Tuesday 5 October 2010

Leif the Lucky… again!

Another Viking day! In the morning we arrived in St. Anthony, a village with 3100 inhabitants on the northern tip of Newfoundland. Newfoundland, known for storms and rain, greeted us with bright sunshine and blue sky - so not only Leif is lucky, but we are, too! But the wind – yes! – it was present all day.
On the pier, Kol the Viking was waiting for us to lead us on the excursion to L’Anse aux Meadows, a 1000 year old settlement of the Norsemen – presumably founded by Leif himself. It was a 45-minute bus ride (on local school busses) through stunning Indian summer scenery (boreal forest in green and yellow with some beautiful ponds) to reach this famous place, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. L'Anse aux Meadows was discovered in 1960 and since then it is proven that it was definitely not Columbus who was the first European to set foot on the new continent! (despite our school books…).
We strolled along the remains of the old houses (some grass mounds in the landscape) and a large part of our visit was dedicated to see several reconstructions of those Viking buildings, including a church. It was great to seek refuge from the cold wind inside the houses where Norsemen and -women in traditional outfits were weaving or knitting next to warm fires and very happy to answer all our questions. Also a real Viking boat replica was on display with which in 1998 some audacious adventurers (or shall we call them crazy) had crossed from Greenland to Canada in 86 days.
In the afternoon, many took the opportunity to go for a walk to Fishing Point, a nice viewpoint with a lighthouse. We had the chance to look at some typical plants like cranberries, crowberries, arctic blueberries, the Lapland cornus and also the balsam fir, here in dwarf form due to the harsh weather conditions.
A successful first day in Canada and we are looking forward to more!