Category Archives: Road Trip

Shit I Learned In Cornwall

For the bank holiday weekend, my friends and I hired a car and drove west to Cornwall for the weekend. I never actually thought that I would make it down that way however I am excited to say that we had an amazing time. And of course, because it is what I do, I learned some interesting shit. So here is the shit that I learned in Cornwall…..

The fabulous Cornish Pasty

Pasty’s were invented in Cornwall as a useful way for the miners that were working on the west coast to carry a hot meal with them that was filling. The pastry would act as an insulator for the hot meat and potato filling to keep it warm for a few hours. The crinkle part of the pasty was made so that the miners had a part of the pastry to hold and eat the hot contents from. Given that the miners would have trace elements of heavy metals and arsenic on their hands, they would throw this part away and not eat it. It was designed as a place to hold to eat and not for eating. Speaking also of pasty’s, we ate so many of them. The best ones are from Philp’s.

Munching down on a pasty outside Philp’s

When I grow up I am going to become a 70 year old nana in a choir

Whilst down in Cornwall we went to visit the Minack Theatre which is a giant, Roman style amphitheatre that was created by one woman in and around world war 2. There was a choir of 70 year olds there preparing for their performance that night. I will never forget the dancing of the people and the grooving of the nana’s as they sang Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’. I have decided that this is what I want to do.

Chilling out watching the choir rehearse with stunning ocean views at the Minack

I’m clearly out of touch

Whilst driving down the road I spent a lot of time listening to the radio. I had no idea about any of the songs on the radio. So I learned the words to loads of those. Not only that, but I also learned a few other words of interesting definition:

Kleptopenia – a person who picks up other people’s pens and walks off with them. This is me. I have kleptopenia. Pens fucking everywhere.

Neglext – the art of ignoring the person you are supposed to be chatting with because you are too busy sending text messages to someone else.

Voluntold – when you get told you are volunteering for something but it isn’t really volunteering, it is more like being told.

Marconi tested his radio’s at Lizard Point.

Nuff said really. Pretty damn cool.

The coastline at Lizard Point

My home town was named after a place in Cornwall.

I grew up in a town called Launceston. We pronounced it ‘Lon-ces-ton’. The Cornish folk like to call it ‘Lawns-ton’. Their Launceston has a castle on a hill for a view. We have Myer 7th floor. They have a river Tamar. We have one too. They have a Tamar Bridge. We have a Batman Bridge that goes over the Tamar. We both have town halls, but theirs is older and cooler looking as it has medieval style. I am quite impressed with all of this. Our Launceston is bigger, but they are still both quite pretty towns.

You can call me the Queen of the Castle, the Launceston Castle!

Cornish Seagulls are HUGE

I mean seriously huge. They look like no neck rugby players of the gull world and the greedy fuckers sit around and glare at you while you eat. One said gull even tried to rip the  wing off of another gull in our presence and there was blood and gore everywhere. But luckily not on my pasty.

People walking from one end of the UK to the other is more common than one would think.

The route from Land’s End in Cornwall to Dan O’Groot’s in northern Scotland has been walked by quite a large number of people. Considering that this is 947 miles this is a huge achievement and one I think I will pass.

The Land’s End sign at the eastern most point of England.

Cornwall is such a stunningly beautiful place to visit with so much to see and do. You will need way more than the three days that we had to navigate our way around and see everything. Honestly you would probably need a couple of weeks. Just get fuelled up and away you go!

 

 

Canada By Car: Leg 8 – Go West!

My trip East lasted a good three months, but my venture west lasted no longer than 9 days of speedy travelling. I got a relocate a car through a website http://www.hittheroad.ca and had to relocate it from Montreal to Vancouver.

I first picked up the car, drove it back to Toronto to collect my piles of junk that I needed to transport across the country. From Toronto I advertised for a ride share and picked up a guy, Andrew to drive up north to Sault Ste. Marie. It was a long drive, but we got there eventually and Andrew was kind enough to offer me a bed at his house given that I was planning on camping outside and it was raining. We went out for dinner and he showed me around ‘the Soo’ before getting a good nights rest and hitting the road again.

