Saturday, July 12, 2008

Down the Coast

We spent the past couple of days down the coast, as they say. If you looked on a map you might say we went up the coast since we were heading north and east, but then you would be looking at the land and not the water.

My mom, who never stepped foot on Newfoundland until 1997, speaks this way. Her family came from King's Cove near Bonavista and Heart's Content on Trinity Bay. When she comes to visit us in NYC she always says she is coming "up to New York" and returning "down to Massachusetts". Her connection to Newfoundland was stronger through her language than her experience until she was in her 70s. Now she visits us every year and really does seem to fit right in. This year she is coming in August and we will go to King's Cove, where her father left when he was a small child.

That trip will be in about a month's time. In July, we went to the tip of the Northern Peninsula to visit L'Anse aux Meadows and St. Anthony. L'Anse aux Meadows is a place where it is thought that Vikings landed - their first and perhaps only landing on North America. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The interpretation is quite well done. There are people dressed up as Vikings but they aren't annoying like that kind of thing can sometimes be, and they seemed ready to talk as much about Viking life as the current cost of heating oil vs. wood fuel. Here is a picture of some of the spinning items in one of the sod houses. Although there was no evidence of sheep found at the site, they included these items since we do know that the Vikings made their sails from woven wool.

Good to see PetroCanada involved.

I have to confess to a certain skepticism about the whole thing. I don't know why exactly I found it a little far fetched but I kept saying to myself, "I don't know about this..." In any case, I suspended my disbelief and enjoyed the whole thing, not least because the tip of the Northern Peninsula is one of the most amazing natural places I have ever seen.

In fact, I fell in love with it. Gillams seems downright suburban compared to the wild, empty beauty of it.

Well, not exactly empty. I offer you a list.

Animals We Saw Down The Coast:

11 moose
2 bald eagles
2 owls (short-eared but not sure what kind exactly)
1 red fox
1 seal (dead, being eaten by the fox)
1 humpback whale
lots of ducks and ducklings
1 caribou (maybe - or it was a really strange looking cow)

No comments: