More icebergs!

…so if you read the last post, you know that we went out in search of the behemoth iceberg today.  Good news, we saw it.  Bad news, it was pretty far off the coast and with the thick sea fog it was not possible to get a good photo :-/  BUT, we did stumble across another large iceberg not very far off the coast.


us with an iceberg

I know, my eyes are closed :-/ but it was the best photo we got today

Had a great time walking up the East Coast Trail north of Flatrock with the girls today.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but the sea fog was something else.  It’s amazing how quickly it rolls in, how thick it is, and how much it drops the temperature.  Once the fog rolls in you can’t wait to have your jacket on!  Fortunately we had some clear skies today, affording some lovely photos of and with an iceberg.



It’s always so nice to drive along the coast and take in the beautiful coastline here in Newfoundland.  Hopefully the weather continues to improve and we can make our way over to Trinity Bay in the next couple weeks to look for more.

iceberg north of Flatrock

Iceberg hunting in Newfoundland

The best thing about Newfoundland at this time of year is the icebergs. (Because frankly it is still pretty cold and there are as many foggy/rainy days as there are sunny ones).

iceberg in the distance

Note the ship next to it is 50′ long, so that gives you an idea of the size of the iceberg

But the icebergs are gorgeous!  This year we’ve had quite a few and the one that we saw today was the biggest either of us has ever seen.  It was off the coast of Cape Spear and was so big, we could see it from the highway over 6 miles away.  And you’d be surprised how quickly they come and go.  I was up on Signal Hill with a friend on Thursday taking pictures of a substantially smaller iceberg and even with a clear view all up and down the coast and Cape Spear in plain sight, there was no sign of the large iceberg we saw there today only 2 days later.

us with an iceberg

You can’t tell, but I’m wearing flip flops!

the girls with an iceberg

The girls enjoyed going iceberg hunting too

For those interested in doing some iceberg hunting of your own, I recommend using  They have a great interactive map with some of the largest icebergs in Newfoundland and Labrador plotted on it.  The one we saw today was listed as “medium,” but there is supposed to be one north of us that is listed as “extra large” so we plan to head out tomorrow in search of this behemoth of an iceberg.  We’ll let you know if we find it!

close-up of iceberg

iceberg off Cape Spear

In search of chanterelle mushrooms…

I’ve discovered yet another fabulous food growing locally here in St. John’s – chanterelle mushrooms.  They’re in all the local restaurants, they taste amazing, but I’d never tried picking or cooking them myself.

Enter my friend Jess.  This girl is like a bloodhound when it comes to finding food in the wild; she’s the one I went berry picking with a few weeks ago.  She’d found some chanterelles on her own and offered to go foraging with me to show me where she found them and teach me how to look for them on my own.  Unfortunately it was a particularly yucky day – hot, muggy, and overcast – and we were soaked from the water droplets on the trees and tall grass we were walking through.  But we did find a LOT of wild chanterelles – plenty for both of us – and we had a really fun time chatting away about everything and nothing.

Some of my stash of chanterelles.

Some of my stash of chanterelles.

Chanterelles are a bit of a pain in the butt to clean, but it’s so worth it (don’t soak them in water – give them a quick dip in cold water, dry them thoroughly right away, and I used a soft toothbrush to remove any difficult bits of dirt).  That night Tyler and I made a delicious ravioli entirely from scratch: homemade dough filled with minced chanterelles, prosciutto, and shallots cooked in a little olive oil and butter and mixed with ricotta and a bit of goat cheese.  We topped it off with some fresh pesto made using basil from our hydroponic garden.  It was as amazing as it sounds (and looks!)  Needless to say I am definitely a new fan of picking and cooking with local chanterelles and hopefully can harvest a bit more before the season is over.

Homemade ravioli completely from scratch, filled with chanterelles, prosciutto, shallots, ricotta and goat cheese and topped with homemade pesto using basil from our hydroponic garden.

Homemade ravioli completely from scratch, filled with chanterelles, prosciutto, shallots, ricotta and goat cheese and topped with homemade pesto using basil from our hydroponic garden.

Lighthouse Picnics in Ferryland

After waiting weeks for an opening, we got lucky and were able to secure a reservation with Lighthouse Picnics at Ferryland Lighthouse.  We’d been looking forward to this for a while after reading about the amazing view and delicious food (especially the lemonade!)

It’s about an hour to an hour and a half drive from St. John’s to Ferryland along the lovely Irish Loop.  The drive alone is worth it on a beautiful day, with wonderful views of the coastline and the charming towns you pass through along the way.  The weather the day of our picnic was supposed to be terrible – overcast and rainy – but we figured we’d at least drive down and take our chances.  Someone sure was looking out for us on Sunday because despite driving through some grey clouds along the way, when we arrived in Ferryland it was just gorgeous!  Bright sunny day with a smattering of clouds in the sky and warm with a cool breeze off the water.

The view upon arrival, before starting the short hike out to the lighthouse from the parking lot.

The view upon arrival, before starting the short hike out to the lighthouse from the parking lot.

The lighthouse itself was easy to find – visible from the road as soon as you rounded the bend into Ferryland – and there were signs for Lighthouse Picnics along the road just to make sure you didn’t miss your turn out to the parking lot on the peninsula.  Once you make it down the little one lane gravel road and park in the grass at the end, it’s about a 15 minute hike up a wide gravel path to get to the lighthouse itself (longer if you stop to admire the scenery).  You go into the little house next to the lighthouse, place your order, and they hand you a nice blanket and a semaphore flag.  Then you go outside, pick your spot, lay out your blanket and stick your flag in the ground and when your picnic is ready they look for your flag and bring your basket to you.  All the food is made fresh, on-site every day and it was so good!  We had sandwiches made with thick cut ham, brie, and slices of green apple along with an orzo salad and tasty desserts: I picked an assortment of mini local berry tarts and Tyler had a local blueberry upside down cake.  And yes, the lemonade (served in a mason jar with a few mint leaves in it) was as yummy as all the reviews had said.

