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Finding Minnesota: Nordic Inn

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(credit: CBS) Mike Binkley
Mike Binkley has been covering Minnesota news for more than 25 year...
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CROSBY, Minn. (WCCO) — When you book a hotel room, you expect comfortable surroundings that help you relax. But one innkeeper in north-central Minnesota keeps things a little more on edge.

His Nordic Inn Medieval Brew and Bed has walls lined with weapons, dead animals and war paintings.

He calls himself “Steinarr the Kraze E. Viking,” and he’s given an extreme makeover to what used to be an abandoned Methodist church.

“People when they first meet me, they think I’m nuts,” said Steinarr. “But they all catch the bug.”

His inn is an offbeat mixture of ancient mythology and Nordic fantasy.

Rooms are adorned with swords, axes and flails — not at all like a typical bed and breakfast that’s restful, refined and relaxing.

“This is rowdy, robust and romantic,” he said proudly.

His most popular room juts out over the lobby, with visitors sleeping in what appears to be a Viking ship.

There’s a much smaller room in the old church’s bell tower and a space known as The Locker Room, celebrating the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL.

Shortly after check-in, guests receive Nordic leather clothing, Kronar coins and new names, such as Helga or Bjorn.

On some nights, local actors arrive to perform an interactive dinner theater that can last for hours.

Steinarr’s real name is Richard Schmidthuber.

In the 1990s, he was a well-paid scientist in the biotechnology field, but he says that job wasn’t fun.

“I had everything I wanted,” he said, “but what good is money if you don’t enjoy every day?”

He’s definitely enjoying this new life as “Steinarr.”

He and his mascot, a Great Dane named Thor, have entertained thousands of guests over the past 15 years.

“I like to serve food that you don’t normally get. Like for breakfast I’ll do things like meat pies,” he said.

He also offers “Gruel of the Beast” (soup) and “Baby Dragon’s Drums (drumsticks).

Steinarr says he wants to help people forget about “normal life” during their stay here.

It usually works.

“My place is all about creating memories,” he said.

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