I know, I know.
Before you pop a vein and shout “Lord Tunderin Jesus! Someone get this b’y a map!” let me just say I know Newfoundland is NOT a part of Europe – but it could be, or at least a country of its own. I only say this based on the fact that it is so completely and uniquely different from the rest of Canada or North America for that matter. From its rugged coastlines to its interesting dialect of English, there is just no place like it.
But why is Newfoundland one of my favorite places in Europe?
After taking 9 months or so off work to travel I returned to co-workers, friends, and family. All of them asking the same questions – one of which, “What was your favourite place in Europe?” I always reply, “Newfoundland.” This, understandably, leaves my co-worker, friend, or family member with a confused look on their face. I spent the majority of my time away backpacking across Europe however on my way back I took some time to visit eastern Canada, a place I always wanted to see. It was a blast. Even though my time in Europe was amazing, Newfoundland provided some of my fondest and craziest memories. This left me with no choice but to declare it one of my favourite stops.
So What made this rock in the Atlantic stand out so much for me? It could have been the fact that I spent my days exploring on my own or nights partying with friends. It could have been the euphoric moments hiking along the rugged coast outside of Trinity. Or the spontaneity of flying my girlfriend out for a weekend just to share the moments with her. Essentially these awesome experiences can be accredited to the following:
From the bed and breakfasts hosts in Bonavista to the world’s friendliest hostel owner in St.Johns to the women working the coffee shop in Gander who called me “hun,” the people I met were incredibly friendly, funny, and knew how to enjoy life. Having just returned from Europe, this was a welcomed change. Maybe I was put off by the homeless guy that sucker punched me in France or by the overly thorough customs agent in Finland. Maybe those experiences made Newfoundland that much more inviting. Or maybe Newfies are just genuine and down to earth people. And then there are the women. I was instructed by my brother to go to Gander as the women there, as he put it, are gorgeous.
Even though I was a little letdown and had to drive through a hurricane to get there, I did find Newfoundland women in general very attractive and very plentiful. How can they not be as historically the men are working out of town – fishing offshore or more recently working the rigs in Fort.McMurray Alberta, Newfoundland’s second-largest city. Either way, it was evident for Shaun.
Newfies know how to work hard and party harder. I spent many drunken nights on George Street in St.John’s hopping from bar to bar with a drink in hand. This is a big deal as open liquor laws are quite stringent in the rest of Canada. It was the first week of college so the street was particularly lively and there were bands playing every bar and on stages set up on the street. I seriously haven’t seen that many great bands in one night which says a lot as I have been to many cities, festivals, and venues since then. And then there was dancing on bars and getting “screeched in” – a welcoming ceremony that involves a local rum (moonshine) and kissing a cod (or a puffins “ars.”) Newfoundland is a great place to let loose, to say the least.
I spent a few days touring the countryside of Newfoundland and was utterly taken back by the beauty. I drove from cosy coastal villages to tundra-like plains – dodging “Newfie Speed bumps” along the way. How can you not love a place where Moose outnumber men? I visited picturesque lighthouses, watched puffins perch or rocky cliffs, and went on several amazing hikes. On one hike in particular I reached a peak overlooking a rocky and rugged coast and just stood there taking it all in. I felt incredibly liberated and at peace. I let out a satisfying sigh and as I thought about how that moment could not be any better I was pushed back by a rush of air from a soaring bald eagle. His massive wingspan came within a couple of feet of my face. It was an incredible moment and something that I will remember forever.
Newfoundland is also home to Gros Morne National Park, a world heritage site, and the second-largest national park in eastern Canada. This park is known for its fjords, incredible hikes, and colourful fishing villages. I had intentions of visiting this park but a passing hurricane soaked that plan. No worries, Newfoundland I will return.
Thank you Mark Barry for sharing your Dildo picture.
Newfoundland is on my list..not because of Dildo though!
Good to hear!
We are a different bread that’s for sure! Thanks for the kind words about my home! Would love to show you around if you ever come back.
I love the ROCK! Have you been there for the George St. festival?? So much fun.
I haven’t but need to for sure! I was there right before college started up so they shut down the street similar to George St. festival. Smaller scale but got an idea of the madness!
I clicked on this just because of the error in your title. I do get what you are saying and that is just from meeting a few Newfies and not actually ever setting foot in Newfoundland. I will have to check it out. From where you have been in Europe and for you to make that statement, it must be great!
Ha I was hopping to get a few people in that way!
Im gonna need to check out George Street by the sounds of it. I just youtubed some clips…looks like good fun!