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The Wawa Goose

The second day on the road was sheer craziness. I stopped through Pancake Bay, hiked through the Lake Superior Provincial Park and viewed the petroglyphs left by the natives. Of course heading through up into the far reaches of Ontario, it wouldn’t be complete without a stop to visit the Wawa Goose and the hometown of Winnie the Pooh in White River.

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Winnie the Pooh in his hometown of White River

I managed to push on and get to Thunder Bay for the evening staying in a small hostel. Along the way I stopped off and paid my respects to Terry Fox at his highway marker where he ended his massive run across Canada to help raise money for cancer, the same disease that eventually took his life after it took his leg. I also went to the giant Terry Fox statue that overlooks the highway overpass and was quite moved by how inspirational he was as a person.

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The Terry Fox Memorial. Incredibly moving story.

Day three and we are on to Winnipeg. Getting out of Ontario literally takes forever and I never thought I would get there but eventually we see the sign ‘Welcome to Manitoba’. It rained for majority of the way and was still raining when I got to Winnipeg. I walked around the town center for a little while before calling it a night.

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The stunning views driving across the Canadian Praries

The next leg was from Winnipeg through to Regina where I was fortunate enough to catch up with some friends that I hadn’t seen in five years that I met while travelling New Zealand. I went out with them and a few of their friends for dinner in downtown Regina and it was a heap of fun.

On next to Calgary. But not before stopping along the way at the famous town of Moose Jaw to do a couple of the underground tours through the tunnels where Al Capone used to smuggle his alcohol during the prohibition. The tunnels are also where the Chinese used to live after the construction of the Canadian Railway lines from east to west as the locals did not treat the Chinese very fairly and most of them couldn’t afford their passage home after the head tax that the government imposed and the poor wages. It was a super interesting historical site and one of my favourite across Canada.

Eventually I arrived in Calgary which was to become my home at a later date so I spent some time getting to know her as a city for a day or so before heading on to the amazing town of Banff, nestled in the Banff National Park. After doing the Sulfur Mountain hike, I had dinner at the Spaghetti Factory and then crashed out.

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Incredible views from the top of Sulfur Mountain

The drive through the stunning Rocky Mountains was incredible and hands down the most amazing drive I have ever done. As I continued on, I stopped at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake to check out these most stunning picturesque lakes that form the postcards that you see most of Banff.

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Lake Louise

I continued to drive through the Yoho and Glacier National Park and then on to the Okanagan region to Kelowna where I stopped off for the evening. The region was beautiful and I got to go for a walk and check out the stunning views over the city before getting my last good sleep in before heading to Vancouver.

On the drive the next day to Vancouver, I decided to make a call and try and book into my accommodation. Unfortunately for me I had come to the realization that with a Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z concert all on in one night that accommodation in Vancouver was fairly booked out. After a meltdown and lots of phonecalls, I finally got lucky with a cancellation and found a place to crash for the evening. I dropped off my bags, delivered the car to the woman who I drove it for and set off on my way back to the hostel. I have gone from the eastern most point of Canada to here so far. It was time to make it as far west as I could. It was time to go to Vancouver Island.

For Vancouver Island adventures, check out my next blog!

Canada by Car: Leg 7 – Nova Scotia to Home

Spent the morning walking around Lunenburg discovering the town and then headed over to go and see the famous Canadian boat the Bluenose before jumping back into the car and driving to Hunt’s Point for the evening to camp upon its serene beaches.

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Replica of the famous Bluenose

The next day it was on to the Kejimkujik Seaside National Park to walk along the white sand beaches. It had still been raining quite heavily and it was getting quite tiring. We drove on to Yarmouth and for the first time in nearly 3 months checked into a hotel.

It was then onto the town of Digby, famous for its scallops and we bought a stack of them from the local fishermen and fried them up in the fry pan with a variety of different seasonings. We explored through the Digby Neck area and went to Long Island and Brier Island before moving on to Whale Cove to spend the night, narrowly avoiding yet another massive wind storm.

