Rather than travel to St. John’s – we decided to head north up the west coast of NFLD – travelling the Viking Trail. Aptly named, the highway led us to L’Anse aux Meadows – the only confirmed Norse site in North America (outside Greenland). In 1960, a Norwegian explorer named Helge Ingstad discovered the remains of a Viking village in L’Anse aux Meadows. Archeologists determined that this site had strong resemblances to confirmed Norse sites in Greenland and Iceland. The settlement has been dated to over 1000 years ago. It is believed that the Viking ships sailed to Newfoundland, drawn by the lure of the fishing and availability of lumber – needed to build ships.
In 1978 L’Anse aux Meadows became a World Heritage Site. An interpretation centre provides information about the Norse settlement – and then visitors can take a tour of the actual ruins. A Viking camp has been set up so tourists can get a feel for life as it was 1000 years ago – including a sod home.
Be warned – the Viking Trail is rough. Don’t expect to travel faster than 80 km per hour, and there are some rough spots.
As well, for the time we were in Newfoundland – we had NO cell service – neither Rogers or MTS. Internet was difficult to find outside the bigger cities, and definitely not high-speed.
Don’t let this deter you – the views are worth it.