Farewell, Newfoundland

Tuesday was our last day in Newfoundland and we had long way to drive from L’Anse aux Meadows to Deer Lake. The drive takes about five hours from door-to-door, which back home would seem like a fool’s errand, but here, after doing so much driving, seems like a run down the road. This must be what people who live in the Outback think about driving.

We woke up at a reasonable time, half waking soon after the sun rose because people don’t believe in block-out curtains in Newfoundland apparently. There was a venetian blind on the window above the bed, but this did diddly squat in keeping the full burning might of the sun out of the room.

We finished off a box of Rice Krispies for breakfast and the most of the rest of the milk, which Glen had bought the night before. We packed up and were on the road some time around 8:30, and set off for St Anthony’s. 

St Anthony’s is even further north that L’Anse aux Meadows so just going there was a bit of an achievement because it’s closer to the tip of Newfoundland. Glen wanted to go because he’d been recommended to visit the Grenfell museum.

Sir Grenfell was a doctor in the 19th century who came over from England to Labrador on a religious mission. He was so appalled by the living conditions of the people in this part of the world that he stayed here as the doctor but then later as head of an organisation which built hospitals, orphanages, schools and did a bunch of other good things for the community. He’s a bit of a hero up here.

We went to the Museum first, watched a film about his life, read the interpretive panels, and then went to the house he and his wife and four children lived in. It’s behind the hospital. It’s a beautiful old style house that would have been freezing in the winter. It’s a ‘living museum’ so it is set up how it would have looked when they lived there, complete with a polar bear rug on the floor.

We checked out the old things, heard a bit from the museum guide, and then beat a hasty retreat as we had to get to Deer Lake by 5:30 to meet Tim and Vaughan.

The weather was perfect again so we had beautiful views out across the sea towards Labrador, and then when coming into Gros Morne. We stopped about halfway to visit Port aux Choix, which is another national park site where four Aboriginal groups lived/visited over thousands of years. It may have been a good place for them to land but it’s not very pretty. I’d go so far as to say it’s desolate.

Glen with a giant milkshake at Anchor Cafe
Glen with a giant milkshake at Anchor Cafe

We stopped in at the visitor centre for a little while, watched a video, read the panels, and then went for lunch in the town at the Anchor Cafe. The food was pretty good.

Glen drove most of the rest of the way to Deer Lake, with us stopping at a few locations along the way to take our final few photos. Glen and I talked about whether we’d come back, and while I’ve got no burning desire to return immediately, I could see myself visiting again, probably spending more time in Gros Morne to do some hikes, and do a bunch of other things. Whale watching and iceberg hunting would be on the list too.

We arrived at Deer Lake on tie, returned the car and waited for Tim and Vaughan to get there from Corner Brook. We then went for dinner at Mary Brown’s, a fried chicken fast food place that wasn’t as awful as it sounded. It’s probably one of the better places to eat in Deer Lake. Glen and Vaughan mostly talked shop but it wasn’t too bad. We bought ice creams from the service station and ate them on a bench outside Mary Brown’s. It’s nice to have friends around the world.

They then dropped us back at Deer Lake airport and Glen and I went through security. Our flight is delayed ten minutes, though hopefully only ten minutes. I’m looking forward to being home and getting back into a routine for a little while. I have some work on, plus a book deadline which I don’t think I’ll make.

I’ll probably get to the middle of the month and be itching to go on holiday again.

I still have to find a moose.

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