Leif Erikson and the Vikings

2018 HAL Voyage of the Vikings

Sunday, July 8, 2018

In preparation for our next cruise, I’ve been reading up on the Vikings and Leif Erikson in particular.  I know we’ve all heard that Christopher Columbus never actually got to North America; although he did sail to the Bahamas, Hispaniola, and to the coasts of Central and South America.

It was the Vikings who first came across the North American continent.  Captain Bjarni Hergelfson and his crew veered off-course during a storm.  They sighted an unusual land with no fjords or icebergs.  The landscape was forested and green.  Captain Hergelfson, took detailed notes about his two sightings of the unfamiliar land but he did not go ashore.  Later, after conversing with Hergelfson, Leif Erikson bought Hergelfson’s boat; put together a crew and set off to explore the area himself.

First arriving at an area believed to be Baffin Island, Erikson continued sailing southeast for two days and came to an island with a mainland behind it.  On this land, Erikson built temporary shelters.  When the men found grapes growing wild, they named the settlement Vinland.  Today, Vinland is known as L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland.  (The ruins of this Viking settlement were found in 1963.)  Erikson left Vinland in the Spring when his men were ready to go home.  But the surprising issue is that very few people ever returned to Vinland.  Only Leif’s sister and a small group of settlers returned.  They were killed by Indians.  And so, Europe remained almost totally unaware about this discovery of the New World!

We are looking forward to this cruise.  It’s been on our bucket list for a long time.  We’ll journey to Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, Ireland and Scotland.  We’ll learn about the Vikings and their influence.

I hope you’ll join us on this new adventure!

2018-07-18 V of V itinerary map
HAL 2018 Voyage of the Vikings

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