Hosting Thor Heyerdahl Junior

While the whole last week I spent on passing mid-trem exams, I was generally thinking what interesting did I experience this week, about what should I tell my readers. And then, here you come, I have experienced something, that really was amazing. I met a person whom I’d never thought I could meet. I mean obviously I have read and heard a lot about him and his family, but hearing those stories from him was very appealing. That person is Thor Heyerdahl Junior. He visited Armenia on his famous traveler father’s  100th anniversary. As he himself claims, that it’s a great experience to visit one of the most ancient countries in the world on 100th anniversary of his father.

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Those who don’t know who is Thor Heyerdahl, let’s just have a quick review on his biography. Thor Heyerdahl Senior  is a Norwegian adventurer and archaeologist, who started a journey around the globe on a raft Kon-Tiki in 1947 and later wrote an international bestseller on his adventures. And not only him, but his wife and son also became part of his adventures, they have gone through all of that together. And today we hosted  his son Thor Heyerdahl Junior, his wife Grethe Heyerdahl and marketing manager Halfdan Tangen Junior from The Kon-Tiki Museum in our University after Valery Brusov. During the seminar Mr. Heyerdahl told us the story of his family and adventures that they had. Obviously I’d like to share it with you my dears.

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Famous raft Kon-Tiki

So, let’s start from the beginning, Thor Heyerdahl Senior was born in 1914 in Norway. He studied zoology at Oslo University. As his son claims, the adventurer spirit he has got from his mother’s upbringing, because instead of reading fairy tales for him, his mom read Darwin and evolution. In 1936 he left for the island Fatu Hiva in the Pacific, with his first wife. He spent a couple of years there studying the indigenous plants and animals. During the 2nd World War he served in Norwegian Military.  Mr. Thor Heyerdahl Junior recalls. “When my father  was leaving for the war, my mother told me, that this may be the last time I see my dad. We were not sure, will he come back, or not. But fortunately dad survived”.  After coming back from war, Heyerdahl built raft Kon-Tiki and together with his crew of five started his journey across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands. They spent 101 day at sea, under the open sky. During this voyage they happened to face every kind of danger that man could come across in the sea. Later he wrote the book Kon-Tiki about his adventures, which became the bestseller of its time. And then the documentary based on the same journey won an Academy Award in 1951. By the way this film is the only Norwegian Oscar winning film.

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Thor Heyerdahl Jr recalling his famous father

The next one was archaeological expedition in Galapagos islands in 1953 and the book The Secret of Easter Island, written in 1958 was based on this trip.  Then followed trips and explorations in Morocco, Bahamas, Egypt, Tucume Pyramid, Spanish island of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, southern Russia and many other places.

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HalfdanTangen Jr tells about Mr. Heyerdahl’s adventures

So I really feel lucky enough to hear much more of those adventures and stories from the first hand. Our students also were curious about our guests’ impression of Armenia during four days spent here. Mr. Heyerdahl Jr. told us that had many positive impressions, he did like the fact that Armenia is very ancient country and it’s difficult to describe what you feel here. In the end he told us “When I’m back in Norway, I’m going to be the ambassador of Armenia there.”

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ArMania members with Thor Heyerdahl Jr and HalfdanTangen Jr

 

Besides he said that they are thinking about some projects in Armenia, which I think is going to be just as much amazing, many students even claimed the participation in possible projects. So obviously everybody is looking forward to see our dear guests in Armenia again and we hope that further cooperation will be very prosperous.