Two years ago my husband Petar and I decided to finally fulfill one of our dreams and go on a road trip through Newfoundland. Up to then we had often travelled through Canada, but somehow never made it to the island on the East Coast. This time, however, we decided to spend ten days on “The Rock”, how the Newfies lovingly call their homeland. And it was an excellent decision.
We originally intended to go there to watch the icebergs drifting down from the Arctic, that slowly melt in the waters off Newfoundland as soon as the summer heat is increasing. It is something we always thought of when talking about the island. However, our travel schedule for the year did not allow an early enough travel date, and thus we were forced to go there in July. And what a July it should be!
We started our trip in Newfoundland’s capital St. John with a great whale watching trip off Cape Spear, the most easterly point of Canada. Beyond that there is only the Atlantic until you reach the waters around Ireland. The whales around the promontory on which the two lighthouses of Cape Spears keep watch above the cliffs seem to be used to the boats going by, since they came very close to our boat giving us many good opportunities to take great photos of them.
St. John itself reminded us a lot of the Irish coastal villages with its colorful houses and its friendly and hospitable people. We loved their open and welcoming attitude and very much enjoyed our stay downtown at the harbor front where we could watch the boat traffic on the water.
In Newfoundland there are not many chances to get lost while driving through the island. The TransCanada Highway is the only connector road that cuts through the whole island from the north coast to the south coast. It passes through wide forest regions and only rarely touches one of the towns on the island. And you should know that it does not go along the coast. The coast of Newfoundland, however, is what every road tripper should see. Thus we timed our tour in a way that we just used the big highway as a connector between bays and promontories we wanted to see.
We went to visit Canada’s oldest settlement in Cupids, which was founded only three years after Jamestown in Virginia. Sir John Guy brought a boatload of settlers in 1610 who established this permanently settled village, which even received royal visitors from England a few years ago. Today it is a small fishing community in a sheltered bay that also was the home of the Arctic explorer Bob Bartlett who took part in Robert Peary’s attempt to reach the North Pole.
One of the absolute highlights of our trip was our two day stay in Trinity, a wonderful village on a sheltered cove with a laid back way of life which missed any aspect of the hectic lifestyle we are used to otherwise. There were no icebergs in sight, but millions of lupins and other flowers in all shades of color. This was simply a feast for the eyes which made this trip stick in our minds.
What else made our trip through Newfoundland unforgettable were the people of the island. We met so many friendly and hospitable men and women on our trip that we felt immediately at home wherever we went. They told us their stories – true or maybe not ? – but always with a wink in their eyes. And, oh, that Newfie sense of humor. It is hilarious. You always have to think twice, if what they say is meant in earnest and true. They make you laugh a lot. But also people helped us, when we needed it, and they made us feel welcome wherever we were.
Another thing we loved about the island was its variety of landscapes: the rough cliffs along the east coast, the deep forests inland and the tundra like vastness in the northern part of the island, not to forget the breathtaking beauty of Gros Morne National Park. In St. Anthony at the north end of the island we even saw one of the last icebergs melting in the waters off the coast while having dinner in a small restaurant in a lighthouse.
Newfoundland definitely is a destination which we will always lovingly remember and who knows – we may be back someday to get another dose of its friendliness, its beauty and its welcoming nature. And this time we would make it a little earlier to also see the icebergs!
This post was written by Monika Fuchs who has been traveling her whole life, first as a professional tour guide in many different countries for 17 years, then as a travel journalist and travel blogger. She started her online publishing career in 2001 with her German travel portal Travel World Online Traveller. She is accompanied on her trips by her husband Petar who adds his skills as a cameraman to her blogs by contributing videos of their trips. You can also follow her on social media at: Facebook, Twitter and Google+