Today I have the lovely Elizabeth of Something Saturdays over to blog about a place that looks like Norway, but is in fact Canada and where you can see icebergs - yes ICEBERGS - namely Newfoundland! Now I'm really hoping that I'll manage to see (and of course capture) some icebergs while I'm in Greenland this summer but until then, I live vicariously through Elizabeth's pictures!
Happy Travel Tuesday y'all!
Hi everyone! I'm Elizabeth and (my boyfriend and) I blog over at Something Saturdays where we share our weekly adventures. Today I'm thrilled to be able to show off my home province of Newfoundland, Canada!
Newfoundland was first discovered by the Vikings in 1000 AD, before becoming an island contested by many European countries because of its (formerly) plentiful fishing grounds. Fast forward to when it was a British colony for years before eventually joining Canada in 1949. Add in the fact that Newfoundland is a fairly isolated island in the Atlantic Ocean, and the recipe for a one-of-a-kind place is complete!
Newfoundland English is spoken all over the island. It is made up of a variety of local accents that often resemble a combination of South eastern Irish and West Country English, as well as words and expressions that aren't used anywhere else; we even have our own dictionary!
The accents and phrases vary markedly based on the area - with people dropping their h's in one community and people adding s's in a different community nearby. Mainlanders or CFAs (come from aways) may find the accents tough to understand at times but Newfoundlanders are friendly so there's nothing to worry about. I'm still discovering words that I thought were generic English words/phrases like "scrob" (scratch) and "clue up" (finish doing something). One classic Newfoundland phrase that tends to confuse people is "Stay where you're at till I comes where you're to." It means "wait there".
A tradition that you will definitely be exposed to if you visit Newfoundland is that of the Screech In. It's a "ceremony" to become an Honorary Newfoundlander and is a must-do for anyone visiting the island. There is something to be said for doing a shot of Screech rum, kissing a cod, and repeating some Newfie words you don't understand in the name of becoming one of the locals!
Another tradition is Mummering at Christmas time. People, especially in outport communities, would disguise themselves and visit the homes of their friends and neighbours during the Christmas season. They would attempt to conceal their identities and the home owners would have to guess who each person was. It involved lots of music, dancing, and drinking and can be traced back to the 1800s. Now, there is an annual Mummer's Parade in St. John's every December where anyone can dress up like a Mummer and parade through the streets of Downtown St. John's to keep the tradition alive.
The amazing thing about Newfoundland is that you can be in Downtown St. John's one minute, and 15 minutes later you could be in the wilderness. Newfoundland isn't overly developed, so there is lots of room for wildlife. On the island of Newfoundland itself, there are more moose than people and it isn't uncommon to come across them as you're driving along the highway. Whale watching is a common attraction in the spring/summer and you can usually also sea kayak in the same areas. In June, if you're lucky, you may even see millions of caplin, a small fish, "rolling in" on beaches around the island. It is quite the sight to see.
With all of the rugged coastline, there is also lots of room for hiking. There are many hiking trails around the province that take hikers along the coast, with the 265 km East Coast Trail being the longest. On Newfoundland's west coast, you will find Gros Morne which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and National Park. It is full of natural wonders, including a large freshwater fjord, fascinating geology supporting the theory of plate tectonics, picturesque hikes, and beautiful beaches.
And how could I forget about icebergs?! There's no guarantee you'll see an iceberg if you visit Newfoundland, but the best time of year is late spring or early summer (May/June). Last year was a great year for them and we managed to see quite a few. If you want to see them, you'll probably have to get out of St. John's, with Twillingate being a top spot for iceberg-viewing. The best way to find out where the icebergs are at any given time is on Iceberg Finder. It is incredibly useful!
Newfoundland is a unique place with a unique culture that is just waiting to be explored. Plus, while you're in Newfoundland, why not take a 1.5 hour ferry and end up in France? It's the only place in North America where you can do that!
Have you been to Newfoundland? Is it on your list now? It's definitely on mine!