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Newfoundland/Terre Neuve

Canada's most Easterly province, Newfoundland is a rugged, distinctive, and weather-beaten land. It's charming communities define it's foggy edges while the natural beauty adds to it's allure. It has history and tradition and stories for both!

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We boarded at North Sydney early in the morning and spent most of the next 14 hours on the ferry's sunny, but windy deck-reading, napping, and making notes for the website. In the lounge we couldn't help but clap along to "The Bugsy & Debbie Greene Show" (a husband and wife duo) as they belted East Coast music to the down-home crowd. They also managed to rattle off a few Newfie jokes and stories. You guys know the one about me buddy Jarge?

We landed in Argentia around 8 pm and dived into a desperate search for accommodations. Our search proved to be in vain with nearly every trailer park packed with summer long tenants and the tent sights being nothing but a portion of their lawn. And so we slept an uneasy night in a wooded field barely 10 feet from the road.

Early the next day, we drove the "Irish Loop" leading around the Southwestern Avalon Peninsula, headed for Saint John's. It was mostly uneventful except for the remarkable change of landscape-from near tundra to lush lakes and mountains.

Trina (another friend from Kuj) had asked her good friend Norm to show us around the refreshing city of Saint John's. She also generously lent us her downtown apartment while she was away. Trina's roommates, Dave & Jeff, were most excellent hosts, surcoming to the fact that we had become basic vegetables on their couch watching DVDs of Family Guy for hours on end. Hey!  We're TV deprived okay!

For the entire week in Saint John's we cruised the local bar scene with Norm and the righteous Mr. Frank, a good friend from our Korea escapades. Frank took us to his favourite watering holes, most of which had a reputation for great live music and funky atmosphere. The band scene in this happenin' little city is terrific; everyone maintains their own unique style-even cover songs are distinctively tweaked. His musical friends had an apartment with a wicked rooftop patio that overlooked George Street-a strip of bars and a stage where all the Canada Day/Weekend concerts were being held.  Best view by far! Frank's parents were even nice enough to offer their laundry machines and to invite us for a tasty BBQ supper.
Meanwhile Norm kept us busy with bowling parties, family BBQs and local hot spots of his own. Thanks guys-where ya to?
Trina eventually made it back to The Rock and so we spent our last night in Saint John's bar hopping and girl-talking late into the night! Love ya Trina!

Leaving that madness, we set out for Trinity Bay, a tiny peninsula dotted with attractive fishing villages. Although the entire area was postcard picturesque, the number of milling tourists was disapointing. We soon headed south to Terra Nova National Park. Along the way we noticed that The Beast was lagging over the hills and struggled to change gear, eventually refusing to reverse. As we drove through the park she finally stalled, leaving us stranded to contemplate our next move. As dusk threatened another night in the van, a driver-by offered to help and with a heavy push we were soon back on the road to our campsite. We explained our situation to the wardens, who were extremely helpful, and we fell onto our inflatable beds exhausted, deciding to have our van examined by a professional!

In the morning we cautiously made our way to the nearest Canadian Tire in Gander. After a few test drives and some tinkering under the hood, it was concluded that The Beast's transmission was failing and that she was old and loosing that vim and vigor she once had some point. They suggested we wait for the inevitable or until we had the money to fix it!

We tentatively continued onto Twilingate, where we nervously enjoyed a scenic tour of both this tiny village and its even tinier winery. Newfoundland rhubarb wine is surprisingly tasty! Onwards to Dildo Run (snicker, snicker)Provincial Park with it's great hiking paths to compliment the terrific tenting sites that were right on the edge of a huge lake speckled with small forested islands.
Unfortunately setting the tone for the next lag of our journey, it started to rain that evening, continuing into the night and was still raining when we packed our soggy tent and drove to the mill-town of Cornerbrook. Just outside of town, as the rain continued to drizzle, we found Prince Edward Park, a private campground with laundry facilities, pleasant staff and a kitchen shelter to dry our tent! Cornerbrook proved to be disappointingly unexciting.

As the sky slowly cleared the next day, we made our way to Gros Mourne National Park. We were patient with the weather and were rewarded with afternoon sunshine that broke through the clouds. We were completely awestruck at the shear beauty of the magnificent and varied panorama. For 3 days we reveled at the park's lush hills, mountainous fjords, brilliant lakes and sandy beaches. We hiked, kayaked, roamed and explored within the park's network of natural wonders.
At Rocky Harbour, a small community maintained by tourist traffic, we enjoyed some fantastically amusing Newfie entertainment. "Anchor's Aweigh" twisted talent with hilarity as they showcased traditional songs, stories, jokes and a grinning accordion player. Oh, and we saw a moose!

On July 14 we left the park heading further north to L'Anse-Aux-Meadows National Historic Site, home to both an old Viking settlement dating 1000AD and soaring gas prices (highest yet at 101.3!). At the site our tour guide pointed out the exaggerated outlines of walls that had been built with sod. This is all that remains of Erik the Red's encounter with North America.

We then ventured further into the larger fishing town of St. Anthony's, where we finally saw those icebergs that our many brochures and travel guides had promised us. Floating in the bay among the whales (no joke!), these massive chunks of Arctic ice moved with the wind into the chilly shore. After capturing these frozen entities on camera we headed to nearby Pistolet Bay Provincial Park to settle down with a bonfire and some marshmallows and to relish the combination of the day's visuals.

The next afternoon we bid our farewell to Newfoundland and boarded yet another ferry that would take us to the Quebec/Labrador border town of Blanc Sablon. Our boat steered past even more icebergs while small porpoises played in the waves that trailed behind the giant vessel. Newfoundland was an absolutely amazing experience.

Norm, Trina, Frank and Nancy

The rows of houses in Saint John's

Hiking at Gros Mourne

We finally found those icebergs

For more pics of Nfld her's what you do:
Click on the link below. Once you get to the Ontario page just hit the button at the top that says return to griffiths_sara's photos and that'll take you to all of Sara's albums.  Enjoy and hope it works!