What we miss from Newfoundland
Holy Mackerel – Now, after Nova Scotia, this will be quite difficult to describe – or not. What we miss about Newfoundland? Hmm…. Mosses, bears, lush forests, endless woods… that’s not enough. I think I have to use some superlatives to describe what we are missing.
What we miss from Newfoundland
John, a friend from Nova Scotia, warned us in advance by saying, “You’ll be stuck in Newfoundland.” We didn’t really believe him. You have to experience it yourself and then you know better. And here are the superlatives of Newfoundland: unique, warm, rough diamond, legendary, wonderful, breathtaking, natural wonder, green lungs of Canada.
Arrival in Newfoundland
So we take the ferry from North Sydney to Port-aux-Basque. Leave the ferry and drive north on Trans Canada Highway 1. The road goes up and down, it is foggy, it rains a little. So we do not see much of the area at first. Then – it goes into a left turn – the fog clears and we see it before us… Boahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… Mountain… …high mountains covered with dense forest in lush green. The forests are so thick that not even a sheet of paper can penetrate the trees. We just got the first Newfie flash. Speaking of Newfoundlanders… The Newfoundlanders call themselves Newfie. Many Newfoundlanders don’t like to hear it, but hot – appeal to the Newfoundlanders – be proud of this unique shortcut. That’s what sets you apart. This makes you stand out from the crowd of races. That’s what makes you so lovable. If you’re so smart, you must like it.
Attention danger – mosses
We also meet the first moss board at the roadside. Elk… In English, Muuus… so very long and the emphasis on the two “oo’s”. Who does not know it, Moose is the English name for moose German. We read that there are about 170,000 mosses in Newfoundland. “Cool,” I think, “I’m sure we’ll see a lot of them. What did we Moose see! Road signs, information boards, danger signs… all with moss on them. Here, there, there, there, there, east, west, south, north … Where are the living mosses? In the whole time – more than a month on Newfoundland – we have seen 3 mosses. So real ones, not the ones on the boards. Wait a minute, didn’t we read 170,000 high-legged, roaring, grass-chewing mosses? Who counted them? What did the meters take before the count? How did they count? One, two, three, many… It’s about the only thing we could have asked for more. The mosses seem to hide deliberately.
We took revenge for that too. How? We ate a mooseburger. And we got fresh moss meat… …homemade… more on that later.
When you can’t see the forest for the trees
Yeah, really… it happened to us… we’re standing there somewhere… Trees around us… …close together. The dominant trees – sometimes coniferous, sometimes deciduous – vary in height. Once rather small, then reaching far into the sky. On the ground soft moss (No not moss the little animal with antlers, here now vegetable, wet moss). We see ferns, mushrooms, grass. Everything around us in rich green. The forests extend from the high mountain peaks down to the sea. Millions of trees and us in the middle. So they stand in the middle of the trees and cannot see the forest. It’s just too big.
Nature of the pure kind
Newfoundland captivates above all by mountains and valleys and endless coasts – logically, it is also an island. The mountains are – compared to the scale of a Swiss who grew up in Switzerland (very, very good description) and knows mountains – impressively high. And they are all overgrown with trees. Softwoods, deciduous trees, over and over again… …in close proximity to each other… No, they are not “strung out” like the Swiss forests. Here nature can really let off steam. Here, beetles and insects still rejoice in the undergrowth and party hard because of the lush abundance of the omnipresent green. The Swiss forest is basically only a commercial forest. Plant as many trees as possible in a straight line and raise them. A tree must be planted every 10 meters so that the forest is bright but still narrow enough for two or three deer and a fox family. In Switzerland this is called a local recreation area.
