After a couple of days of strong winds and unsettled weather, the clouds parted and we were treated to stunning views of ocean swells battering the rusty red cliffs of the Newfoundland coastline. Seabirds, fin whales, and white-beaked dolphins swam around the ship as we made our final approach into St. John’s.
National Geographic Explorer
Everybody aboard National Geographic Explorer was eagerly waiting to visit L’Anse aux Meadows and meet a part of the fascinating history of Newfoundland or, more properly, Vinland, as the first Norsemen on the island called it. In the early morning, guests and naturalists disembarked and headed to the Norstead Viking Village and the UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the way, we briefly stopped at a statue of Leif Ericson (one of six in the world), who is often called the discoverer of Vinland. We then moved onto the village, a wonderful recreation of a Norse settlement with an impressive life-size replica of a Viking ship. With the aid of very knowledgeable local guides, our guests and staff learned many details of the local history, excavations, and natural history. At the UNESCO World Heritage Site, we visited the museum and then the original excavation locality, where multiple Viking objects, rooms with walls made of peat, forges, and more were discovered. Guests enjoyed the exact reconstruction of this scientifically verified Viking settlement, the first and only in America. Some local villagers, dressed as Vikings, showed the type of life they had 1,000 years ago—a hard life, for sure. At lunch, we ate local fish, scallops, and a special delicacy—cod tongue! What a great historical and gastronomical experience.