Up early I decide to walk to grab a coffee in town for a change, arriving home just before 8am to find my navigator dressed and ready to go. Say what!!!!! We are the first customers of the St. Anthony Visitors Centre ……very unTurner-like, and are soon on the road to visit the Vikings at L’Anse aux Meadows. The drive out takes us through some particularly pretty little harbour towns and we make a few photo stops. The visitors centre lady assured us parking was great at the Parks Canada Interpretive Centre – she clearly has never driven anything close to 50’ into this spot! We barely fit and in fact have both ends stuck out so that we trust that anyone else coming in can make it by us.
Just as we arrived Bonnie, a very likeable Newfie park guide, is starting her tour. She delivers many interesting facts about the site and early inhabitants in the next 45 minutes in a relaxed, humorous and friendly manner. Then as we reach the dwellings where we are to explore on our own Bonnie and her assistant stay around to answer questions and tell some funny and factual stories about her 21 years at the park. In 1960 the site was discovered to be a hotbed of Norsemen artifacts, buildings & remnants. This resulted in an archeological dig that spanned many years where mounds of dirt, bog & grasses were turned over, inspected, catalogued and replaced. With the information & artifacts they unearthed they have built 4 structures that they are certain duplicates what and how the Norsemen lived. These dwellings themselves have folks in costume eager to tell about life here around the year 1000. You are also encouraged to touch and feel the artifacts such as swords, shields and axes. There are many period tools they found that were used for boatbuilding and weaving, sail making as well as cooking utensils. The staff are very cordial, answering questions and relating facts about these unique buildings and the hardy folks that populated them.
We then decide to follow a seaside trail around the point of land the park covers which gives great vistas of the harbour area and across the straits to Labrador. On the hilltop above the visitor centre they have erected a metal sculpture depicting a group of early settlers. Very cool!!!!
With our early start we decide to head back to the west coast as we have seen the sights in this area. At one of the very, very few roadside pullovers we are eating lunch when all of a sudden we hear a tremendous boom. The reason for the explosion becomes evident as we pass tire fragments and come to a semi pulled over off the road. I have passed many such tire fragments in our travels but have never heard one go. Wow, what a noise!
This northern part of the highway proves a bit of a grind with its potholes and heaves as you are constantly weaving to try avoid as many as possible. We elect to make it to Cow Head for the night in the hopes of getting some live music at the pub and maybe some wifi at the library before finding a place to sleep. After discovering there was no live music and the library wifi meant sitting on the buildings steps we opted to have supper on the beautiful spit heading to their lighthouse. You could not find a better view restaurant anywhere as we had water on both sides of the spit, with the town beyond. The only issue was the strong wind which continually buffeted the trailer making it seem like you were rocking on board a ship. It sure can blow in Newfoundland! Still a marvelous setting.
We decide to drive another hour to stay in Rocky Harbour and hopefully visit the Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse as it advertised excellent sunset photo ops. Timing was tight but we climbed the rocks beside the light, arriving just as the edge of the red sun touched the sea. Perfect!! There was a family of four sharing our perch and we listened as Mom explained to the kids that the sun was just coming up in California. We glanced at each other as with the time change it was currently just before 5pm in California - but we decided not to spoil this family moment! Maybe book-larnin’ was not this lady’s strong suit. We enjoyed the pink light that streamed across the horizon and were glad that we had made the decisions we had made today. They ended up allowing us this view, this majesty & this beauty!!! WOW.