Gros Morne[/caption]

The WORLD can’t weigh you down when you’re standing ON TOP of it.”
There’s a saying in Newfoundland, “The world can’t weigh you down when you’re standing on top of it,” and a visit to this surreal landscape of steep fjords, ‘crinkle-cut’ coastlines and undeniable wilderness cannot help but elevate and inspire. Iceberg Alley, the most exhilarating of all, is a coastal thoroughfare from Labrador in the north to the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland’s south, where each year from spring to late summer, enormous bergs, broken off from the Arctic, float down the coastline, drifting in close to tiny ports and coves, and dwarfing the town-scapes. Lodging across the province ranges from modest seaside B&Bs, to the ultra-chic architectural masterpiece of Fogo Island Inn, and in between are ‘Canadian Signature Experiences’ – once in a lifetime gems designated by the Canadian Tourism Commission that will leave you breathless. At Quirpon Island (pron. kar-poon) for example, visitors stay in a working lightkeeper’s island station in Iceberg Alley, and spot for whales, ‘bergs and birdlife along quiet, windswept trails, by zodiac, or perched high in a glass-wrapped clapboard shack with a beverage in hand. Newfoundlanders are known as Canada’s friendliest, happiest and most hospitable people – a title undisputed by those who passed through Gander on that fateful day, 11 September, 2001. The tiny community is the centre of 9/11’s most heart-warming story of human spirit and hospitality, when they played host to thousands of stranded passengers while USA Airspace was closed. [caption id="attachment_11452" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Brigus White House, Avalon. Photo by Canadian Tourism Commission.[/caption] At the convergence of Irish, Scottish, English, French and indigenous cultures, Newfoundland is a feel-good place, where having a good time comes easy – too easy, perhaps. There are more pubs per capita here than anywhere in Canada, yet moose and caribou outnumber human residents, so you’ll only share your brews and panoramic views with a few. Any visitor is sure to find themselves drawn in to a lively ‘Kitchen Party’, where infectious fiddling, a simple meal of cod and potatoes, and dancing is the order of the evening. Or there is the newcomer’s rite of passage of being ‘screeched in’, which involves dropping to one knee, kissing a cod, swearing an oath of allegiance, and sinking a shot of screech (local rum). And if the entertainment isn’t enough to raise a smile, the creative village names and dialect just might. Delightful quirks of speech are everywhere, and ‘Come From Aways’ (visitors) can’t resist stopping in on Heart’s Desire, Leading Tickles and Middlefart, or when someone delivers with a large smile, “Long may your jib draw”, it is most certainly a hearty, good wish for the future. As locals like to say, it’s ‘not a bad bit nice’ – simply meaning, Newfoundland is beautiful in every way.

Small Group Journeys is a collection of bespoke worldwide adventures, cruises and tours designed and escorted by Jacinta Blundell. Follow Jacinta in Profile each month as she takes you beyond the tourist trail. Make an appointment to see one of helloworld’s Canadian specialists today or visit smallgroupjourneys.com

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