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Long Island

Next stop was the town of Annapolis Royal where we went to the Fort-Royal Historical Site for the day and stopped in to see the only tidal power generator in North America as the Bay of Fundy has some of the largest tides in the world. Spent the night camping in another part of the Kejimkujik National Park and woke up in the middle of the night with the wolves howling at a creepily close distance to our tent.

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Fort-Royale at Annapolis Royal

This was the last of Nova Scotia, and so we bid it a due as we set off towards the Prince Edward Island ferry for some time in the red dirt. There are a couple of things that you just can’t miss on PEI. Of course there is the famous Cows Creamery with a million different flavours and funny t-shirts, there is the Green Gables farm where the famous book Anne of Green Gables was set and going to get your very own PEI ‘dirt shirt’, which they dye with the rich red soil. We also stopped in and went to the theatre to see “Anne of Green Gables – The Musical” before calling our trip to PEI to an end.

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Green Gables

On the giant list of places to go that I had been crossing off diligently as we travelled around was the Fundy Geological Museum which had dinosaur fossils and other fossils that I was interested in going to visit. This is also coupled with a trip to the Joggins Fossil Cliffs which have millions of fossils scattered along the beach in majority of the stones. Some people make massive finds and they allow them to put their fossils in the museum with their names on it but unfortunately there is no way of taking fossils with you as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Petrified wood at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs

The last thing on the list of things to see was the Hopewell Rocks. We went that night when the tide over the Bay of Fundy was high, and then again in the morning and walked along the beach beside them. They were beautiful, but again as we were walking the thunderstorms were again rolling in. After all of the storms and being continuously wet, we decided to call it quits on the road trip and go home. After a full day of driving through the United States until 1am and then sleeping in the car in a carpark and then getting up and going again, we finally made it back to Canada. First stop Montreal, and then it was back to Toronto and back to reality. What an amazing trip! I can’t recommend seeing eastern Canada enough, it really is a spectacular place!

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Hopewell Rocks at low tide

If you enjoyed reading about Canada by Car heading east, check out in upcoming installments what happens when I decided to go west!

Canada By Car: Leg 6 – The Rest of Newfie and Beyond

After hours upon hours of driving we finally arrived at the L’anse Aux Meadows. When people say that Colombus was the first European to arrive, they are dead wrong. The vikings have history here from 1000AD and this is where you find it! I was super excited to kick of my learning session here with an evening storytelling session where people dress as viking characters and tell all of the tales about how the vikings lived and traveled here. All the while I sat sipping on appleberry cider which is just superb.

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The site of Nordic storytelling at L’anse Aux Meadows

 

After the storytelling we left the traditional viking hut and walked outside to the sunset to be confronted with my first ever male moose with his giant horns poking up into the sky. Wandering around behind him was mumma moose and baby moose. I saw five moose that day so I was pretty excited!

The following day we returned to the L’anse Aux Meadows site for a more historical look at the area. It left me with a very fine respect for the Norse people in actually managing to cross the Atlantic Ocean with such basic boats. It also made me want to go to Iceland… but anyway, after this we went to the Norstead site as well and got to see Snorri the famous viking boat.

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Being a viking! Rape, steal, pillage…..

And so we were off again in shocking weather this time bound for the Gros Morne National Park. Upon arrival, we set out on the Green Gardens Trail for an overnight campsite. I must say that it at the time was one of the hardest hikes I had ever done, falling over three times into prickle bushes on unsteady ground. Upon arriving at the campsite, it was so windy that it was a challenge to get the tent to stay where it was let alone erect it in ridiculously high winds. Eventually we succeeded… barely, and ended up having to put heavy rocks inside the tent in each corner to try and stop it from blowing away while we were in it and even this didn’t work the best.

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The tent blowing away at Green Gardens.

