You must login to vote
I began my day with the best intentions and headed down the road to Bonavista where Iím told there are Puffins and other points of interest. I can honestly say I donít dislike Puffins but donít have them on my must see list. The weather which had been dreary when I left Clarenville went downhill each mile I drove. About 20 miles into my trip it was raining hard which means pools of water on the road which Iíd dealt with on the 6th when I had to. I didnít have to go to Bonavista so I turned around and headed back to Clarenville where I took in some pitiful shopping in stores that werenít geared to tourists. Clarenville isnít a tourist town near as I can figure out but it is a fair size and I could have taken in the mechanical bull at one of the livelier establishments but chose to bypass that thrill until Iím in Montana or maybe Texas. Thereís a university in town from what I garnered from the signs but checking out a campus isnít on my hit parade. So, I went back to the Inn for another do nothing day. This is a new practice for me. Usually Iím burning up the miles to cover as much ground as possible while seeing a whole lot of scenery passing by in a blur. Not so much any more. I figure thereís no point in trying to take in the sights when itís pouring with rain or blurry with fog. I have another fabulous meal at the Inn and another rum & coke to celebrate the fact Iím not driving anywhere. I call ahead to book two nights at Rosedale Manor B&B and have a chat with Linda who gives me detailed instructions on what I am to do when I arrive in Platentia. I fret about whether Iím going to either forget what she said or miss Phillips Cafe completely even though she assures me that would be impossible.
Itís a bit dreary when I leave Clarenville but as I head south the blue sky begins to break and by the time I hit the Placentia turn off itís a sunny day. My first since I landed in Newfoundland on May 30th! Itís not much warmer but my mood lightens as the ocean turns that vivid blue that sunny skies create. Beautiful! I head down to Argentia Bay where the ferry sails to Nova Scotia just to have a look see. Thereís nothing much there but itís gorgeous anyhow. The thing Iíve noticed about Newfoundland is that everything revolves around the harbour instead of the road. The road is pretty much an afterthought which makes total sense because thatís why those towns exist. Itís all about piers, harbours, tickles, bights, and so it goes. As someone from away and used to the road calling the shots itís been a bit of a culture shock. On the prairies it used to be the trains but the roads usually mirrored them but not so here in Newfoundland. I donít believe Iíve seen a train track since I arrived. Maybe they donít exist?
Well, a quick search finds the following rail history if you want some comic relief.
Newfoundland Railway Map
Iíd left Clarenville too early because itís not all that far to my destination but I remind myself Iím on holiday and not competing in a road rally. Once Iíve gone as far as I can legally go in Argentia I turn around and head back to the Placentia turn off. I scoot up to Castle Hill and take in the main building but wonít pay for the privilege of hiking on the trails. I have trouble with the idea of paying to partake in parks that my taxes pay for when I know I can go to almost any museum and art gallery in London for free. I think my government depends on us Canadians to meekly comply instead of kicking up a fuss.
Pondering on how compliant we consistently are I drive back down the hill and into Placentia which is an absolutely stunning looking place and sure enough Phillips Cafe is right where Linda said it would be and I would have had to be blind to miss the bright red two story building. I saunter in and get my complimentary coffee and baked item even though Iíd offered to pay for it. I admire the dashing pirate logo which is displayed everywhere. Linda appears and sheís moved here from Victoria which is just down the road from where I live. She and her husband bought the Rosedale Manor after staying there. They run the cafe too and itís quite a work load with two going concerns. She escorts me across the bridge and down the road to a beautiful two story house facing the narrows. Linda tells me she redid the front garden in a wild manner which I admire because sheís got a rock fountain trickle feature happening. While Iím thinking about it. Newfoundland is the 3rd ROCK Iíve visited. First was Alcatraz, 2nd was Gibraltar and now Iíve finally set foot on the one that Canada boasts. Newfoundland certainly is the largest of the three and it is somewhere I must return to and soon. Thereís quite a bit I still need to see during clement weather.
When I was driving down the road today I thought about the photo Gus had showed me of Cod drying racks where fish were laid out for hundreds of yards and the photo had to be stitched together to capture the entire scene. Gus told me that would be the haul from one boat in the days when they still fished the cod. I hasten to add that Newfoundlanders would still be doing this if not for factory boats from home and far away which depleted the cod stocks profoundly and to this day thereís not much cod fishing being done off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. That disaster happened twenty years ago so I was told by CBC radio this morning. I remember when this happened and acknowledge the same could happen to the Pacific salmon stock whoís movements are a mystery once they reach the ocean until they return to spawn. Our department of fisheries were doing the gloom and doom dance about stocks until the sockeye bonanza in 2010 where their estimates were out by millions.
2010 Sockeye Run Newfoundland is governed by the same fisheries bureaucrats as we are on the west coast because itís a national entity. This makes me feel connected even though Iíve never made my living off the ocean. I admire them for their hardiness and think about my grandson out fishing for Alaskan cod for the first time this year. Perhaps thatís another subliminal reason I chose to visit Newfoundland this year.
I think about these things as I walk along-side the narrows where the tide rips through on this beautiful day that Iíve got time to take in the sights on foot. Placentia Bay is nothing like Twillingate. It appears more idyllic but perhaps thatís down to the kind of day it is or maybe itís because the accent I hear is my own. Iím not so silly as to believe I donít have an accent because I can see the people here hone in on me the minute I begin to speak.
"Tigers bloom where there's oodles of room." Zodiac Zoo