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We are off to Newfoundland so tag-along with us.

Off to see the Vikings in L'anse aux meadows

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Well, here we are, our 3rd day of rain, and cold, but not quite as windy.  It did rise to a balmy 3 degrees today.  But oh well, we takes what we gets.  We packed our lunch and off we went to learn about the Vikings at L’Anse aux Meadows.  Of course we took our time getting there, went into a few of the little villages along the way. 
St. Lunaire, Gunners Cove and Straitsview.  We talked to some fisherman at St. Lunaire that have not been out to check their crab pots since Thursday.  The nasty weather has even kept them in! They said it was just too rough to haul in their 60 crab pots.  They used to haul in 20,000 lbs of crab and now only get about 9,000 lbs. These fellas were quite interesting to talk to and would have spent all day with us had it not been so cold standing there on the wharf.  
I did get to see my iceberg again though and I even got to hold it!  L’Anse aux Meadows was very interesting.  It was at the end of the road, very flat, no trees, with a group of about 25 homes. 
village of L'anse aux meadows
We couldn’t imagine living here in the winter with those wild winds blowing across the freezing cold ocean.  You would pretty much have to stand beside the fire and just feed it constantly.  They get 3 to 4 feet of snow that stays until the end of April, (no thanks). I guess this lifestyle is in their blood and that is all they know. 
We did get to see another fair sized iceberg and a few smaller ones offshore.  At the visitor centre they have a very interesting display of the Viking History with lots of artifacts.  $11.70 gets you into see the replicated sod village.   L’Anse aux Meadows was discovered in 1960 and is the only authenticated site of Norse settlement in North America and could be Leif Ericsson’s short-lived Vinland camp.  The Norse traveled here around 1,000 AD. 
Viking sod house

Parks Canada has re-constructed some sod houses that they believe replicate the originals from so long ago. A couple dressed in Viking garb told stories of Viking life.

Cape Norman Lighthouse

Lots of people asked questions to which they gave what I thought were great answers, they obviously knew the history well.  We saw a moose grazing across the bog as we walked to Hemi.  From here we were heading to Cape Norman the most northern point in Newfoundland.

We even saw another iceberg here.  We had our lunch, overlooking the ocean and watching the waves crash on the rocks.
Of course I had to walk along the paths taking it all in.  It was beautiful!  It was really only misting, but it was still cold and windy. 
Again we were glad we had our Nordic sweaters, hats and mitts. I was surprised to see some flowers growing among the rocks, there was not very much soil here. 

We hung around here for a couple of hours just enjoying the view. 

It was awesome watching the waves crash the rocks and spout up.
It was very barren up here, lots of rock and very little vegetation. Cape Norman was not the end of the road, the gravel road went south a few kms so we thought we had better get to the end of the road to see what was there.  I guess that’s why our Blog is called “Backroad Memories” we sure do have lots of them.  We drove through the tiny village of Wild Bight to get to the last village of Boat Harbour. Again a handful of houses and basically built on rock, no trees to protect them from the wind.  No convenience store, no coffee shop…nothing.  The closest convenience store would have been back in Cook’s Harbour a half hour drive over a gravel road filled with huge potholes that could swallow you up whole! On the way back out I spied my iceberg.  Here we go again, iceberg chasing! 
I had to get closer, so off I go, Dougy on my heels.  Over bog, and rock, up and down and all around. I did manage to get fairly close to it, which I was thrilled about. 
It is amazing to think these icebergs are millions of years old, and are pure water (not salted).  The fishermen told us that they get some small pieces that are floating and let it melt to drink. And now they make Iceberg Vodka and Rum, which I guess we will have to sample. We finally headed for home around 6:00.  On the way we came across an Osprey nest, which had a pair of nesting Osprey.  While watching the Osprey we noticed a huge young male moose grazing in the field.  He headed our way and stopped at the top of the hill and posed for a picture, just for me. 

When Doug and I hit the road we never know when we’ll get back, so we like to plan ahead, we had the crockpot with a beef roast, potatoes, carrots and turnips waiting for us when we got home.

Another awesome day to add to our Backroad Memories!

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