Monday, July 27, 2009

Quirpon and L'Anse Aux Meadow

July 24 and July 25

Gros Morne provides a rare example of continental drift, which is one reason the park is a UNESCO heritage site. But, I can't do the park justice since all I did was drive through it on my way to L'Anse Aux Meadow.

The nicest, and least expensive, place I stayed during my visit to the Maritimes was a bed and breakfast in Quirpon (pronounced Car-poon) My room was very, very tiny with the toilet, sink and shower tucked away in seperate corners. The toilet and shower were combined in a space about the size of a small closet.

The woman who was taking care of the place, only for this summer, that was it, she said. She was doing so as a personal favor to her son's best friend, who owns the place. It's up for sale.
Although she and her husband spent many years in Alberta they were home now, retired, and wanting to explore their province.

The setting was breathtaking. The diningroom and livingroom were shared by all the guests, which gave the whole experience a very homey feel.

This photo with the old house shows the view in front of the bed and breakfast.

Quirpon is situated at the very northern tip of Newfoundland, on the west side of the island. The Viking Trail, which takes travellers up to L'Anse aux Meadows is picturesque, with many fishing villages. Places where everyone knows everyone. Places where everyone talks with a strong Gaelic accent. Places where everyone struggles to make a living. Places where nowhere locks there door, and the only crime is the occasional drunk and disorderly conduct.

The first European settlers came to the island around 1100 AD, from Greenland and Iceland.

L'Anse aux Meadow is a sacred place. A marvel in archeological research, in 1960 the Norwegian team of Helge Ingstad and Anne Stine followed the route told in the Viking Saga. They were in search of the land the Vikings called Vinland. They never found Vinland, but it's likely located farther south. What they did find was the indesputable remains of a Viking Village, likely visited by Eric the Red. Parks Canada rebuilt the site as it would have looked so very long ago, and it became the first UNESCO world heritage site.

The Vikings likely used L'Anse aux Meadow as a place to repair their boats before travelling farther south to Vinland. They made an iron forge, but only made nails. They continued using this place until the mid-fourteenth century. It is likely that Inuit drove them away.

The land is tundra like, the trees very small, the brook clean and clear, the meadow serene in it's July lushness.

A truly sacred place worth the very long drive to get there.

Oh yes, I also saw two icebergs.

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