The following morning we packed out and made it across a couple of river crossings, minus a sock that I lost in the river and on to the Gros Morne Mountain trial to hike the big one. We started that and set up camp in the evening at the campsite ready to summit the mountain in the morning.

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Gros Morne summit, 806m!

And so morning came, bringing with it more horrific rain. We got up, hurriedly summitted the 806m mountain and then proceeded to rapidly pack up camp and hike our way back to the carpark. People looked upon us strangely as we proceeded to take every single item of clothing off and get into the car in bra and undies with the heating jacked up to try and feel our bodies again.

That night after sitting at a laundromat for a couple of hours trying to dry everything, we caught the Newfoundland Ferry back to Cape Breton Island. Spent the day at the Louisbourg Fortification National Historical Site which was pretty interesting before getting our way to Halifax.

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Louisbourg Naional Historical Site

Halifax was an interesting time for me. While my significant other at the time was working, I had nothing much to do out in the sticks with the campground but I managed to make an agreement with the lady who ran the caravan park to do some gardening around the campground for our stay as her normal gardener had just had a hip replacement. One of the days after gardening I walked an hour each way to the Walmart and bought a set of knitting needles and a couple of balls of wool, thus beginning what would become my knitting obsession. Scarves, hats, I even attempted to make a blanket which eventually started falling apart because I am a horrendous sewer. I worked a promotions job for a couple of days also to make a little bit more money and on some of the days I got to go and visit different attractions around Halifax. And I also bought and cooked my first lobster over the campfire despite their protests!

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Protesting lobsters…. oh well, good times for me!

One of the biggest drawcards for me was the Titanic history. I went to visit the Titanic Museum and learned about Halifax’s role in the rescue and recovery. I also went to the graveyard where they buried many of the victims bodies that they recovered. It was incredibly sad, but great to visit too. As a part of this they also had information on the Halifax Explosion which I didn’t know much about at the time, but found very interesting.

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The site of buried Titanic passengers

Time in Halifax came to a close and we drove on to Peggy’s Cove and watched the waves there crashing upon the rocks. We stopped in the quaint town of Lunenburg to camp. The last leg of the Eastern Canada trip was about to begin.

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The lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove

For the last leg of the eastern Canada trip, stay tuned…

Canada By Car: Leg 5 Newfoundland East Coast

Our first pit stop out of Eastport was through to Cape St. Mary’s where we went to the bird sanctuary and marveled at the myriads of gannets hanging about on the cliff face. Then it was on to the major town of St. John’s. Went to go and visit Mistaken point along the way but didn’t realize that we were too late for the fossil tours though I did find a fossil on the ground that I cheekily took home with me.

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Gannets on the cliff face at Cape St. Mary’s

We spent the night down on the main street of St. John’s, George St. We danced through the Newfoundland pubs to traditional Newfie and Irish music before having a feast of street meat on the way home. During this evening we became aware of this thing that locals enforce upon tourists called getting ‘screeched in’. It involves singing some random Newfie song that nobody understands, kissing a cod and doing a shot of screech. We beared witness to quite a few people getting screeched in, however I was not up for the screech that day so I passed.

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George St, St. John’s

The next day was spent wandering around Signal Hill and playing pool in the Duke of Duckworth’s pub, recommended to us by a local for some special reason that we didn’t manage to figure out. And post this it was time to hit the road again.

Up to Conception Bay and then around to Trinity Bay, we stopped along at the most famous town of Newfoundland, the aptly named Dildo. I couldn’t stop giggling as I took photos of all things Dildo. I even wen and had my photo with the famous Captain Dildo with my hand inappropriately near his bits for shits and giggles. Went and drove through Cape Spear and then on to Charleton for the evening to camp.

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Hanging with Captain Dildo

Woke up the following morning surrounded by a moat as it had rained so heavily overnight that we were swimming in the tent. So after quickly packing up, we drove up to Cape Bonavista where John Cabot famously (and apparently) landed in  1497. There were stunning Inukshuk built across the entire landscape, a native Inuit symbol to point the way, and they were just beautiful. But given the weather being so horrid, we drove our way back to the farm for the evening.