No, forest in Newfoundland still deserves the word forest. Sometimes one or more trunks lie crosswise in the bushes and cupping on the ground. Hey, woods can still be woods here. And around the corner here is no recreational area, Newfoundland IS the recreational area. Okay, maybe I should take off the word “local” at this point. 🙂 And then you come to a big clearing and put on your sunglasses. The shady forest lies behind you and the sun is blinding. After your eyes get used to the ambient light, you see it… They stand in the middle of knee-high grass or waist-high grass… You see flowers blossoming all around you… …purple, yellow, pink, purple, red, orange and even blue flowers. We saw irises and horsetails growing on the mountain and down to the sea. Even orchids bloom here. The ponds are covered with water lilies with yellow or white flowers. You can hear the buzzing of the bumblebees searching for nectar and flying from flower to flower. Dragonflies hunt for insects… …swarming towards you… turn away from you and move on. Birds are chirping from left, from right, far away, next to you. A squirrel scurries from branch to branch, like a branch beside you. Next to it means 3 meters here. THIS is pure nature. Here you don’t hear any noises – produced by humans – like lawnmowers, airplanes, squeaking trams, roaring construction machines, honking cars, howling engines, neighbour Lumpi making you scream again (the little dogs can’t really bark… they just bark). Gorgeous. Um… there was something at the visitor center in Port-aux-Basque? What was that one warning again? Look out for mosses, bears and coyotes in the wild… …where are we right now? Ui… Wild, so I still do not understand the moss encounter. We have seen more mosses than we have eaten as mooseburgers. But here in the wild – no moose. There was also the shaggy black animal – the black bear – which is also supposed to exist here. We saw two of them – from a distance. They flee rather than want to meet the predator man. And there’s the coyote. We haven’t seen her either. So bear bells, keep bear spray in your backpack and use the thick walking stick instead of the coyote repelling stick. Nevertheless we always took care and informed ourselves about the wild animals before each hike.
If I have to rate the friendliness, hospitality and cheerfulness of the Newfoundlanders on a scale of 1-10 and 10 is the highest value, then the Newfoundlanders get a 15th. The Newfoundlander – all Newfoundlanders may forgive me if I keep describing you as a Newfoundlander, but I don’t mean judging, but full of respect – is warm, cheerful, inviting, enthusiastic, funny, modest and all this with pride and dignity.
In Kings Point we have been invited by a family. Rhonda and Owen’s daughter Nathalie and the youngest son Riley sang some songs for us. Her oldest son, Brandon, was unfortunately not at home but at work in Labrador. We immediately felt welcome, welcomed, at home. We met Owen’s parents, brother, sister and friends (Hello Roy and Wolf, Hello Rhonda and John). Everyone welcomed us and discussed with us, asked who we were and where we came from. have shown real interest in us. We would have preferred to stay in Kings Point. We also saw a piece of land that was offered for sale. 😉
After we had explored the east of Newfoundland, we drove back to King’s Point. We really wanted to enjoy the company of Rhondas and Owen again. It is very difficult for us – even tears flow – when we say goodbye to them a few days later. We want to explore the world a little more. But – we will definitely come back to King’s Point. It has become a piece of home. And then we see everyone again, Rhonda B., Owen, Rhonda A., John, Roy, Wolf – simply everyone. 🙂
And here is the solution to Moose in Can. We were given two preserving jars of moss meat. You can eat it cold or hot. Depending on how you like it. This is really delicious and the meat tastes as tender as game specialties in Switzerland.
The Newfie is the calm itself
Or Woody Point – there is also a great story to tell. We have a place right by the sea, which has already been visited by our friends from www.d-hai.ch. So we go there according to their coordinates. But the access road is slightly blocked by garlands. No problem, the Duro is not high, so we can ride under it. At the end of the road there is enough space for us to park and stay overnight. At dusk some newcomers come with their truck and knock on our door, greet us and ask if we want to stay overnight. Yes, we do. But we can park somewhere else if it is prohibited. “No, it’s not illegal, just stay there,” the driver assures us. “Only this weekend we had a village festival, and at the end – tonight – fireworks will be lit. Right here where you are now,” the newcomer expresses his concern about our vehicle. “Would be stupid if the duro came out of the hot embers because it is a horny vehicle,” explains the Newfoundlander. The best thing would be to drive a bit further on the road, nobody would mind anyway. We’d be safe there. Isn’t that impressive? No scolding, no prohibition, no threats to call the police. Call out only to the Newfies – be proud of these qualities. They are hard to find among the people in the world, and you just have it in your blood.
For comparison – the Swiss!!! When the Mercedes arrives, he knocks on the door of the Duro, which bends the lock, and mumbles at first – with a bright red head that is about to explode – that this is not possible. “Furthermore, it is forbidden You must leave immediately. When I come back in five minutes, you must be gone. Otherwise I’ll call the police. Then there’s a juicy bus. Blah, blah, blah, blah.” The inflated Swiss amateur pyromaniac wanders around and presses his cheeks open like a balloon, but looks more like he wants to counteract the attempt at implosion.
