Saturday, July 9, 2011

L'Anse Aux Meadows, Roddickton, Englee

The Viking festival was not quite what we expected but we enjoyed the area in the Northern part of Newfoundland (except for the weather).

We parked at Norstead (a reenactment viking village owned by the local business people). This is the large parking lot (with very few visitors).

The little town of L'Anse aux Meadows is pictured here. How do these people live in this cold, rainy, foggy area?

But they do have lovely sunsets when you can see them.

We went to the historic site – L’ Anse aux Meadows and took the tour. This is a UNESCo World Heritage Site: the first authenticated European presence in North America 1,000AD. Archaeological excavations in the 60s uncovered the remains of some dwellings and workshops. The grounds where the dwellings are still grass covered mounds and they have built replicas of the dwellings. Costumed interpreters demonstrated blacksmithing and told about the daily life.

Next we visited Norstead (where the festival was suppose to be). We found out that due to low attendance and the weather (rainy) that they were not having too many events. They have a really large Viking vessel (the Snorri) that was explained to us in detail. We sat around the fire with the costumed interpreters and talked about their current life in Newfoundland.

All along the roads there are gardens. This is because the ground is very fertile and these areas get more sun. One night we saw three moose along the side of the road.

On Thursday night we ate at the Northern Delights. Dean and Ron had cod tongues (neither would order again) and I had Fishermen Brewis (cod with hard tack and bacon drippings). Bernita had roast beef. After dinner we were entertained with local music and the Mummers came out – costumed dancers similar to Madi Gras.

We left the Northern area (in fog and rain) and traveled to Roddickton and to our surprise – sunshine and warmer weather only 80 mile south. We parked on the public wharf and were the center of attraction the night we were there – about 50 cars came thru the parking lot and turned around while we were there.

We did a short trip to Englee – another fishing village and climbed a hill with a lot of steps (Barr Trail). There we had great views of the town and two very large icebergs about 2 to 5 miles out.

The fishing village of Englee.

Dean was enjoying the sunshine.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cow Head, Flower Cove, At. Anthonys, Raleigh, NL

The lobster festival at Cow Head was interesting. We paid $20 each for the three day ticket but I’m not sure it was worth it. The first day (Friday) there was a bike parade at 12 with all the kids in town participating. We had front row seats at our boondocking spot in town.

Opening ceremonies were around 5 PM, followed by the choir singing and the local dance group performing. In the afternoon Ron, Bernita and Dean played cards with the local seniors while I took a long bike ride. Well, not too long because I could bike the entire town in less than 15 minutes, but I did bike out to Shallow Water CG located North of the town in the Gros Morne National Park.

The festival was located outside at the local (h)ockey rink (them do not pronounce their H’s). Music played until around midnight and the entire town could hear it. We went to “Neddy Norris”, a Gros Morne theater production at the local convention center (hotel). There were four musicians playing and singing local music for over an hour. We went back to the ockey rink for the music but didn’t stay long because it was so dang cold!

Saturday was very cold. We went to the traditional Newfoundland breakfast – fried bologna, baked beans, boiled egg and white bread. Dean and I went for a hike in the national park but got run out because of the mosquitoes. We did see 2 moose. At 7 PM we went to the church in town for a gospel sing. There was more music at the rink but this was a really cold night so we didn’t stay long again.

Sunday was a prettier day, sunny with just a little wind. Dean and I went on the lighthouse hike where we saw not only the old lighthouse, but great views of Cow Head. The lighthouse is located on the ‘Head’, a fishing area joined to Cow Head by a causeway. The dandelions here and across the Western shore have been beautiful. The four of us went to closing ceremonies at 5 PM, along with about 10 other locals. It was kind of sad to see such a poor turn out on the last and prettiest day. That night there were fireworks on the head – not as good as Lake Havasu but pretty impressive for this area.

On Monday we moved on to Flower Cove, located about 90 miles north. We found a great boondocking spot and decided to check out the town. They have an old lighthouse on an island, which was very picturesque, and an old boat cemetery. We also took a hike to thrombolites (ancient living rocks) and shopped at the local supermarket. That afternoon we saw our first iceberg!

Tuesday we were off for L’Anse Aux Meadows. We drove thru fog today and are boondocking at the parking lot to Norstead (a living history Viking site). After parking we drove into St. Anthony’s (it was clear and sunny in this town just 30 miles away). We did a few hikes at the Fishing Point Park (Iceberg Alley Trail, Whale Watchers Trail) and toured the lighthouse with the keeper who was a coast guard employee. Humpbacks had been seen in this area yesterday. We did see another iceberg. We drove to Raleigh (a traditional fishing port) and watched the fishermen bring in careland (sp?). It is a local fish that looks like a big sardine. Every local said that it was a wonderful tasting fish so they gave us a sack full and we took them home to try. I fried some of them but I like the cod better. It is still very foggy where we are.

Today we woke to a beautiful clear sky! Next up – the Viking festival.