Viking Travel Journal––Day 14

Our ship docked in Isafjordur

Paradise started in a garden (Genesis 1-3), but it end in a city (Revelation 21:2).

Maybe that’s why I am a city boy.

Because I am a city boy I keep hoping to find something interesting in the towns where we dock, and I keep coming up empty.

This is the primary difference between a European river or sea cruise and one to Iceland or Alaska. In Europe, each town has layers of history; Iceland and Alaska are about beautiful scenery.

Isafjordur was much like Flam, Geiranger, and Seydisfjordur, except it was 39 degrees Fahrenheit…yes, 39 degrees in the middle of summer. It’s hard to appreciate the scenery when your teeth are chattering. And did I mention it was windy?

I had prodded Ann at one of our earlier cold and windy towns to say to our tour guide who lived there, “No offense but why would anyone want to live here?” I stressed to Ann the importance of the “No offense” part (I had seen The Ballad of Ricky Bobby). Ann, who is normally game for a good dare declined.

Still, this question nagged me throughout the trip. I get how the Vikings would have initially come here looking for better farmable land than Norway and to escape Harald Fairhair’s high taxes, but once they got saved, read a little of Genesis chapters 1-3, I would think they would have headed south for the Bahamas.

And the prices….The town was small, and it was Sunday. The highlight of our tour of the town was the bakery. It had pastries of every kind and flavor. The medium of trade here is the Krona, not the dollar, which I thought was very unamerican of the Icelanders. The pastries were great but they cost 2,708 Kronas. When The Wife shopped at the gift shop at Godafoss the day before she spent like 80,000 Kronas. With numbers like this I thought we should have brought along a mathematician.

While I was shivering, my teeth were chattering, and my mind was racing trying to divide these high numbers by 122, it occurred to me that Iceland should enter into a free trade agreement with Mexico and combine their currency. They could call it the “Pesona.”  Next, they could offer scholarships to all students who agreed to become mathematicians. Then their economies would start zipping along. Or…they could drop three digits off their currency and give us all a break.

They say Icelanders are some of the happiest people in the world because they work less and vacation more than most nations (except for their mathematicians who are busy helping people understand the real cost of everything) But, I am not so sure. Maybe if you like cold, wind, and rain you would be happy.

At dinner we talked about our days. Teri said she had a great tour about eider ducks. She said learned how eiderdown products were made from eider duck feathers. I asked her if she saw any eider ducks on the tour. She said, “No.” I asked if she saw where the eiderdown products were made. She said, “No.” My curiosity growing, I asked, “Then why is it called an eider duck excursion?” She said it wasn’t. “Then how did you learn all this?”, I asked. She said the tour guide told her.

Was the tour guide in the Eider duck industry? “No.” So, the guide was just telling what she had heard from someone else? “Yes.” So, this was all based on hearsay? “Yes.” I then moved to exclude Teri’s discussion of the tour from the dinner table record and asked the others at the table to disregard her last statements.

Having successfully resolved the eider duck dispute, we called it a night and retired to our staterooms.

Until tomorrow. GS