For a few months now I work for a tour operator in Hanover called America Unlimited which decided to send me to Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada so I could get to know the destination a lot better.
We flew from Frankfurt over Ottawa to St. John’s which is the capital of the province. The highlight was that we were allowed to stay in the AirCanada-Loung before our departure and the fact that my seat was changed to the exit seat, so I had much more space for my legs. Awesome.
After the arrival there was a little meet and greet with our three travel guides and we were driven to our hotel by bus. The whole time I wasn’t able to focus on something different than the wonderful landscape and all the wooden house outside of the bus window. Our rooms in the Sheraton Hotel of St. John’s were fantastic, I had a view over the harbour and Signal Hill. And I was so stoked to be finally here in Canada.
The next day started with a little trip to Signal Hill National Historic Site, a place where Frenchmen and Englishmen battled for years. Despite the lousy weather a site that I would recommend to visit since you have a great view of the ocean and the town on both sides. You can also drive the whole way to the top by car. And with a little luck you may see a sea eagle as well! If you are interested in further information you should visit the Signal Hill Interpretation Centre afterwards. The movie they present there is just hilarious.
Next station was The Rooms. This museum offers different thematic levels about history, heritage and art of Newfoundland. Really good exhibition, and really good opportunity for lunch as well!
What followed was the highlight of the day: A boat tour with Gatherall’s Whale & Bird Tours, which was absolutely amazing even though the shitty weather hasn’t improved a bit. In fact it got even worse. Nevertheless we saw dolphins, humbacks and puffins and it was kinda special to mock the heave waves on a small boat while irish folk music was played. Felt like a true irish sailor.
To get warm again we finally visited the Quidi Vidi brewery where we were allowed to taste some of there famous Iceberg beer which is brewed with 25.000 year old iceberg water. How cool is that?!
After breakfast we first drove to the little town Brigus, where we visited Hawthorne Cottage National Historic Site, where Cpt. Bob Bartlett lived, and had a little walk through the beautiful streets towards the ocean.
Afterwards we had lunch in an old church, which is now a hotel, and moved on through the National Park watching the semifinal between France and Germany on an iPad in the bus. After the final whistle it wasn’t the result that we all hoped for so we had to cheer up ourselves a bit which we did by drinking wine and getting some painting lessons at the Happy Adventure Inn in Eastport.
Day 4 started awesome for me: I could play for a while with the husky that lived in the same B&B as I did for the night. Then the day got even better. I went sea kayaking with one of our tour guides and another kayaking guide alongside the atlantic coastline. For me this was the absolute highlight of my time in Newfoundland. The sun shone, the sea was calm and we even had time to paddle into a cave where we went through a waterfall. A completely mindblowing experience!
We spent the evening at the Bistro on Roe („one of NF finest restaurants“) where Sherman Downey, who seemed to be kinda popular over there, had a little session and I really liked his music. You need to check him out!
While the others had already seen an iceberg while I was sea kayaking, on day 5 it was finally time for me to see one with my own eyes as well (and even taste it). From Twillingate we started our Iceberg Quest and only had to ship into a not far away bay to find a „surpriceberg“. It looked so out of place yet so magical. We got one piece of it into the boat and gave a try to Iceberg ice. Not too bad.
Back on solid ground we all got a ceremony which obviously transformed us to true Newfoundlanders. Skål!
We finisehd the day off with a wonderful sunset. Probably the best place in Twillingate to watch the sun sink into the ocean is from Long Point Lighthouse or rather the cliffs infront of it. Really enjoyable view!
With arrived Fogo Island by ferry on a very sunny day. The captain let us visit the bridge and everybody was just excited to see the Fogo Island Inn, which is one of the Top 25 hotels worldwide and even has its place on Oprahs bucketlist. I felt a little nervous because I was afraid to accidentically destroy an expensive vase or carpet but everything went well. We had a delicious dinner and a little walk around the hotel and even though you could feel that everything was pretty luxurious it still had a relaxed atmosphere. Rustic and friendly. Typical for Newfoundland.
The afternoon we spent with a little hike on Brimstone Head Trail, one of the four corners of the flat earth. Really nice trail with a nice view, just really windy. But you can look down from the edge of the world, how amazing is this?
The following started with another hike on the foggy Joe Batt’s Point Trail where we were able to have a look on of the Shorefast Foundantion’s Long Studios which were built just for artists to enjoy the nature and silence in isolation. Afterwards we already left Fogo Island again.
We finished our trip off with a visit at the Johnson GEO Centre in St. John’s which I would highly recommend especially if you are interested in the tragedy of the Titanic!
The last thing on our list was a quick visit at Cape Spear National Historic Site, the easternmost point of the North American continent. The light house is a quite beautiful sight and with a little luck you can see whales across the shore.
I really enjoyed my first week on Canadian ground and can’t wait to return as soon as possible!