Discovering Newfoundland has brought me a new-found love for snow and for the particular lifestyle such climate demands. The numerous layers we're constantly applying and stripping off has grown comical. Running out to the truck requires more time to become appropriately dressed than it does to make it across the street and back.
Still, I can't help but be entranced by the beauty of all the glistening snow. My first day in St. Johns, the streets were blanketed in such white perfection I didn't want to stomp my boots in and disrupt the tranquility. There's something so romantic about the sheets of snow atop buildings, icicles gleaming off window sills and street signs. It makes even a trip to the grocery store enchanting.
To call Newfoundland quaint is an understatement boarding on injustice. There is so much charm and personality in every detail of this place; I cannot soak enough of it in at once. So far we've hiked to Signal Hill, reaching the scene of the final battle of the Seven Years War, historic and providing breath taking views above the frosted city and across the Atlantic.
We took a Valentine's Day drive down to Middle Cove Beach where I was taken aback by the juxtaposition of the crashing waves of the ocean against the snow-covered rock beach. My previous travel experiences have typically been segregated by beachfront and tropical, or snowy and mountainous, only once before (in Alaska) encountering a combination of the two. Including an icicle-laced waterfall the experience was truly magical.
Pieces of the culture I've particularly enjoyed include the hospitality and kindness of everyone we've come across thus far. To help you understand, one saying that tickles me is one that perfect strangers use for each other, and that is "me love." Employees at the checkout line, waiters and waitresses. Terms of endearment are shared freely amongst locals and visitors alike. A few other phrases including "me duckie" and "me darling," equally communicate affection and a sense of welcome for all. Similarly, James has taken to calling me "me ol' trout," much to my discontent.
James and I stopped by a local brewery, YellowBelly, where I sampled a flight of their in-house brews. I especially enjoy their red beer, something unique to the Irish influence. One facet of traveling with James that specifically linked us was our motivation to try local cuisine, no matter how obscure. At a restaurant near our home we were delighted to try what is called Cod Tongues. Not actually the tongue of the fish, but rather what is described as the "gelatinous flesh in the throat of a cod." Appetizing, right? Fried up and served to us with a tartar sauce it was actually quite good! A major lesson I've learned from dining in other countries is that it's the mental block you have to get past in order to enjoy some rare treats.
Other tidbits from our first few days together include a night at O'Reilly's pub, which gifted us with live Irish folk tunes and local stewards dancing along. Something I'd like to get brave enough to join in on at some point! We also took our first class at the yoga studio next door. With another 5 days ahead of us and many more trips to be made, I am looking forward to the myriad of experiences Newfoundland promises to offer.
I've added a number of pictures to the gallery that further illustrate our adventure thus far.