From Drakkar to Þrælar

Christopher Bjørnsen

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We Víkingar raid to acquire all sorts of goodies, to get þrælar, and let's face it, just because we enjoy the experience. Locales such as Ireland and Britain are equally known for the quality of their merchandise, as they are for the suitability of their þrælar.

Rather than capturing þrælar to serve us, we decided this one time to cough up some silver instead. A lot of silver: about 50lbs each, or the equivalent of USD 12,000 for a return flight between Seattle and Oslo via London. 

Upon arriving at the airport, we were immediately removed from the general population, and transferred to a First Class lounge. Sure enough, the place was dead, as it is evidently highly inconvenient for most people without the built of a Víkingr to carry 50lbs of silver around to buy their way into such place. We spent the hour before our flight raiding the bar and stuffing our face with an endless supply of salmon, meat, and cheese sandwiches, constantly made fresh and brought to us by a þræll particularly eager to please. By the time we had to board our flight, we could hardly move. If it hadn't been for priority boarding, this would have placed us at a serious disadvantage to secure prime overhead bin real estate for our Norrøna backpacks and ... bows.

Once on board, we had access to an entire closet for our bows and packs. Within seconds of reaching our private seats/bunks, we were offered more food (warm nuts) together with champagne, by a þræll with an unusually strong British accent. We indicated that we would much rather communicate in Old Norse. The þræll, rightly so, endlessly apologized for not speaking norrœnt mál. 

We were then provided pajamas as well as a toiletry kit. We were however utterly appalled to find out the kit did not include beard oil. We immediately considered publicly blood eagling the þræll at the back of the aircraft in 4th (British Airways has 4 classes) for a larger audience. However, in the post 9/11 era, the unavailability of decent knives meant that we would have had to use a butter knife. Faced with the tediousness of such operation, we decided against a blood eagle for this one time only.

Immediately following take off, we were provided with a dinner menu, and a few minutes later, we were resuming stuffing our face, this time half laying down on our seat/bunk/bed. It certainly wasn't French cuisine. However, when you're Norwegian, you cannot reasonably complain about food, even British food. When it came to washing down the feast, we were further outraged that the þræll could not provide mead. A settlement was reached with some sort of berry liquor mixed with Grand Marnier.

When time came to hit the sack, the þræll made our beds with fresh sheets and a down duvet. We spent the night watching movies (none of which in Old Norse, Norwegian, or Icelandic) on our large screen personal entertainment system, occasionally sleeping in a bed that turned out to be almost as comfortable as an Icelandic survival shelter. 

Before we knew it, it was time for breakfast. The þræll suggested the British Airways signature smoothie to wake us up. Its thickness and composition, however, almost killed us.

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As soon as we landed, we started making our way to the Concorde Lounge. Not having a sun stone made navigating the new Heathrow Terminal 5 quite a challenge. Turns out that British þrælar still cannot build a decent airport terminal. After fighting our way through thousands of British people, most of which absolutely unsuitable as þrælar, we finally made it to the Concorde Lounge.

We were immediately directed, at our request, to private rooms/cabin with full showers. We started washing (we are Víkingar), putting our beards under control, and doing other things. We had a nap, and upon waking up, ordered more food and booze. A þræll of mysterious origin, and who appeared to speak an exotic language, brought us another feast. 

Eventually, we returned into the general population to make our way to our flight to Oslo.

All in all, using þrælar and British Airways to cross the Atlantic was almost as good as using our usual drakkar, and a little bit faster.

Christopher Bjørnsen

Tromsø, Norway