Today we visited L’Anse aux Meadows, in the north-east corner of Newfoundland. This is the location of the only confirmed Viking settlement in North America. Discovered in the 60’s, the site consisted of a half-dozen buildings where Norsemen over-wintered on their trips from Greenland spanning a period of 25 years. It appears that they would come over in the summer, hunt and fish and gather food, over-winter at this site, and return to Greenland at the end of the next summer with the goods they acquired. This was not an attempt at a permanent settlement. On the site they had an iron forge, a blacksmith shop, and a carpentry shop. All needed to build buildings and repair their ships.
We first visited Norstead, a reconstructed set of buildings, not at the archeological site, to get a feel for the life of a Norseman. Then we visited the actual site.
In the afternoon we went to St. Anthony, a nearby town and the home of Dr. Wilfred Grenfell. Grenfell was a British doctor who came to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1892, saw the tremendous need for medical facilities, and returned a couple of years later with the resources to start a hospital. He worked tirelessly the rest of his life establishing 5 hospitals, numerous clinics, orphanages, floating hospital ships, and providing spiritual and economic development for the region. We visited a museum dedicated to him, and visited his house.
We have a little downtime this afternoon for rest and relaxation before we head off for our next stop.