L'Anse from Meadows - Viking settlement and fishing village
Even though the small town of L'Anse aux Meadows on the north-west coast of Newfoundland is best known for the world-famous archaeological site in which Helge Ingstad and his wife Anne Stine demonstrated that the Viking around the year AD 1000 had actually reached the coasts of North America, the fishing village is itself worth seeing. Time seems to stand still here. If you look at the film in the visitor center of the archaeological site, then this place is not yet accessible by car. In this documentary, Ingstad carries his wife and newly arrived helpers for the excavation work in 1960 on the back of small boats ashore. The archeologists, like the Vikings, still had to transport their equipment over the water.
The end of the world
Today, the place in the far northwest of Newfoundland is comfortable over the Viking Trail to reach the highway, which runs almost the entire length of Deer Lake along the coast northwards past small villages. Nevertheless, L'Anse from Meadows is still at the end of the world today. From the banks on which the fishermen's huts and the few houses of the fishermen are located, one looks across to Labrador, which can be seen well on the other side of the Strait of Belle Isle.
Seagulls can be blown by the wind along the coast. Obviously, they lead a luscious life here, because on the beach we discover the remains of a lobster meal left behind by the winged predators of the coast: lobster clumps lie between washed pebbles on the shore.
Have a chat
In front of most of the houses, we see well maintained rowboats in the grass waiting to be let into the water by their owner for the next fish outing. We watch two fishermen mending their nets. For them it is a matter of course to leave their work short for a little chat with the strangers from overseas. They like to tell us what they are working on and show us how to do it.
We don't see any women on our little tour of L'Anse from Meadows, but laundry flapping on a line in the wind testifies to their presence. Some of the fishermen's houses are pretty and imaginatively decorated and indicate that this is not a man's world. This place is pure paradise for children, as there are seldom cars that get lost here. Growing up here means freedom and plenty of space for discovery and adventure, without having to pay attention to the dangers and the hectic pace of the big city.
Have a good meal at L'Anse from Meadows
The bigger our surprise is in the only restaurant of the place, the Norseman restaurant, where we are spoiled with the culinary delicacies of the region. There are crepes with blueberry syrup and a seafood stew, where I'm still mouth watering and other delicious dishes. Our tip: do not stop for a lunch break when traveling to L'Anse aux Meadows on the way, but save your hunger for this restaurant. From the large windows of this simple log cabin, you can look out over the harbor of L'Anse aux Meadows to Labrador with a clear view while enjoying a good lunch.
If you have enough time to visit the two Viking attractions - the archaeological site and Norstead, a well-made Living History Museum -, tour the village, and enjoy a leisurely lunch at Norseman Restaurant, you should at least spend the night in L'Anse aux Meadows or surroundings in his journey through Newfoundland.
Source: own research on site
Text: © Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline