On the early morning of a clear day, National Geographic Explorer anchored at the beautiful bay of L’Anse aux Meadows, northwestern Newfoundland, where all guests and staff disembarked. Our visit focused on the great UNESCO archeological site where the first Europeans – the Vikings – set foot more than a thousand years ago and established a small community that lasted from a few years. In the site museum, small-scale replicas of their famous boats as well as of their houses were in display along the several authentic objects recovered by archeological digging and research. Friendly local guides took our parties to the real site where the Vikings’ houses were located: simple pieces of grassy ground of enormous importance.
Later, we visited to a local, private enterprise called Norstead, where there were life-size replicas of the Vikings’ headquarters, with actors performing tasks of daily life. These experienced explorers had their boats full of everything they needed, including tools of all sorts and domestic animals like pigs, horses, cattle, sheep, and goats that disembarked at L’Anse aux Meadows!
The weather conditions were magnificent, with a lot of sun and a cool breeze, but quiet waters that allowed the ship to reposition to another great bay. For the afternoon activities, we moved up to St. Anthony, a very small town of English origin, to have a Viking feast and performance. Later, we visited the local museum devoted to Dr. Wilfred T. Grenfell and enjoyed a pleasant hike in the forest around his home. The cultural content of Newfoundland is truly amazing.