I wasn’t there for the George street festival so am hoping to go back for it as well as heading to Gros Morne park.
Never would have thought about going here. Maybe I will add it to my trip list for this summer! Going to be in Montreal so probably not to hard to get to from there.
It is such a great spot. Can’t recommend enough. Montreal is great to! Don’t forget to Shwartz!
Loved this article! Yes we are a different bread of people who love life work hard and party even harder. Would love to invite you to a shed party the next time you visit.
Deanne, that would be amazing and am going to hold you to it when I return!
Great article Shaun! Now you are making me homesick lol…but you gotta check out the George Street Festival next time 🙂 So much more to see and do there as well….glad you had the opportunity to check it out!
Cheers Melissa! The George Street Festival has made the list. I was there just after when the university was starting up and it was pretty crazy. Can’t imagine what the festival would be like!
Love when I come across articles like these about Newfoundland. Growing up and living here for 21 years kind of makes you take it for granted. It’s nice to hear what people think of it through fresh eyes.
Cheers Jennifer! You definitely live in a unique and wonderful place!
I’m glad you enjoyed your time here Shaun and i hope you get back again….but could you please stop using the term ‘Newfie’. It is a derogatory and insulting term that was first used by the Americans in WW2 to describe the stupid natives in Newfoundland. It is not a term of endearment – it is a term and a notion that we have battled for far too many years. For proud Newfoundlanders it is truly the ‘N’ word. And hey – I’ll be the first one to have you over for a drink of rum. Just stop using that awful word. Kind regards!
I second that comment. Yes, some Newfoundlanders smile sweetly or say no biggee to that term (often because they dont want to rock the boat) but the history of the word Newfie is derogatory in the extreme. I and a great many others would appreciate your support as a newcomer to Newfoundland, to drop the term. Why cause insult to so many when you clearly love the place. I’ve lived and travelled in over 50 countries and never felt true discrimination until called that regularly in another part of this country (and it wasn’t meant as an endearment).
Hello Lorna and heather! Thanks for your comments and for bringing this to my attention.
I have to say this is the first I am hearing of this. I grew up in a mining town with a large population of Newfoundlanders. Some of my closest friends are from Newfoundland, all of which joked about “Newfies” and so I have always taken this as a term of endearment. This had always left me with the sense of Newfoundlanders being able to joke about themselves and their home. This was echoed on my visit to Newfoundland – although I can’t say I remember hearing the term there.
Upon reading about the term more I have found that reactions are indeed mixed. I would love to hear others thoughts on this!
What say you? Do you find “Newfie” offensive of fun loving?
Till then I will absolutely stop using the word and I look forward to that rum!
Hey Shaun – I don’t know if I’d use the term offensive in this case. To me – offensive is when someone knowingly uses a term that is insulting or demeaning to another. I know in your case you’d never knowingly insult your newfound friends. In truth, most people don’t know the history of the term.
For me it’s about education. I can’t stand people who look for something to be offended at and I don’t want to be one of them!! In that light, there’s no need to get angry at someone over it. Generally I just tell people the history of it and ask them to think about it not using it. That’s all.
Totally agree and thanks for letting me know!
Not offensive! I’m a Newfie, and proud of it!
Newfie is Definitely not a bad term!!! Most Newfoundlander’s are proud Newfie’s.. So glad you enjoyed your time here in picturesque Newfoundland. It was so nice to read you article. It was wonderfully written. Come again!!!
Thanks for the confirmation and kind words Jennifer! I truly loved my time there and am happy to say that I will be returning this fall! Can’t. Wait.
Re: the term ‘Newfie”. It really depends on the way it’s used in a sentence now doesn’t it. It can be used as a term of endearment or it can be used as an insult. My advice for those who don’t want to hear it leave anyones lips is to lighten up a little. Nowadays it’s rarely used in a derogatory sense and I rather like the term of endearment 😉 Thank you for loving our beautiful province Shaun!
Cheers and good to hear!
Hey Shaun, just read your article. I am from NL but currently live in NB and I refer to People from NL Newfies as I am one myself and I do not personally know anyone that would take offence to that in this day and age! I am glad you enjoyed my home province! I am in fact taking my family back next week to enjoy the Newfie hospitality and nature!
We only joined Canada in 1949 and some think we should have stayed part of Europe but that’s another story:)
Thank you for writing about us!
Thanks Amy! That seems to be the consensus so good to hear!
Love your home province and can’t wait to return. Also, NB and PEI are the only provinces and territories in Canada that I have yet to visit. Probably time to head east again!