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Millennium Viking Visit
September 5, 2000
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Page 3: Vikings on Dry Land

Icelander visit
While the motorized Viking ship made a U-turn in Portsmouth Harbor, your intrepid reporter leapt off our borrowed lobster fishing boat and mingled with those gathered to welcome the Icelander. The mayor, president of the chamber, local government officials and maritime enthusiasts were among those ashore.

Icelander visit Lost in thought, Captain Gunnar Marel awaits the US Customs officials who must declare the Icelandic crew officially able to enter American soil for the first time. Back in the Middle Ages, Vikings didn't ask permission and the paperwork was minimal. According to local legend, Thorvald, brother of Leif Ericksson murdered the first eight Native Americans he met in the New World. Many believe that happened in nearby Hampton, but we slaughtered that old myth in an article last week.

Icelander visit It's one small step for Viking, and one giant leap to the dock for Viking-kind. After a 3,500 mile journey in a 75-foot medieval boat, Captain Marel leads his men (and one woman) onto the shores of Vinland, er, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Icelander visit "We come in peace!" Actually the small ceremony was genuinely touching as the captain's lifelong dream was attained. History tells us that when Leif the Lucky landed in the New World in 1,000 AD, he did come in peace. The previous port for this crew was a Viking village in Labrador which many believe is the legendary Vinland the Vikings spoke of. It is likely that later Viking visitors passed by our shores, continuing south at least as far as New York.

Icelander visit Real Viking descendants do not wear plastic helmets with horns it appears. Here crew members pose for tourist pictures while contemplating, we assume, a nice horn of mead and some reindeer steaks. The crew will be off to Boston in 48 hours. Ellen Ingvadottir (in the cape) is the only female member of the crew. You can learn all about the voyage, crew, ship and captain by visiting the Icelander web site.


See more Portsmouth visits by other historic ships

Disposable photos by J. Dennis Robinson
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PO Box 7158
Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03802
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