Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), Sumner, WA 98352 (©800-426-4840 or 253-891- 2500; www.rei.com).
YHA Adventure Shop, 152-160 Wardour St. London WIF 8YA, UK (©020 7025 1900; www.yhaadventure.com).
CAMPERS AND RVS
Renting an RV is more expensive than tenting or hosteling, but it’s cheaper than staying in hotels and renting a car (see Renting, 60), and the convenience of bringing along your own accomodations makes it an attractive option, although navigating some streets may prove difficult. Rates vary widely by region, season (July and Aug. are the most expensive months), and type of RV. Motorhome.com (www.motorhome.com/rentals.html) lists rental companies for several European countries. Auto Europe (US ©888-223-5555; UK ©0800 169 9797; www.autoeurope.com) rents RVs in Britain, France, and Germany.
ORGANIZED ADVENTURE TRIPS
Organized adventure tours offer another way of exploring the wild. Activities include hiking, biking, skiing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, climbing, photo safaris, and archaeological digs. Tourism bureaus can suggest parks, trails, and outfitters; stores and organizations that specialize in camping and outdoor equipment like REI and EMS are also good resources (see above). The Spe cialty Travel Index (©888-624-4030 or 415-455-1643; www.specialtytravel.com) compiles tours worldwide.
The L’Anse aux Meadows archaeological site in northern Newfoundland a Norse settlement dating to 1000 C.E. Austria Metro Map and discovered in 1960 provides conclusive evidence that the Vikings were the first Europeans to discover and colonize Country. (Parks Canada/J. Steeves/H.01.11.01.26) While many voyages were for trade, many others were in search of loot. During the idle months between planting and harvest, farmers and sailors became fearsome warriors, as the Vikings mounted expeditions to raid settlements and monasteries throughout the continent and in the British Isles. Their pagan religion glorified accomplishments in battle, and this, coupled with the prospect of gaining wealth, made them highly motivated, often merciless foes. Traveling ever farther seeking new places to sack, the Vikings reached as far east as Russia and as far south as Spain. The British Isles were a favorite target. Here, as elsewhere, many Vikings who came as raiders settled as colonizers. Overpopulation and internal political dissent in Northern Europe also drove Vikings to seek new lands. Some headed west across the treacherous North Atlantic. In the late 800s c.e. Vikings colonized Iceland. Here around 930, clan leaders seeking to create a type of representative assembly established the althingi, which remains the world’s oldest active parliamentary body.