Experience the Vikings in L'Anse aux Meadows
We are in L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland and want to see how the Vikings once lived here. The north tip of Newfoundland extends from the wind, into the narrow strait of the Strait of Belle Isle. The sea road separates the island from the mainland of Labrador. It is hard to believe that the Vikings came here in 1000 AD. reached the east coast of North America. It is even more incredible that they had chosen such a harsh environment for their attempt to settle in the New World. But if you know that they left west from their Greenland settlements, that's understandable. Because this region must have seemed familiar to them.
Where Erik the Red went ashore in America
It was not known for a long time where Erik, the Red man and his followers had settled in America. Only Helge and Anne-Stine Ingstad, two Norwegian archaeologists, demonstrated in 1961 L'Anse aux Meadows in northern Newfoundland the remains of a Viking settlement. This shed light on the history of the Vikings in North America. Today you can see the original settlement. Right next door in the reconstructed Norstead settlement, you can experience what the life of the Vikings looked like in Newfoundland.
It was wooden nutshells that the Vikings used to take the long and dangerous journey across the North Atlantic. Storms and icebergs were on their way. But they were experienced seafarers. As living conditions in their homeland of Greenland deteriorated, they had reason to look for a new settlement area. They set off with their families and made their way west.
This is how the Vikings lived in L'Anse aux Meadows
They probably followed the Labrador coast south until they came across the bay in northern Newfoundland. There they built a typical Viking settlement. The Ingstads found smelting furnaces in which the Vikings melted iron and made nails. This was proof that this settlement was built by the Northmen. The island's natives had no knowledge of iron working.
Iron nails as evidence - Vikings in L'Anse aux Meadows
"Stop! Women have no access here! ”This is how a young snot spoon receives me when I want to enter the Viking blacksmith's workshop. Somewhat astonished, I don't know how to behave at first. Then he suddenly grins mischievously across his face and says: "That was the way it used to be with the Vikings." Obviously, I am allowed to penetrate the male realm. Then he explains in detail how the Vikings once made iron. They melted iron-containing peat lumps in specially built forges. In this way, they obtained the raw materials for tools and nails that they needed for the construction of their accommodations and everyday life on the Newfoundland coast.
The Viking women
Things are more friendly in the neighboring house, where the Viking women are making blankets and warm clothing and scarves - using traditional Viking methods. They diligently knit with just one needle on warming gauntlets that were sure to be worn in the cold winter months but also in the stormy summer days. And proudly explain to me how the wool is made from the sheep's fur and show me how to use a whorl to make the yarn from which the colorful blankets and knitted cuffs are made.
The hard life of the Vikings
Outside, the wind blows in the meantime, which rarely stops in this area. From the shallow coast, I look out onto the Strait of Belle Isle, the narrow inlet in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and I wonder what the people might have thought, trying to rebuild their lives in this inhospitable region? It's amazing what man is capable of, if need be.
You need that on a trip to L'Anse aux Meadows
- Good hiking boots, because the paths are rough in L'Anse aux Meadows.
- A waterproof rain jacketthat protects against the fresh breeze from the sea. It blows here all the time.
- A is also very practical backpackwhere you can put your daily gear and a snack. On Picknick by the sea is fun here.
- Even if you are traveling in northern Canada, the sun can shine very intensely. So forget it Sunglasses*, Sunscreen with high sun protection factor * and one Wide brimmed hat does not.
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You can get information about the excavation and the findings of the Ingstads in the
Opening times: June to early October
The visitor center is very informative.
A livelier visit to the Norstead Living History Museum is across the street. There, "Vikings" convey impressions of life in this village. This museum is open from mid-June to mid-September.
Source for L'Anse aux Meadows: own research on site with the kind support of Tourism Newfoundland and the Canadian Tourism Commission
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Video: © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the publishers of the Trips to Savor and Slow Travel Blog TravelWorldOnline Traveler , They have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline is online since 2001.
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Monika Fuchs has been working in tourism since 1990. She has been a tour guide on four continents for 17 years and has accompanied high-class trips through North and Central America, Australia, southern Africa and Europe. Since 2001 she has been a writer and photographer for TravelWorldOnline and writes as a freelance journalist for DIE ZEIT Online and travel magazines such as 360 ° Medien, TRIVAGO, Expedia, travador, etc. She also writes travel guides about destinations and enjoyment destinations all over the world. Your guide about Canada's east was released in 2020. Petar Fuchs produced the videos on this blog as well YouTube.
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