Next up is the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. This consists of the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador. This province is the youngest in Canada, joining Confederation on March 31st, 1949. Previously it had been a colony and dominion of the United Kingdom. It has a population of over 500,00 with 40% of that population living in the capital city of St John's.
I visited Newfoundland for the first time in 2008 and then again in 2010 so my pictures will be a combination of both trips.
On my first trip I stayed in a Bed and Breakfast run by a fantastic couple but sadly they had retired when I returned two years later so I stayed in a hostel...but a pretty cool one...
Yes, I got to stay in one of St John's famous Jellybean houses...it was the orange one in the middle. These weren't as colourful as some of the others though!!!
Look at that view! Oh yes, St John's has hills...oh yes they do. My knees got a work out for sure and let's not talk about driving there....I had the "fun" experience of having to stop at a red light "almost" to the top of a hill in rush hour. Stressful stuff for this prairie girl! I screeched my way through that intersection like a boss - one foot on the brake so I wouldn't roll backward and one on the gas to go forward. (it was an automatic) I am sure there were a lot of shaking heads.
One of the highlights of my first stay was walking over to Quidi Vidi..(pronounced Kiddy Viddy) which was a fifteen-minute walk from my Bed and Breakfast. I loved it!
I mean seriously..how cute is this place?
They have a brewery but it was too early in the morning for me to partake.
There had to be dogs right? Here are statues of the Newfoundland as well as the Labrador dog looking out towards St John's harbour...
Just in case the houses weren't cute enough...
And then I attempted the Signal Hill trail....attempted being the key word here. And yes the walk involves walking across the local residents' decks....strange but that's how it is.
The trail by the sea....
The views were amazing. However the path got too narrow and too damn close to the water and I suffer from vertigo. No one was around to hear the splash if I carried on so I muttered a few choice words and turned around. I attempted this walk on both of my visits and turned around both times....next time I WILL conquer it but I won't be on my own! (so I can cling to someone) I did, however, make it to the top of Signal Hill another way - I zoomed up the hill in my rental. Much easier!
As much as I loved St John's I wanted to see a bit more of Newfoundland so me and my spunky red rental car headed off around the Irish Loop. The first stop was Cape Spear which is the most easterly point in North America excluding Greenland.
And then I pulled in at Bulls Bay and boarded a vessel to go and see ice bergs!
Late May/early June is prime iceberg season - the majority of these babies float down from Greenland with a few from the Arctic as well. An amazing sight!
Also in that area is Cape St Mary's Ecological Preserve. It is the most accessible seabird rookery in North America. Bird Rock is the third largest and most southerly nesting site of Northern Gannets in North America. I didn't visit with the rental as it was a bit out of the way but I was lucky enough to catch a tour through the hostel on my second visit. I was able to get in on a tour that had been arranged for another guest - he paid $100 and I paid $50. Shhh....I am not supposed to tell. What a deal - even $100 was worth it!
I can't even begin to explain how exhilarating and beautiful it was...I was so lucky to have a beautiful but windy day...it is one of those days in your life you just never forget. I wanted to stay there forever.
Bird Rock - I think they should call it sh*t rock. It reeked!!
Feeling on top of the world! My faithful Taiga jacket...this is my second one. Okay here is a plug for Taiga. Awesome Goretex jackets that are made in Canada. While they aren't cheap by any means they are less expensive than other brands and I love buying something made in Canada. The first one lasted ten years - I still have it but the lining is torn inside. The second one is now 6 years old and good as new (although I do tend to save it mostly for traveling) ...and yes I kept the same colour because is there really any other colour but blue?
Okay, now we are back in the rental two years before and headed over to Bonavista on the Avalon Peninsula.
And then the rain rolled in...but I headed out to Trinity anyway
Here is a replica of John Cabot's 15th century ship The Matthew.
I stayed in three different bed and breakfasts while on the road. The last one cooked an evening meal if you wished and I wished...and had my very first scallops. They are still the best I have ever had. No pictures sorry!
I drove mostly in the pouring rain for the last couple of days and I had been warned about moose wandering or even sitting on the highway. Many people lose their lives this way. Talk about a white-knuckle drive especially on the quieter roads. I was very lucky to get the sun that I did as Newfoundland isn't known for its wonderful weather.
Seriously! How can you not take a picture?
Newfoundland has unique food as well...and we all know how I love trying all the different food when I travel.
Toutons with beans for breakfast - Toutons are pan-fried bread dough.
Newfoundland cod cakes
Last but not least, Bakeapple cake. Not an apple but a berry! Scrumptious! I bought some jam as well.
I can't write about Newfoundland without mentioning the Newfoundlanders or "Newfies" as they are fondly referred to. Oh, the Newfie jokes I've heard...but seriously they are wonderful people. The absolute best. Even if I can't understand what the heck they are saying half the time. My very first morning in Newfoundland my bed and breakfast host was chatting and told me "the fag comes over the mountain in the morning". I was thinking "fag over the mountain? Why is he going over a mountain? That's not very nice" (hey, I hadn't had my full quota of coffee yet) ...and then it dawned on me...the FOG! And it's not every day you pull into a garage to get gas and not only are you asked to sign a guest book but given a free pen!
A third trip to Newfoundland? Oh yes please! Sooner rather than later...stay tuned!