Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Life got hectic, so I haven’t had a chance to blog about my trip to Newfoundland, Canada in August. It’s been almost three months — wow. Regardless I thought it’d be worth sharing a bit about it.
Newfoundland? Yeah. So. Many Americans of my generation have a shared experience of grandparents who served in or had other direct experiences of World War II. WWII was intense and surprisingly poetic, especially upon reflection — I think explaining and relating how you as an individual fit into this huge, overwhelming narrative became an important part of the identities of, especially, people who were young during that time. And as people such as my grandfather related their experiences of World War II, their stories became Stories that became cemented over time into legend. My grandfather on my mom’s side was stationed in Gander, Newfoundland during most of the War. And my mom and I have both heard stories of his time there for the the entirety of our lives, so the area has a bit of mythic significance, exaggerated somewhat by the remoteness of the place and the fact that (as far I know) know one I know has been anywhere near rural Newfoundland.
So my parents — Texans — took a trip up to Newfoundland for the first time a couple of years ago. Just to look around. Besides the grandfather connection, they also like remote places. Alaska. Kenya. Wilderness. And then they decided to buy a place to spend half of their year in (the Summer half). They got a place in Elliston, a hamlet of maybe thirty people out on the end of a peninsula up the east side of the island, just miles away from where John Cabot became the first Englishman to reach the New World in 1497. (St. John’s, the capitol and largest city in Newfoundland is the oldest English settlement in North America.) And not too far, actually, from Gander.
I got to go out August 16th through 21st. I stayed with my parents in St. John’s (above) on the first and last nights and in their place in Elliston over the weekend.
The bay in Elliston. My parents’ place is on the far coast a bit to the left on the waterfront. Apparently icebergs float along here until the late spring. Those buildings on the far left are downtown Elliston.
Foggy cliffs near where my parents live. Also home of a huge puffin population. Every summer Elliston has a Puffin Festival to celebrate these goofy little birds.
Puffin rock during a sunnier day. You can see puffins speckled about. This is, by the way, in the bay from the photo above.
One surprise about the area: Blueberries were everywhere. On the sides of trails. In the yard. By the road. Everywhere. My mom carried around a little container and grabs handfuls here and there which wound up in pancakes and cobblers.
My dad picked berries, as well.
This is an old boat (or replica) in Bonavista, where John Cabot landed.
Newfoundland is very rocky and craggy, not unlike Ireland or Iceland.
Above is a lighthouse at King’s Cove, on the north side of the penninsula. Below is a church in the same town.
I could go on. But I won’t.
For something interesting, read about the collapse of the cod fishing industry. It’s a good “tragedy of the commons” sort of story.
I'm Josh Knowles, a technology developer/consultant on a variety of mobile, social media, and gaming projects. I founded and lead Frescher-Southern, Ltd. I grew up in Austin, Texas and currently live in New York City.
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