Thursday, August 6, 2015

Food, Fun, Fond Memories of Newfoundland

So clearly, or not so clearly, the weather was not the best while we were in Newfoundland. In fact, I found 11C to be down right chilly. There was no precipitation except for the fog. Nonetheless, I have no regrets. I can only imagine how much more spectacular all the places would have looked had we had sunshine or blue skies.

A few new things which I learned while in Newfoundland...actually, there were many but here are some.

A person from Newfoundland is called Newfounese, not a Newfie.

Things made in Newfoundland from icebergs eg. beer and vodka, are delicious. The beer is made by the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company and water from 25,000 year old glaciers off the coast is used. It is brought into the facility by tankers and is tested for purity. Vodka is similarly produced. Other drinks designed to keep people warm on this island, (eg. Screech) are just fine as well.                                

The touton is a type of Newfoundland pancake. I first saw it in an ad in a brochure and figured I should test this local delicacy. It is produced by frying bread dough in a pan with butter or pork fat and it is served with molasses. I'm, glad my friend and I shared one because all I can apologetically say to this item is "Yuck! Disgusting." Definitely not suited to my tastebuds.

Mummers fascinated me. Apparently, it's a Christmas tradition, where people dress up in costumes and masks in an outlandish and humourous way. They go door to door and celebrate mostly with neighbours and friends who try to guess their identity. It's an excuse for a big party from what I could see although it is based on some European traditions. Sounds like a great time.

One of  my trip regrets is that I did not pick up a Newfoundland ugly stick. It's a percussion instrument which consists of a boot containing an upside down mop, often with a face and braided "hair". There are cross sticks with jingly beer caps attached and the instrument is pounded onto the floor in time to the music. What fun! On the other hand, this sounds like it could be a spare time craft project.

Washroom facilities are not as desperate as they appear. I figured out that it's not a drop at bottom of the foot on the right side but rather the other foot (from crossed legs).

By the way, lest anyone wonder, the gas price in Newfoundland in July was $1.19....not bad.

After leaving St. John's, our destination was the most easterly part of our fabulous country of Canada, Cape Spear on the Avalon Peninsula and our eventual overnight ferry ride from Argentia back to the mainland.  

I can now brag that I have been at the farthest eastern edge our coast. In fact, I was standing at a point that was closer to Greenland (1527 km) than it was to Toronto (2700 km). Amazing.

The Cape Spear lighthouse is the second oldest in Newfoundland, built in 1836.  During the second world war, a gun battery was installed here to defend the entrance to St. John's harbour. Barracks and underground passages were built for the troops who were stationed here. This provided a sheltered view of the ocean.

 Numerous signs and warnings are posted all around the area since it is notorious for rogue waves. Tourists have been frequently lost here in the past. Although I was quite lost in the magnificence of it all, I was not one of those unfortunates who ventured too near the edge.

All too soon, we were off to Argentia to board the overnight ferry back to the mainland.

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