Thursday, August 4, 2011

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation.

1.  We attended the Great Fogo Island Punt Race to There and Back.

2. We ate fish.

3. We ate more fish.

4. We went to Ches's Fish & Chips, ate even more fish and washed it down with Pepsi.

Side note: Newfoundlanders must have the highest rate of Pepsi consumption per capita in the world. My mom attributes this to Coca-Cola not being available on the island for a long time. By the time it arrived, Pepsi had cornered the market. My Orange Crush-loving sons were in seventh heaven since Crush is bottled and distributed by Pepsi.  Since returning home I've imposed an indefinite Orange Crush moratorium because they drank so much of it.

5. We regretted not bringing toques.

As a general follow-up to my earlier post, I will mention that we did pack very well.  But at least twice I wanted a toque. And I could have packed one less pair of pants, but one extra pair of shorts. The weather was wildly variable from day to day.

6. We rented a swanky RV and went glamping (translation: glamourous camping). My husband might as well just sell our 1988 tent trailer RIGHT NOW. There is no going back.

7. We fed ducks in Quidi Vidi Pond. This was -- I kid you not -- the highlight of the trip for my boys.

Other things they loved: going for a ride in my uncle's fully restored, classic Mini Cooper (and they rode in the front seat!), whale watching, playing Wii games at my aunt's house, drinking Orange Crush (but dry heaving when they tasted Pineapple Crush), hunting frogs in roadside bogs, the swanky RV, seeing puffins, and petting cats on the streets of St. John's (cats wandering free initially freaked them out. Up here a cat that is outside usually winds up being eaten by a coyote).

8. While wandering downtown St. John's we met Lynda Boyd. She plays "Rose" on The Republic of Doyle.

(My 9 year old was walking past the computer, saw this photo and said, "I remember that lady. You should post a picture of her dog. Milo was very cute." And when I confessed to not taking Milo's photo, he shook his head in disgust and wandered off.)

10. We went whale watching.

Here is my unpaid, unsolicited corporate endorsement: you should check out Colbert's Puffin & Whale Tours. They're based out of Bauline East (about an hour south of St John's). They're a small outfit, with great rates, and flexible tour schedules. We saw a million birds at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, and got close to a pair of humpback whales.

11. My sons and husband got to meet my Nanny and Grandad and assorted relations. And vice versa. As my mother noted: Mr Wrath is a very good sport.

12. My husband attended a classic Newfoundland Kitchen Party. In a saltbox house. In an outport!

As an aside, I went to bed.  To the best of my knowledge, no one's ever called me a good sport.

13. We attended a family reunion on the small island where my dad was raised:

14. We hung out with Russell Crowe. Okay, we totally did NOT do this. But Russell was in St. John's at the same time we were (he's filming an episode of Republic of Doyle and his missus is putting on a few shows at the LSPU Hall). Alas we didn't see him -- probably because we spent all our time at Quidi Vidi feeding the bloody ducks.

15. I visited various ancestral homes. This is one on Fogo:

And one in St. John's.
The turquoise building on the left use to belong to my great grandmother. Once upon a time one of the neighbours had a monkey as a pet. I stupidly shared this anecdote with my sons who now steadfastly cling to the idea that pet monkeys are common in St. John's.

16. We looked at jellyfish:

17. We inspected carnivorous plants:

The pitcher plant is the official flower of Newfoundland and Labrador. Newfoundland: home to meat eating plants AND pet monkeys. My kids did not want to come home.

18. We survived the St. John's Haunted Hike. It was great -- well worth the money.

19. We survived the trip home. I was kinda of taking this point for granted until the last leg of our journey on Sunday. We flew Westjet from Vancouver to Prince George and back again! Got off, waited several hours for a new FULLY FUNCTIONAL WESTJET plane to arrive from Calgary and then FINALLY flew to Prince George and (SHOCKINGLY ENOUGH!!) managed to land. Of course this meant my husband and I (already jet lagged) were too exhausted to safely drive the 200+ kilometers home. Spending $120 hotel room made me think that the $10 meal voucher comped by WestJet was kinda stingy.

20. My brain is now programmed to do everything half an hour later. Silly time zones.


  1. You saw puffins! Squeeee! Sounds like you had a great time. Did Mr "Come From Away" Wrath drink screech at the kitchen party? Just wondering.

    Now I want to go to Nfld. But I will definitely pack a toque!

  2. Sounds like a truly awesome vacation. Glad you survived it all ;)

  3. I love Rose! And I'm with the boys on Pineapple Crush - who the eff thought THAT was a good idea? Eve's favourite part of our trip out east was the dead fish she found when the tide went out. Great pictures!

  4. What a great holiday! Now you've got me hankering to visit Newfoundland. Bummer about the flight dramas on the way home, though.

  5. You made it back! The photos are great and it sounds like you had an amazing trip. The flight home sounds awful though, the boys must have been real troopers.

  6. Wow it looks like a great trip. And you took some really beautiful photos. Being raised on a small island sounds like a wonderful thing to do and a starting point for a nice piece of chick-lit. You should get going on that. :-)