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Inukshuk all over the hill at Cape Bonavista

I spent the next couple of days in the kitchen cutting zucchinis, cooking breakfasts and all meals for people. There were now 8 people staying on the farm and manning the kitchen had become somewhat of a full time job, but one that I really enjoyed. In the midst of this we took a well deserved day off to go and see the Terra Nova National Park and hiked along the Coastal Trail and the Blue Hill before it again started to rain.

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Views through the Terra Nova National Park

One of the days decreed a no work day we headed up out onto the point and between us collected about 6 pounds of chanterelle mushrooms that were worth quite a bit in the shops if you are to buy them but are in massive abundance in this area and nobody seems to pay too much attention. The mushrooms were spread out on the table as we brushed all of the dirt off them and cleaned them and then after we cooked them all in a pan with butter and ate the lot of them between us! Utterly delicious!

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Our 6 pound chanterelle mushroom haul

This was my last night I spent at the farm before heading off. We played ‘fetch the stone in the ocean’ with the confused dogs and collected some blueberries for the road before heading off onto the road and beyond in again, a giant thundercloud of heavy rain.

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Zeus trying to come with us

Check out the last of the Newfoundland adventures in the next installment! 

Canada By Car: Leg 4 – Living in Eastport

As we drove up the laneway to Eastport Organics there were people lounging about on the lawn after a hard days work. We met Jason, who owns and runs the farm and Meghan and Cuchulain who were staying on the farm and helping out. We went blueberry picking in the late afternoon in the abundant bushes down the road and cooked up an epic feast of local cod, fresh vegetables from the garden and cheesecake. Dinner was also served with good conversation which was awesome. I knew in the first couple of hours that I was going to enjoy staying here very much.

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The Glorious Eastport Organics 🙂

The next day was the first one getting to work. I planted two and a half rows of lettuce plants, picked some raspberries, and watered and weeded sections of the garden. Gardening is something that I have always enjoyed and I started to learn a few tricks of the trade here. Namely on the first day about compost tea that used compost and seaweed from the beach harvested and kept in a big drum of water that is used to water the garden so that it is full of nutrients. We ate kaplan fish sticks and scallops for dinner which was delicious. My back and hands hurt from the hard work but for the first time in a while my tiredness felt hard earned. I slept very well that night and was super relaxed.

On the farm lives quite a few animals that I quickly came to adore. There was Marley, the cheeky golden retriever, Kota, the black labrador, Zeus, the black and white cat and a couple of horses. We spent the morning hanging out with the animals and taking pictures with them. They are too cute. We had another new arrival on the farm in the form of a German girl, Wiebke. We weeded and watered for the afternoon, picked some blueberries and raspberries and then we cooked up and ate an epic feast of scallop and cod mornay with cheesecake for dessert.

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Chillin on the couch playing guitar with Marley

In the afternoon I watered, harvested zucchini and served customers. There were so many zucchini going about the place that I made stuffed zucchini for dinner. We sat and watched the fireworks over the property outside that they had down the road and then headed off to our first ever Newfoundland kitchen party.

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Stuffed zucchini for dinner, too many zucchinis….

Now I had not really heard too much about these before arriving in Newfoundland but apparently they are an institution and one that should not be missed. So down the road we went to Chad and Thea’s house where we all sat around in the kitchen eating fish and brews (a local dish traditional at Newfie kitchen parties) and playing musical instruments and singing. It was a heap of fun. I don’t know why more people don’t have kitchen parties to be honest.

The following day led us even further to living off the land. We spent the morning planting lettuce and picking raspberries before going mussel diving. The unfortunate thing about this was that there were too many jellyfish and not enough large mussels to make it worthwhile for dinner so we decided to come home with sea urchins instead. After harvesting the roe, also known as uni and a Japanese delicacy, from the middle we decided to make a pasta sauce with the uni for dinner. Adventurous… it kind of has a taste like lobster but with a really buttery type of texture. While it was good, we didn’t have enough uni.

