Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Newfoundland in a Whirlwind

Penning a Journal EntrySee? Food!
After spending close to 10 days travelling “the Rock”, from the Avalon to the Western Pennisulas, I, Emily, came back savouring the seafood, with a special liking for cod tongues.

Some like them chewy...
Many traditional Newfoundland dishes seem to involve cod, including the tongues of cods. One can choose to eat cod tongues deep or pan fried; eight to ten pieces are usually served with chips (fries) and scrunchions (salted fatty pork bits). I prefer them pan fried myself, as the flavour and texture are more distinct.

Deep Fried…
Fish, potatoes, cod tongues, onion rings, chicken wings, scallops, calamari – you name it, they had it. After awhile, all the deep fried food tasted all the same. The folks at the Long Range Adventure hostel (only $20/night) in Sally’s Cove recommended we try Java Jack’s in Rocky Harbour, a quaint coffee shop for a meal. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the lunch food so much that we went back for dinner. Mind you, the selection is very yuppie, Yaletown-like, atypical of Newfoundland, but we welcomed the change. They even got a mention in Where to Eat in Canada and the Lonely Planet guides.

ScenerySunset in Sally's Cove
The scenery in Newfoundland is breathtaking, even with the rolling fog. Forests of tuckamores fill the hills along the coast; these are stunted and bended spruce trees, green on the backsides while their faces are stripped bare by the wind and the salt from the sea. At dusk, the tree tops glow a nice pink, reflecting the descent of the sun; the sun setting behind the horizon of the ocean between the mountains reminds me of the beauty of a Tofino sunset.

TrailTrail markers and maps are hard to come by, thus making the experience even more authentic. The few travellers and hikers on the rocky terrain, along with the fog mist makes for a very eerie, yet mystical experience. On the forested trails, one would expect to see moose as piles of moose droppings are unavoidable. I wrote in a journey entry, "the island has an abundance of trails; it would take days, months before one could complete them all."

One notable is the Skerwink Trail in Trinity East. Voted as one of the top 35 walks in North America and Europe in Travel & Leisure Magazine’s August 2003 World’s Best Awards issue (of one in three Canadian choices), the Skerwink Trail loops its way around the coast with sheer cliffs on one side and trees on another. A lookout point every few metres allows the hiker to rest and take in the view of the rock formations and the smell of the sea.Skerwink Trail

The Locals (and more fish)
Tourism at this time of the year is just starting off and that is exactly how I like it. At all the places we stayed, we were the only ones. Many bed and breakfasts are owned and operated by retired couples. One man told us stories of his childhood in Newfoundland and his wife played us a few tunes on the pump organ. At Riverside Lodge in Trouty near Trinity, I came to understand the bitterness from the fishermen toward the fishing regulations. I had previously though that the five-a-day-no-license-required-fishing was great...for people like me, who do not fish much. But, for families who depend on fish, this freedom is only in effect for the month of August. Levies and quotas and commercial fishing also seem to be disrupting the fish population and the fishing villages. Will they become the hardworking miners, who at one point mined the whole of Bell Island for iron ore using candles for headlamps and who now have moved to other places because of work and finances? Overall, the local townspeople are generally quite friendly and warm; some of them, like bed and breakfast hosts, will get a chance to meet people from all over the world every year!

What’s in a Name?
Newfoundland is home to the French, the Norsemen (Vikings) and others with a variety of Newfie accents. Many places were named first in French, and then Anglicized which would explain why some of these names do not make any sense. For instance, some say that the local berry bake apple (also known as cloudberry in other places) is from the French phrase “baie qu'appelle” (what is the berry’s name?). Others tell me that places like L’Anse aux Meadows is derived from the French, L'Anse-aux-Méduses, meaning Jellyfish Cove, but when the English came, they changed it to meadows because that is what they heard.

Newfoundland is sure full of history that seems to live on to even today.

This excerpt is taken from the traveller's journal entry.


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