Terry, Doug & Roxie's Canadian Maritime Trip 2013 travel blog


Viking Sod House at L'Anse Aux Meadows

Bay With An Iceberg in the Distance

Viking, Uncle Jim and Terry at Viking Feast Tribunal

We car pooled to L'Anse Aux Meadows. We saw four moose on our drive. The word Moose means "twig eater". A moose can grow to 6 1/2 feet tall and weigh over 1,200 lbs. They are very inquisitive and may start to walk away and turn and walk right towards you. In the winter they eat woody plants and in the summer eat water plants that provides the bulk of their food. They wade into the water to feed and swim.

L'Anse Aux Meadows is a National Historic Site and also a World Heritage Site for being a significant archaeological site. Around 1000 AD, Viking Leif Ericson sailed from Greenland looking for the land of forests that he had heard about. Greenland was in short supply of wood and the settlers needed it for building their ships and tools. The idea was to form a new settlement but the aboriginal people were already in the area and there was often bloodshed between the Vikings and the native people. Despite all the hostilities; furs, cloth and other goods were traded between the two peoples' and the Vikings built their sod houses. It was a rich area of wild berries, fish, plenty of wood and green grass for the cattle. After a few years things got worse so the settlement was abandoned and the Vikings headed back to Iceland. A few years later another group of Vikings brought cattle and sheep from Europe and traded furs with the aboriginal people. Eventually they set sail, leaving this settlement behind for it to grow over and get lost in time. 1000 years later in 1960, Helge Ingstad came to Newfoundland by ship looking for this place he had heard about through medieval Icelandic sagas. Long story short, he finds it and starts an archaeological dig. Now more than 50 years later, L'Anse aux Meadows is a National Historic Site of Canada. After we watched a film telling us all of this, our tour guide, a Viking re-enactor meant us in the underground living quarters and explained more about the way they lived. On the site are the remains of three halls and five smaller buildings where the Vikings lived and worked. We had a chance to wander all around the site. Point of interest: Our Viking guide was born in Newfoundland, was a lobster fisherman for many years. He moved to Alberta, Canada for a few years and now has moved back to Newfoundland, In the winter months he has a place in Florida near Springhill, right down the road from one of our couples, Janet and Lowell Davis.

On our way back to camp we stopped for some photos of the scenery and more icebergs. We stopped at the Stagehead Carving Shop which had very interesting carvings of polar bears, Eskimo faces, dog teams, hunting scenes, seabirds plus smaller items. The carvings are made out of 50 to 100 year old whale bone, moose and caribou antlers and soapstone. Very beautiful carvings. We made a purchase of a half of a whale vertebrae for $10. Neat conversation piece.

Tonight we went for a "Viking Feast" buffet at Fishing Point, in a heated sod house. For appetizers they had breaded cod cheeks and dried herring. I could only think the dinner was going "down" from there but the buffet had toss salad, roast beef, steamed vegetables, rice with shrimp, moose stew, salmon and rolls. The kicker was the only eating utensils we had were a spoon and knife. Desert was a small pancake with partridgeberry jam and whip cream. We then had a kind of tribunal, called "The All Thing" that hears and judges minor offenses between the visitors. I brought Uncle Jim Martin to court for defamation of character and slander for telling other caravaners across the United States that I cheated at cards. After I brought two character witnesses forward, Uncle Jim was found guilty and has to provide my beverage for the next three card games we play. Sandy Pittman brought the next dispute up to council. There was a contest to see who saw the first moose in our travels. Buz and Pam Howland and Dave and Diane Jorior both claimed to have seen the first moose. After both showed pictures of a moose on their cameras, it could not be determined if it was the same "first" moose. Uncle Jim was called on and he said he saw the first moose run in front of the Wagonmaster's coach, which wasn't the same moose as the other two couples saw. The Wagonmaster confirmed that was true so Uncle Jim won the contest. Kind of a mix message sent here. First Uncle Jim was found guilty of lying and then was awarded for telling the truth!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We then went through a brief ceremony and we are now honorary Vikings. Even got a certificate to prove it.

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