|‘Canada begins here! …or ends, depending which way you’re going.’|
|Boardwalk at Cape Spear|
Before getting up to the lighthouse, we passed through a couple WWII bunkers that had originally been built there as a coastal defense battery. It was a strategic location during the Battle of the Atlantic because of the lighthouse’s proximity to convoy routes. They were pretty eerie, and inside the floors were slick with ice and the walls covered with graffiti.
|An icy passageway|
|It was a straight drop down to the water, about 50′|
|The new lighthouse|
The original lighthouse at Cape Spear was built in the 1830s and looked almost exactly like the one in Bonavista, but the working lighthouse that is active now was built in the 1950s. Interestingly, the lighthouse was tended by the same family, the Cantwells, for over 150 years. Unfortunately, the museum and buildings were closed since it’s still the off-season, but I would have liked to have learned more about it while I was there. (At least there’s always Google.)
|The light house.. doing what lighthouses do|
|Pretty wicked waves!|
|ok I’m FREEZING.|
After thoroughly freezing our buns off we headed back into town to warm up and relax for a few hours before evening.
|Cool view of town from the hill|
|This is poutine|
Before returning home however, we stopped into the Poutinerie, a fast food joint that serves Canada’s perhaps most famous greasy wonder: poutine. It sounds gross when you first hear about it, but believe me when I say it is the most delicious bad food you will ever eat. Poutine is basically just french fries with gravy and cheese curds. Yes, you will feel guilty after eating it, but it’s so worth it. Don’t judge, it’s amazing.
|Seal gods forgive me.|
After about 20 minutes in the oven, we cut into it to find something resembling a potpie with black meat and a distinct aroma of fish. We served it up, along with a bowl of soup, birch beer (kind of a fruity root beer), and a Nanaimo bar for dessert (another heaven-sent Canadian specialty).
My friend took a video of the first bite:
The first taste isn’t bad, but as soon as it hits the back of your tongue, the flavor is a force to be reckoned with. That’s some powerful stuff. It has a tender, weird chicken/tuna stringy texture, and an extremely fishy flavor. I managed to make it through a few bites, but after that I was all about the soup. At least now I can say I’ve eaten seal, and won’t have to worry about ever craving it!
After dinner we took off to the university radio station, where my friend records a weekly radio show. We had planned out the playlist over dinner, of course highlighting the music we’d heard in concert over the weekend, as well as some Alaskan and American favorites in the spirit of our friendship’s roots. It turned out to be a total blast, once I got over the awkwardness of talking into a microphone. The radio show was goofy and cheesy and extremely rough, but all in good fun.
If you dare, you can listen to the broadcast on SoundCloud here and hear to me embarrass myself multiple times on air. Hooray!
That pretty much wrapped up my whirlwind trip to Newfoundland. We played a couple games of Settles of Catan with my friend’s roommates late into the night, and finally went to bed for a few hours before my morning flight out the next day.
All I can say is, what a weekend! There was still so much more to see and do in Newfoundland, but I feel like I got a pretty good taste of the place and culture, food and music. I definitely want to go back one day, and especially see more of Canada now. Thank you a million times over to the good people of St. John’s and Bonavista who livened my journey throughout, and especially to my friend who let me crash on his floor and was a fantastic tour guide all weekend.
May we all soon meet again, and long may yer big jib draw!