After visiting the only known Viking settlement in North America, we learned to appreciate the struggles that the New World’s first immigrants faced a thousand years ago just to find this place and then to survive in its harsh environment.
We hiked out into the low, scrubby landscape at L’Anse aux Meadows, N.L. to visit the remnants of their seaside settlement, but were underwhelmed to see that it was not much more than a small collection of grassy mounds. That disappointment vanished quickly as our Parks Canada guide brought the story of those mounds to life. He explained how the Vikings smelted iron from the bogs to make nails to repair their ships and struggled to survive at that spot for several years until they eventually abandoned it.