Viking Travel Journal––Day 12

Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Not every swing is a hit.

Some are strikes.

Seydisfjordur, Iceland was a complete whiff…at least for me.

The length of the offered excursions should have been a clue; they were mostly between 4 hours and 7 hours long by bus.

If you have to drive that far away to find something worth seeing or doing, that might be an indication that where you are is not exactly a destination.

I opted for the self-guided tour of the town, and besides the natural beauty of the surroundings there was nothing to see. Nada. The highlight for me was when I sat down when I was about to collapse from sheer boredom and was approached by a local cat—I assume he was local, I hadn’t seen him on the ship—who let me pet him.

Of course I could have stayed home and done that. My Persian cat–– Cyrus the Great a/k/a Cy, CTG, and Notorious CTG––enjoys a good petting in the morning after he eats. So, rather than telling you more about this forgettable town, I will write a bit about the history of the Kingdom in Iceland.

Iceland was settled in the ninth century by Vikings who brought their slaves with them from Norway, although there is some evidence monks might had arrived prior to the Vikings.

We can credit Olaf Tryggvason with the spread of Christianity to Iceland. During his reign, and in accordance with the prophecy he had received in England, it was Olaf’s goal to spread the gospel throughout his kingdom. Olaf sent a missionary named, Pangbrandr, to Iceland. Pangbrandr led a number of chieftains in Iceland to the Lord and baptized them. Pangbrandr was followed by others sent by Olaf. Olaf was strategic: Reach leaders with the gospel and they will lead others. If a local chieftain became a Christian, his tribe was sure to follow. St. Patrick utilized a similar strategy in Ireland. Yet so many churches today are content with just reaching the people living under the bridge.

By the summer of 999 A.D. there were two religious camps in Iceland: the pagans and the Christians. They came together in their legal assembly to determine how to reconcile these conflicting religions. After the Christian leader deferred to the pagan leader, the pagan leader thought on it overnight and suggested it be better one law (Christianity) govern Iceland. The people then agreed Christianity would be the religion of Iceland, but the permitted those who wanted to remain pagan could continue to sacrifice to their gods privately.

It’s easy to judge this process looking back from the twenty-first century. But one must remember there was no mass media, no television, no Internet, not even a printing press. What happened in Iceland in 999 A.D. at their assembly created the context and opportunity for a culture within which people would have the opportunity to hear the gospel and become true followers of Jesus.

The others fared better than I in our day at Seydisfjordur. The Wife and her mother attended a lecture on how to do the stitch used in the Bayou Tapestry. Ann took a 7 hour tour and had a great time. Teri took a tour that involved driving through a flowing river and said it was the best excursion she had ever taken. In addition, Ann told us at dinner about how she and Teri had seen a whale outside their window while dinning the night before and even saw it blow from its spout. For them it had been an exciting stay in Seydisfjordur. I petted a cat. GS