UP CLOSE WITH HISTORY
I remember the first Earth Day many decades ago when I was in Junior High School. An idealistic time in anyone’s life, I took the matter of saving the planet to heart, if only through the next few years. Moving along with life those ideals were replaced with more urgent priorities like careers and families. Even though the concept of global warming was introduced way back then, there was not a lot of proof, no real call to action and something for future generations to worry about. Regardless of what one might think of the issue, we saw bona fide proof that global warming is real and making an impact on the lives of people now.
The scene was a home visit tour in Qaqortoq , our second stop in Greenland aboard Viking Ocean Cruises new Viking Star. We had done a home visit tour before, on Viking Sea in the Mediterranean. That Santorini experience brought our new Greek friend Nitsa and some marvelous recipes we shared and made ‘together’ via Facebook when we came back home. Enchanting.
This tour was along the same lines as we visited a typical Greenland family home where a lovely couple had lived their entire lives, racking up 45 years of marriage recently. We talked about life in Greenland, the places they had traveled, the people they had met and more while enjoying traditional cakes and cookies in their home.
No questions were off limits and the family gave us a really vivid feel for what it is like to live in Greenland. The answer to one question proved to be a takeaway from this travel experience that might very well be the most meaningful of all.
When asked if the harbor that this family’s home overlooked froze in the winter, the senior gentleman of the family, a decorated firefighter for 50 years, explained through an interpreter that “It used to freeze, before global warming”.
He went on to explain that many locals still pull their small boats out of the water before winter but only out of habit. What was once a required part of preparing for winter is simply irrelevant now as the water does not freeze nor has it for the last 2o years or so. Pretty darn impressive proof of global warming and the effects it is having on people’s lives right now. I guarantee you that not one of us has any doubt that global warming exists now, if we did before this visit.
Viking Star would be the last ship of the season to visit Greenland this year. It still gets too cold for the place to be a viable option for tourists. With a chill in the air the day we visited, it was not difficult to imagine these people warm and snug in their tiny homes perched on the mountainside, waiting for spring and the return of 20 or more ships in a season.
I throw this post into our Countdown To The Caribbean because these interesting tour opportunities are available on our West Indies Explorer itinerary as well. We’re finding Viking Ocean Cruises’ themed itineraries to be a distinction we don’t see with many other travel options. Yes, there are themed cruise sailings occasionally on a number of cruise line, some of which we have covered here. But the Viking Ocean Cruises programming themes every voyage, again following the popular thematic sailings of Viking River Cruises.
On two different Viking ocean ships we enjoyed their Empires of the Mediterranean itinerary. This one is In The Wake Of Vikings, tracking the movement of ancient Vikings to the new world, tieing in that theme a variety of ways. Regional specialties on the dining room menu, enrichment lectures from multiple sources on the ship as we sail and more. That’s in addition to a wealth of information provided in advance of sailing. Frankly, it’s hard NOT to get more out of a Viking cruise, by river or sea, than some other line that has a focus on elements that do not produce stellar travel memories we will take forward
This global warming example is an extreme one to be sure, but let’s put it this way: Say we have a scale of 1 to 10 with ten being a meaningful travel experience like this global warming example. We get more of those with Viking than any other cruise line.