Newfoundland has nearly twice the land area of Great Britain, with a population in the hundreds of thousands. This means that the roads are empty and covering distances such as the first leg of our journey to Corner Brook which, although being around 300 miles, can be driven at a good average speed. The only hazards are potholes and, allegedly, Moose and Caribou although we had yet to see one. Petrol is cheaper than at home but the cars guzzle far more than at home. Other than that, we arrived in good time at the instantly forgettable town of Corner Brook.
Corner Brook lies in a ski area, the surrounding mountains festooned with ski lifts and runs. We had time to wander round and explore, returning to the equally forgettable hotel. The hotel restaurant, however, was slightly more interesting in its approach to staffing problems, although it might have been wiser to have shared this with us in advance. Their wheeze was to take the order and prepare it all at once, so saving time and effort..which is great until starters and main courses all arrive together, and one or both are rejected by the customers for quite understandable reasons!
The next day, heading through Stephenville Crossing and Stephenville, two of the more depressing towns on the island, probably due to the withdrawal of US bases over the past decade or so, we arrived on the peninsula of Port-au-Port, at the end of which, Cape St George, was our B&B for 3 nights, the Inn at the Cape. Owned by a retired ex-college lecturer who was extremely knowledgeable about the history of Newfoundland and proved to be a good source of information about the area.
One problem with B&B is the eternal conflict between the desires of guests and owners when it comes to the breakfast part. Whereas owners like to get it over with as quickly as possible, many guests prefer a more leisurely approach. Furthermore, the worst B&Bs want you to order the day before and although that is exactly what would happen if we were self-catering, that is simply barbaric in this day and age.
Our worst fears were realised when we were asked to order the night before, for the latest possible time of 9am. Then we were asked again. And later on, the owner’s wife knocked on our door to ask again….
That evening we made our way to the headland and watched what we thought could be Fin whales feeding just off the coast. It was time to do some serious whale-watching homework in preparation for the next day.