Before getting started on the details on our adventure, I wanted to give you guys a bit of background about myself. I was born and raised in Newfoundland. I moved away when I was 18 and am currently 22. Newfoundland will forever be home to me, no matter where I am. I moved to Winnipeg 3 years ago and started dating Pascal a year and a half ago. He had never been to Newfoundland before OR met my parents so it was without question that we needed to go. And so the journey began…
The Journey There
The trip there in itself was an adventure. We showed up at the airport for 4am, ready to board our early flight and make it to Newfoundland in time to spend the Saturday evening on George Street getting Pascal screeched in. When we arrived at the airport we discovered that our flight had been cancelled. The next earliest flight they could get us wouldn’t leave Winnipeg until the afternoon AND was going to take us to British Columbia first (the OTHER side of the country) before flying us to Newfoundland. We decided to go with this option as the Canada games were going on and all the other flights were full. We arrived in British Columbia later that day and had a 5 hour lay-over between flights. Instead of spending that 5 hours just sitting in the airport we decided to let our vacation start there. We called a taxi and headed towards the harbour. We walked the boardwalk and tried hard to decide which seafood restaurant to try (we wanted to compare the seafood on both the west coast and the east coast). We finally decided on a place and ordered their seafood platter, just to get a sampling of everything. It was amazing but personally east coast seafood wins for me (I may be a bit biased). We called our taxi and headed back to the airport to continue on with our journey to Newfoundland, featuring a very long plane ride.
The First Two Days in Newfoundland
We arrived in St.John’s,Newfoundland early Sunday morning. We considered the amount of time we slept on the planes to be enough sleep as we were already behind in our adventure. We picked up our rental car and headed to my friend’s apartment. A couple of hours later my brother came and picked the 3 of us up. I hadn’t seen my brother in 4 years! My brother took us around the city and showed us a couple of cool hiking spots. My brother loves hiking and being outdoors so it was a great way to start our vacation. We explored all over the city for about 5 hours before my brother dropped us back off at my friend’s place. Although it was a Sunday, me, Pascal and a couple of my high school friends headed to George Street that night to find a place that would screech Pascal in. For any of you who don’t know what it means to get “screeched in”, it is a Newfoundland tradition that anyone from outside of Newfoundland and partake in. It varies slightly depending on who conducts the ceremony for you but for the full ceremony you eat newfie steak (bologna), eat seal penis (vienna sausages), drink screech (a newfie rum), repeat some newfie sayings and kiss a cod (yes, the fish). After checking a couple of bars we finally found someone who was willing to do it and that night Pascal became an honorary Newfoundlander.
Hiking Gros Morne and Ziplining
The next day we left St.John’s and headed to Terra Nova National Park with the intentions of doing some camping. Sadly our plans got rained on, so we continued on to Gander for the night. While in Gander I got to visit my cousin who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years which was nice. The next day we continued on to Gros Morne National Park. Gros Morne mountain is the second highest peak in Newfoundland, at 806m. I had hiked it the year before with a couple of friends and I knew that I had to bring Pascal to experience this breathtaking hike. After a long 4-5 hours of hiking up a rocky mountain side, we finally made it to the top and we were not disappointed. It was everything I remembered it being, maybe even windier. We decided to camp on the side on the mountain on our way down and spend the night. When we woke up the next morning, we were greeted by a moose outside our tent. He was very peaceful and watched us before walking up the mountain (and making it look like hiking that mountain was a joke). I wish I was able to get a picture before he left but it took me by such surprise. We woke up nice and early so that we could finish the rest of the hike in time to make it to our scheduled ziplining. I had also done the ziplining the year before but the views were so beautiful I could zipline the same lines every year and never get bored. It is a series of 9 lines that take you back and forth over a waterfall. Anyone who knows me knows that waterfalls are one of my favorite things about nature. It has the highest zip-line in Canada which I think is pretty cool in itself. I really wish I had a go-pro or a smaller camera that I felt comfortable taking ziplining with me so that I could have gotten pictures. My goal in the new year is to purchase more of an adventure camera. I will definitely be doing these ziplines again in the future and getting some pictures.
Sandbanks Provincial Park
After our ziplining adventure, we drove on to Sandbanks Provincial Park. They are known for their long, sandy beaches. Although I lived in Newfoundland for 18 years, I never got the chance to check it out until this trip. Being by the ocean always has a way of making me instantly happy. We spent the evening running along the beach and chasing the waves. The simplicity in it was what made it one of my favorite moments. We spent the night camping there before heading to Baie Verte so that Pascal could meet my family and see where it was exactly that I grew up.
The Last Destination: Home
Finally, we made it to my hometown, Baie Verte. We picked up my mom from work and I got to show Pascal where my parents work. We spent that weekend in Coachman’s Cove which is where my Pop lives and also where our family cabin is. I don’t think I really appreciated the cabin and Coachman’s Cove when I was growing up. There is no cell phone service or internet there so I used to dread going. Now it is a blessing. My dad took us out in boat and me, Pascal and my parents spent the morning cod jigging. It was Pascal’s first time fishing this way and he was blown away by the size of the fish. Once we got to shore, my dad taught Pascal how to gut and fillet the fish. That evening for supper we had a variety of seafood, all delicious. My favorite was definitely the stuffed squid that my aunt made, a Newfoundland tradition. For my last night in Baie Verte, I went to a dance with my friends and drank and danced until they shut the place down (I won’t share a picture of that because I really don’t think we got one sensible photo).
I loved growing up here because of how safe I felt. Everybody knew everybody. Sure, it can be a pain sometimes when everyone knows your personal business as well, but for the most part it was good. I had pretty much the same friends from kindergarten to grade 12. I got to play a lot of sports and had a lot of opportunities to travel the province because of it. Sea cadets was also a big part of my life there. I also go to spend a lot of time outdoors, whether with friends or alone. It was peaceful and my heart will forever be in Newfoundland. Hoping the next time I visit will be in the winter so stay tuned for that!