Newfoundland is one place where I would recommend you visit without your camera. There are scenes and sights you need to breathe in, memorize, and carry the effect. They cannot be recorded, for some reason, perhaps because it is a combination of so many things that affects different senses all at the same time. It is majestic yet homely; it is remote and isolated but not aloof; it contains the most harmonious combination of contradictory traits I have ever seen.
But man cannot live on just landscape; so what to eat? I would go for fish, and only fish. Since I came back, I have not been able to eat any fish or seafood in Ontario. Everything feels old and chewy. I had fish in diners on the road, a homely restaurant (Velma’s) in St. John’s, or…, and they were all great. The fries are an interesting story; you have to try them to know what I mean. They top french fries with an ample amount of (I suspect buttered) bread crumbs and gravy. I had never seen that anywhere. And they serve gravy with anything anywhere of course.
Then there are the pubs; the one I particularly liked was Erin’s at downtown. Different bands played Celtic music, some very traditional, others weaved in a country tone or a contemporary one. I liked them all though my preference was with the traditional ones. They remind me of Persian Music in the way they both simultaneously evoke sadness and joy; the happiest tunes I have heard in both Persian and Celtic Music carry subtle sad undertones. The pubs are great places to meet people and chat. We met a couple from Saint Pierre and learned a lot about the French island from them.
People everywhere are very kind and friendly, but the population is surprisingly monochromatic. I searched for different ethnicities, but rarely found any. I am used to seeing people from all over the world in Toronto and Ottawa, but I didn’t get a sense of much diversity there.
And the birds of Cape St. Mary’s: I talked about it in my last blog, and I urge you to see them because it is a sight to remember. Be careful if you have a fear of the birds though: they look equally amazing and scary (I did watch Hitchcock’s film). The other thing is the weather: pick a good, clear, calm day to go. It is no fun walking with the wind pushing you at 90 km/h. I had only one day to see it; so I took my chances, but make sure you have enough time not to be forced to go in a “bad” day.
Well, that is it for now. I admit that in my first visit, so far the only one, I did have my camera with me, and I couldn’t resist making an attempt to grasp something of what I saw, how I felt. But I know that next time my camera stays home.
Photo: Ferryland Lighthouse, Newfoundland