The Singing Postman
Or that was the singing postman at St. John’s. We had to send a package and went – logically – to a post office. How it happens when we announce our nationality – we get entangled in a long conversation. At the post office. Probably 45 minutes. And there was a postman – he sang songs for us. Really – no joke with hand on heart and Rütli oath (for the non-Swiss: on the Rütli the Swiss Confederation was founded anno Domini with an oath. Hence the term Rütli oath. So a sacrosanct thing). Try to find a postal worker in Switzerland who sings – let alone seems somehow relaxed.
The Newfoundlander in the West – the West best
When we arrived at the only brewery in the West, especially in Port-aus-Port East, we ordered another flight to taste four different beers. A flight includes a selection of four to seven different beers in small 5-ounce glasses. Claudia and I always share a flight like this. That’s enough for us. While we are now tasting our beers, a few come into the bar and go behind the counter. Ah, the bosses. She shouts loudly into the crowd: “Which of you is Swiss and with the tank out there? I raise my hand a little hesitantly, I do not know what comes next. “Hei, so cool your vehicle. That’s brilliant. What is that? While Claudia and I explain what kind of vehicle it is, the rest of the staff including the boss and guests run outside to watch our Duro. Shortly afterwards the boss of the brewery comes back to us, extends his hand to me and greets us joyfully. He seems to be very impressed by our travel project and gives us a flag of his brewery. We attach the flag to the Duro and travel around the whole island of Newfoundland. We have recommended the Secret Cove Brewing Co. to one or the other newcomer. We hope that many new guests have appeared.
The best brewery is on Newfoundland
At this point I return to the reference to the report on Nova Scotia. I said that we visited some breweries and tried flights like that. I also mentioned in that report that the best brewery is not in Nova Scotia. The brewery here, in Port-au-Port East, the Secret Cove Brewing Co. brews the best beer by far. So far we mostly drank a beer during the flight, which tasted really good. But at Secret Cove Brewing Co., each of the four beers tasted absolutely first-class. Sure, it’s a matter of taste. Nevertheless, from our point of view every beer is top class. And we tried all but one brewery in Newfoundland. The special thing about the Secret Cove Brewing Co. is that it only exists since December 2018 – so it is brand new. Next Friday evening we were invited to a live concert of a local group. Unfortunately we did not make it. Anyway, thanks to Jason for the invitation.
Sheer endless expanse
In Newfoundland it can happen that you drive many miles on the road all by yourself. No oncoming traffic, just drive and let the engine purr. Ok, not all roads are in top condition – but that’s why we have the Duro with the long legs – shock absorbers. Newfoundland cannot be described as infinite because it is an island. So at some point the driver’s compartment gets wet, then you know that you have arrived at one end. Still – Newfoundland is 2.5 times bigger than Switzerland, and if you take on the exertions of a mountain climb, you will be rewarded with a view that is unsurpassed for a long time. The view reaches to the horizon and one looks only at forests, lakes, quiet meadows and silence.
Puffin – the national bird
We stopped at Ellison to see the puffins. Puffins are cuddly little birds with black and white plumage. The beak is particularly striking. In fact, it resembles a parrot’s beak, except that it is massively colored with the cute fishing bird. The puffin is the Newfies’ favorite and national bird. Especially funny about these feathered friends is the beginning of the flight. Well, I think it’s funny. You take off like a helicopter. Spread your wings, head forward, beat your wings strongly, lift off slowly, tilt your head further forward and downwards, slowly lift it further and then go into fast flight. Real like a helicopter – look exactly like a helicopter, and in comparison a puffin, take off. 🙂
We went to St. John’s to see a play. It was an entertaining, funny show about ABBA. Four singers/actors (Peter Halley, Keith Power, Shelley Neville and Kara Noftle) from Newfoundland impressed with their comedic skills and their singing voices. At the end of the show the group of four said goodbye to the spirit of Newfoundland with a song. The text best captures the spirit of the Newfies and the island itself.
It doesn’t matter where you come from It doesn’t matter where you’ve been It’s our spirit and our culture That keeps us all together within One big family That is driven from above We are rich no matter what we owe We have each other’s love We have our rocky coasts and mighty seas The rolling mist and salty sea breeze We are a proud and strong people of Newfoundland
We miss Newfoundland, its people, its nature, its forests, its spirit, its mosses. We like to think back to Newfoundland and get teary eyes. For us it has become a piece of home in a very short time. We will miss Rhonda and Owen especially. With their convivial, cheerful manner, the two have shown us a Newfoundland that could not be more original. We are already thinking about buying a piece of land here to spend the time after the trip.
PS: Now we have seen two more mosses. So according to our census there are at least 5 Moose on Newfoundland. 🙂