Exploring Coffee With Leif Ericson

Cammy: Do Norse explorers drink coffee?  If not, I’m sure he’d take alcohol in some form.  But yes, I definitely want a drink with the guy (and a damned good interpreter).  In 8th grade I had to write a research paper on Leif Ericson in my Early American History class.  Actually, I just had to write about an explorer, period.  I chose ol’ Leif because I was intrigued by the idea that all the previous crap about Columbus being the first gringo in the “New” World wasn’t true. And ever since then,  I’ve wanted to see L’Anse Aux Meadows in Newfoundland, as it is rumored to be the site of the settlement Leif and his crew established (yes, I really have wanted to visit Newfoundland for more than half my life).  And years later, his explorations into the west made for the perfect basis of my pseudo theory about the Elves from Lord of the Rings*.  While I definitely embrace the “Vikings-as-the-first-whiteys-here” theory in general, I also want to use the time to dig into more detailed truth:  was the L’Anse Aux Meadows really the site of Leif’s settlement, or was it further south in what’s now New Brunswick?  Or even Massachusetts or New York as some evidence has hinted?  And why not stick around?  One would think that even in a time when the climate was warm enough to make Greenland less of a wasteland than it is now, the Maritime Provinces/New England Coastal area would be a better option.  Was it the native population that dissuaded them?


Kristy: Sure. Like Cammy I would also like the for realsies truth about all the possible Viking settlements (Cammy didn’t include Minnesota but I will). Also I am, or rather was, an immigration scholar and what’s an explorer but an immigrant with a good boat? I’d like to hear the why behind the what of what he did. You know the man’s got a collection of great stories.

*Okay, here’s the thing:  Elves in Tolkien?  Definitely tied to the whole Norse thing.  Vikings?  Explored to the west, over the sea.  Elves?  Go “Into the West” over the sea.  So I’m thinking Leif & Co. were in charge of mass-transit for the Elf exodus to the Grey Havens.  They were totally making for the Americas!  And do you think any Elf in his right mind would stick around in Newfoundland when they could book it south to Cancun?  That’s right.  The Elves & Select Friends were carted over by Leif and are currently running several very high-end resorts along the Mexican Coast.

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