Must admit, I fell into the tourist trap a bit of thinking there was a viking experience to be had by following the trail, and whilst it turned out to be very vikingless, there was some breathtaking land that made it very special.
Whilst waiting for my non existent ferry, I’d had a long chat with a Newfoundland tourist guide, who was great, but I’d made the mistake of asking her where I should go on the Island, given that I’d only a limited amount of time, 5 weeks ! + she heartily advised the viking trail and missing out St John.
So far, as ever, my experience has been the opposite .
That’s why guide books never really work – because one persons view of this stuff is bound to be different at some level from some one elses .
Anyway, made the decision to do a four hundred k driver up the viking trail, along the north end of the island, very remote and isolated – think I had the idea it would be full of quite romantic little fishing villages !
Actually about a third of the route is taken up with the Gros Morne National Park, which people raved to me about, and I thought yeah, yeah – done national parks, but actually it contained some of the most beautiful land I’ve seen anywhere in Canada.
Once through the national park, however, the land changed completely and became long stretches of coast interspersed by these tiny fishing villages, which weren’t particularly romantic at all, just very barren with almost identical small white houses, all clustered together.
No real sign of any community except these large churches with terrifying slogans of doom awaiting everyone, every so often – all slightly spooky !
Eventually reached St Anthony’s which is right at the tip of he Island, which was quite a relief, largely because I hadn’t booked anywhere to stay and it was getting quite late, and I wasn’t sure what was going to be there, but as ever managed to find somewhere.
Although a slightly larger version of most of the villages I’d already passed through, it was fine and had some stunning scenery.
Even saw a whale, from a distance, who was a bit camera shy !