After a cold windy night, we head out in the morning for L’anse aux Meadows National park, the site of a Viking settlement used over a 1000 years ago. The settlement is thought to have been used by Leif Erikson on his expedition from Greenland looking for trade goods. The settlement was temporary and used to gather hardwoods, grapes from NB, and butternuts from N. The main reason they think this site was chosen was because of the easily recognized landmarks, and the availability to produce iron from the peat moss around the site.

It was thought the settlement was used by one boat crew, which was approximately 30 people including some women to do the sail mending and cooking. Based on the foundations that were left behind, buildings were recreated and staffed with parks people dressed in period costumes showing how life was back then. We visited the longhouse where most of the people lived, with only the Captain and his second in command having their own beds. The blacksmith shop used a clay oven to melt the iron ore and produce mostly nails for the ship’s repairs. There was also a carpentry shop, as well as the area they used to repair their boat.

 We also visited Norstead, a similar site but all of the site is replicated with no ruins. This attraction has a recreation of a Norse Sailing ship that was sailed from Greenland to L’anse aux Meadows with a crew of 9 volunteers. It took them 87 days to do it versus the 14-30 days that the crews in Leif Ericson’s day did it in. The other interesting thing we learned at this site was how the sails were made, we watched a demonstration of them using the loom to spin the sheep’s wool into sails, to which they then applied pine resin to waterproof and make it into a useable sail.

After our long day, we decided to stop for dinner at a local restaurant that had mummer’s dancers. The music was traditional Newfoundland music played with a guitar and accordion. When the mummers arrived, we found out that this is an old tradition where people disguise themselves a couple of weeks before Christmas and then go visiting people in the neighborhood. The object was to keep from being identified for as long as possible, but once your name was guessed, you were given a treat.  It sounds a lot like our Halloween, but more fun. Jackie had fishermen brewis (salt cod, hard tack, salted pork, and onions, while I stuck with fish and chips.  It was a great meal that we both enjoyed with the exception of the Viking Slam (Hot chocolate and screech). I kind of liked it, but Jackie was not a fan.  We both enjoyed the Titanic Sinker with vodka and curacao served with actual iceberg ice cubes! 

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