Searching for the Vikings


We did it. We did “The Voyage of the Vikings”, 10,638 Miles! Again, I won’t bore you very patient readers (both of you who have made it this far) with a long list of superlatives, but consider them said. I’d like to summarize the places we’ve been and give you my feelings about them:

That’s my quick summary of the places we’ve been. Now that I’ve done it, I’m still overwhelmed that I did. This trip won’t be easily forgotten, maybe just the details. Where was Djupivogur again?

Just the other night I was thinking about how we made this trip in a very big, steel vessel, with state-of-the-art technology: modern thrusters and stabilizers, GPS and radar and Loran and all kinds of super-high-tech navigational devices, an immense quantity of food and drink, and a very hard working staff to cater to our every need. And yet, there were a couple of times when the weather and the seas and the mountains and the icebergs showed us how very, very small and insignificant we were.

And then I thought about the real Vikings. They made many voyages similar to ours, in tiny wooden boats. They didn’t have engines, or GPS, or even a sextant or a compass, or a roof over their heads. If it rained, they got wet. If the wind blew they could capsize, or at best be blown to who-knew-where. In fact, they probably never knew exactly where they were or where they were going. They found themselves sometimes in very inhospitable places, like Iceland and Greenland, and yet they went back home and got some others to join them and went back to these places, settled, raised families and started a country. They may have been warlike and violent, but they were also very, very brave and steadfast.

And then I realized that we had seen some real Vikings, in a way. The people of Scandinavia: Norway, Iceland, Greenland are all real descendants of the Vikings. The Vikings, as I said, were probably violent and warlike, and maybe not nice to know. Their descendants are the exact opposite. They are warm and friendly and have things like government social programs that try to take care of everybody.

I was thinking that the current question that drives America is “What’s in it for me?” and the question that drives the Viking descendants is “How can we help each other?”