I’m pretty sure their mother was looking daggers are me. But hey, the Vikings were pretty violent folks. Hacky-slashie-stabbie types. Oh sure, they were also traders and artisans and settlers and blah, blah, blah, but let’s face it, they furiously plundered and looted and pillaged their way across Europe. With swords and axes and fire.
They were like the Sons of Anarchy of their time. So not people you’d want your daughter to date … unless your daughter was, you know, a Viking.
So I thought the Viking Exhibit at the Royal BC Museum would be amazing. I mean who doesn’t like pillaging and plundering and bad boy attitudes?
Outside the museum had a small, authentic-looking Viking rowboat. Not big enough to carry 50 hefty men with axes and shields, but a pretty cool example of Viking shipbuilding skills.
The picture shows how thrilled the boys were.
Inside, the exhibit focused mostly on the peaceful part of Viking culture. However, there was one sword on display that could be held, and I think it touched something in the Youngest as he channeled his Northman heritage, not wanting to see anything else, not wanting to touch anything else and genuinely confused that he couldn’t take the sword out of the display and hack at his brother with it.
Other than that, though, the exhibit showed where they traded and settled (all over Europe and even down to Constantinople!) It showed how they made their ships, what plants they used for dye, what clothes the wore, and which gods they worshiped (which the Oldest found out were, in fact, mostly superheroes from the Marvel Comics.) If he was a god, he declared, he would be Loki. He liked Loki.
But there was very little about what made the Vikings so interesting – at least to me. I guess it made sense. This was a family exhibit. Want to see what life was really like? Go watch The Vikings on the History Channel. Lots of things get hacked off, blood spurts everywhere and what the Vikings do to the monks, well, the less said the better.
It was a warrior society, born out of hardship and cruel violence. Not something little Suzie really needs to know about until later, if ever.
However, I wanted to tell the boys about Ragnarök and the end of times. What a story! All the Viking warriors who die in glorious battle gather at a hall to drink and sing until the end of times when the world is broken, the giants storm Asgard and the warriors all muster to fight a final battle, knowing that the only outcome is defeat.
I mean, how cool, how nihilistic is that? I love it!
The boys just wanted to know if Loki survived and if Iron Man would help out Thor.
Still, they did learn that Vikings did, in fact, NOT wear horns on their helmets. A big disappointment for all of us. They learned how heavy a sword could be and what a ship’s sail felt like. And they learned that Loki and Thor and Odin existed before Stan Lee dug them up and made them famous again.
So, all good.
However, if I’d been able to make the exhibit, I would have had all sorts of pictures showing the epic battles, maybe allowed the boys to hack at each other with ax and shield, and maybe given them a chance to row across the harbour and sack Esquimalt. Now THAT would be the Viking experience, let me tell you.
I’m not sure the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world would have thought this would have been appropriate.
The rest of the museum was fun, though. Nothing like a few dinosaur bones, a big scary woolly mammoth, a Megalodon tooth and an IMAX movie about great white sharks to liven things up. But even the shark movie – rated 9.5/10 by the boys – was all PG, mostly talking about where the sharks swam, what music they seemed to like and how people loved interacting with them. Like a Finding Nemo version of sharks. There was very little about limbs being chomped off, seals being devoured or the poor old sharks themselves being used for stock in some moron’s soup.
All in all, though, not a bad museum for them to see.
Plus, afterwards, they got to have hotdogs.
And who doesn’t like a morning that ends with hot dogs?
Next up, the bus ride, bees and books.