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The sea urchins with the orange uni inside

After working the morning the following day, we got a visit from Chad and Thea at the farm. Chad was building a makeshift pizza oven on the beach from the clay and sand in the area and was curing it for the evening so we could go and have a pizza party. They were to bring the dough, we were to bring the vegetables. And so we went down and sat on the beach with beers and a guitar eating vegetable, uni and blueberry pizzas (not all together of course) and singing some tunes as we went. It was the most glorious day and I was starting to feel really at home in Eastport.

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The makeshift pizza oven on the beach

In the coming days the zucchini continued to get out of control and I spent my days harvesting and chopping zucchini into small pieces and putting them into bags to be frozen. I took Marley to the beach in the afternoon to play fetch and the defiant puppy decided that when I was done he wasn’t and ran away on me. I spent most of the afternoon chasing after him and trying to get him to come home. What a pain in the butt! But I still adored him anyway.

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More zucchinis….

My last day round one in Eastport was spent getting stung by a bee whilst hanging out washing and spending the rest of the day chopping zucchini. In the evening we drove down behind the new land that is being cleared to expand the farm and started up a giant bonfire with all of the scrap wood that was cleared. We sat around and cooked sausages on sticks and played guitar and sang songs. It was a lovely way to spend the evening and I was feeling more relaxed than ever. But it was again time to hit the road for a couple of days and see what the rest of Newfoundland had to offer in the south.

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Friends chilling on the beach playing music

To see what I got up to on my southern Newfoundland road trip, check back in next week!

Canada By Car: Leg 3 – Newfie Newfoundland Part 1

On little to no sleep after a shocking boat ride, we arrived in Newfoundland. My eyes widened as the beautifully stunning, rocky cliff faces and mountains appeared around us as we drove getting off the boat. We got as far as Corner Brook and spent the afternoon relaxing in the sun on the lawn with the locals and taking a nap.

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The stunning views driving off the boat at Port-aux-Basque, Newfoundland.

We continued on driving from here to Pasadena where we were looking for our campground. We got a little lost but in turning around in an old guys lane way we were greeted local style with a guy yelling at us to get out of his drive way or he would kill us and he was going inside to get his gun. Just a touch scary….

We drove the next day through to a place called Leading Tickes and camped on the most spectacular beach . There was black rock sand and mountains jolting out of the water. We sat and took it all in as we ate raspberry and apple pie for dessert and watched the sunset. Life doesn’t get much better. Except for with a crossword puzzle by the fire.

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The stunning black rock beach at Leading Tickles

The following day was off to Twillingate after a short hike up the mountain in the morning at Leading Tickles. We stopped in to see the giant whale skeleton and I was greeted by a man who had a lagerphone, a giant broom pole with bottle caps nailed to the side of it and a gumboot on the bottom. It is a makeshift musical instrument that they play by stomping the boot on the ground and hitting the broom stick with another smaller stick. We have them in Australia as well so the guy in the shop was super excited to pull one out and play it for me.

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The Newfie Lagerphone

We bought a cod for dinner from a local store and set up at the campground for dinner. Then we went off to go and watch the local entertainment for the evening, The Split Peas. The band consisted of 7 Newfie women and they were incredible as they went through a whole bunch of traditional folk songs from the area and some they had written themselves. They fed us with traditional toutons and partridge berry jam. I was singing songs for the next week afterwards I loved it that much.

I spent the morning talking to our Aussie camping neighbours. They managed to entice me over the fence with the jar of Vegemite they were sporting and we chatted about home things. It was nice to have that familiarity for a while. From here it was on to check out the Long Point Lighthouse before driving down to Eastport where we had arranged a work for stay for a week or so. Of course stopping off to have a crack at eating my first moose burger.

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Mmmm…. Moose burger!

I was excited as it was the first time I was going to be doing a work for stay and who knew what it would hold. Little did I know as I was driving up the laneway that it was going to be one of the most amazing adventures that I would have.

Check out my stay at Eastport Organics in the next installment!