The Wanderer: A Viking Island

Even a traveler like the Wanderer will sometimes come across a remote location that is rarely visited. The island of Gilly, located off the coast of Holland and Denmark is just such place.

The island has a permanent population of approximately 500 residents. In recognition of its Viking history, the national holiday is Thor Day, celebrated in alternate years on the 31st of April. Getting to the island is achieved by taking a two-hour ferry ride on the SS Hopeloos, a Dutch registered ship out of Amsterdam. The fare is a reasonable 30k.

The currency is the kapotnic, not to be confused with the Danish krone. There is no paper currency, all being in the form of coins. The smallest denomination is our equivalent of the dime and is the size of a shirt button.

While predominantly a Christian nation, there are some who practice idolatry. Common given names include Eirik, lvar, Leif, Olav, Astrid, Solveig and Hilde. Due to the rocky nature of the island, burial ground is severely limited and for centuries, the deceased have been buried vertically.

As might be expected, there are no hotels, mostly hostels. Reservations should be made in advance if you expect to visit. There are no McDonalds or Subways. The diet is primarily one of fish, pork and potatoes with the kumquat, the only fruit that will grow on the island.

The favorite drink is Shlagers lager beer, brewed locally from flax seed.

The Wanderer has found that few if any travel agencies are familiar with the island, so you are on your own. Public transportation is limited and served by what the Dutch call schildpads. Driving is on the right, though locals favor the center.

A review would would not be complete without referencing tourist sites. The most popular statuary is a replica of Denmark’s famous The Little Mermaid. The Sunken Caverns river where visitors float au natural, in inner tubes, is very popular.

The weather is surprisingly moderate with temperatures rarely dropping below 30 degrees. However, a sweater is recommended.

Check the website www.gillv.tr.com for additional information.

By the way, the capital is Gillygillyosenfefercatsenellen Bogan-By-The-Sea. Well, you asked! Smile!

Editor’s note: Malcolm McKnight writes on places of travel interest from his home in Cambridge.

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