Still chilly but fun

2009/06/28

Today, wearing many layers — it’s still 5 C though less windy — we took a leisurely drive to L’Anse Aux Meadows.

It’s a UNESCO site and national treasure, the first confirmed landing place of the Vikings in North America, about 1,000 years ago.

On the way, we stopped at Dark Tickle — a tickle is a narrow body of water! — which is a purveyor of the wonderful berries of Nfld in many forms.   We had Screech Tea and things with partridge berries as well as shopped for souvenirs.

Later in the day — much later – we had lunch at Catch of the Day where Phil tried Brewis — salt cod and hard tack!  It was, he says, substantial.  I had fresh halibut lightly grilled… brilliant.   Food in Newfoundland is, so far, wonderful.   Real cooking — rather than thawing Sisco frozen stuff sold to restaurants by the carload — real fresh ingredients and caring cooks and servers.

L’Anse Aux Meadows is very interesting, not only because of its story but because the historical interpreters are knowledgeable and friendly.   I saw many tools and products relating to weaving, knitting (nailbinding, actually) and tablet weaving as well as spinning.  I was very excited to find the examples of tablet weaving as well as loom weaving.

If you don’t know, it was an important waystation for Leif Ericson and a settlement of hundreds of men, women and children for several years.  An old aboriginal tale says they slaughtered the foreigners but no one knows for sure.

One issue — the introduction to the site is a very good NFB film made in 1984.  Much knowledge has probably been gained then and it would be useful to add an update … after 25 years, some of the mysteries discussed in the film have surely been solved!

Speaking of mysteries, we have so many questions about Newfoundland that we haven’t had a chance to have answered.

Why are garbage bins round or hexangonal shaped and made of wooden slats?

Why is the water brownish?

What is a bight.  There’s St. Anthony and St. Anthony’s Bight.

What was the life expectancy of Vikings?

Who sells those helmets with the horns?

Does the fog come and go several times a day every day?

We  made the list on napkin as we stopped for hot tea at Fishing Point and listened to the fog horn warn ships.  We thought of the fisherman and woman we met today at Catch of the Day.   They go out for three or four days at a time on their boat, catching crab.  They had turkey for lunch.

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