Our picnic basket and the view from our blanket.

Our picnic basket and the view from our blanket.

After enjoying our picnic and laying in the sun for a bit, we wandered around and enjoyed the beautiful views and how peaceful it was.  It tends to be a little more crowded closer to the lighthouse itself, but once you walk down to the coast itself all you hear are the wind and the waves.  But our luck couldn’t hold out forever and after about an hour and a half enjoying the sunshine the clouds started to roll in.  We made our way back to the car and managed to make it back home AND take the girls to the dog park before the rain came.

Enjoying the sunshine

Enjoying the sunshine

The view from the end of the peninsula looking back at the lighthouse.

This was a great, little day-trip that I would certainly do again.  The food was yummy, but it’s also nice to note that there were no signs indicating that you couldn’t just bring your own picnic lunch with you if you’d prefer.  Also a plus was that there were at least two restrooms available onsite.  But again, this is definitely something we said we look forward to doing again.

Ferryland Lighthouse

Ferryland Lighthouse

Fabulous day in St. Pierre

What a wonderful trip this has been to St. Pierre!  Despite an overcast start to the day, the weather cleared up beautifully and was simply gorgeous all afternoon & evening.

We started with a small complimentary breakfast of coffee and pastries at our little b&b, Auberge Quatre Temps.  It is quite charming, with only 6 rooms – nothing fancy, but each has its own bathroom, they’re quite clean, and the beds very comfy.  (I’d still like to try and stay at Nuits next time we come, but I would definitely recommend this place for anyone coming out for a long weekend).

Next we made our way to the “downtown” area near the dock (about a 10 minute walk from our b&b), where we explored for a bit before sitting at a nice bench in a little garden down by the water and just enjoying the view and the tranquility.  The water was so calm, there’s no hustle and bustle, it was very relaxing to just sit there and enjoy each other’s company for a while.

One of the beautiful flowers down by the water.

One of the beautiful flowers down by the water.

There were some tours available – at least one that drove you around our island and another that took you by boat to Miquelon, the next island over.  We decided against the tours just because we wanted to explore by ourselves and I’m rather glad we did.  The boat tour to Miquelon takes an entire day.  With only half of Friday, all day Saturday, and half of Sunday here, that would have taken up our only full day in St. Pierre and all the shops are closed on Sunday so we really would not have had any time in St. Pierre itself.  I would plan on having a 4-day weekend next time we come so that we do have the chance to see Miquelon and still have a full day in St. Pierre.  As for the bus tour, we met two couples on the ferry over and they did the bus tour Saturday morning.  When we ran into them later they were rather disappointed with their “tour.”  Apparently they drove around for almost an hour and a half; not bad, except for the fact that their “tour guide” only spoke for about 5 minutes of that hour and a half.  Anyway, back to our day…

When we set off to explore a bit more, we noticed that all the shops and stores we saw were closing at noon and would not re-open until about 2pm.  As noon was fast approaching, this seemed like a good time to make our way to lunch.  I’d done some research online before our arrival and we’d already decided to check out Les Délices de Joséphine for lunch based on different reviews.  On our way we ran into the two couples I mentioned earlier who we sat with on the ferry ride over – charming older folks from St. John’s and they happened to be heading to the same place so we all sat down for lunch together.  Oh my gosh, if you come to St. Pierre you HAVE to go to  Les Délices de Joséphine.  We each had a slice of the best quiche Tyler and I have ever tried – his was a quiche lorraine, while mine had goat cheese and bell peppers – which also came with a delicious little green salad.  Top that off with a glass of white wine and a scrumptious little handmade pastry for dessert and you’ve got yourself an amazing lunch.  It was a delightful way to pass the time, sitting their with our new friends and enjoying such fabulous food.  I recommend arriving early for lunch as they only make so much quiche each day and as the 4 folks who arrived near the end of lunchtime learned the hard way: when it’s gone, it’s gone.  They still have little sandwiches they make fresh all afternoon, but it is worth it to go early and get the quiche!

Les Délices de Joséphine, St. Pierre et Miquelon

Les Délices de Joséphine, St. Pierre et Miquelon

The weather cleared up while we had lunch, the gray clouds lifting leaving us with a gorgeous sunny day.  We decided to walk along the water for a bit and enjoy the sunshine.  There was a cute little lighthouse a short ways down from the dock where got off the ferry so we made our way down there.  Turns out you can walk along the breakwater (I use this term loosely – there wasn’t a wave to be seen!) all the way out to the little lighthouse and enjoy the view of a slightly more remote part of St. Pierre across the bay.  And the water, oh my gosh, the water was crystal clear.  I mean it was like looking through glass.  There was no color to it or sediment in it, you could see straight through to the bottom with no distortions.

The charming lighthouse in St. Pierre.

The charming lighthouse in St. Pierre.


The crystal clear waters off the coast.

The crystal clear waters off the coast.

Sitting at the base of the lighthouse, enjoying the beautiful weather.

Sitting at the base of the lighthouse, enjoying the beautiful weather.

We finally wandered back into town and headed to one of the wine shops that we had scoped out earlier (Comptoir d’Importation des Alcools or C.I.A.) to buy some French wine to take home.  One of the employees was so nice, asking questions about what we liked and making suggestions on what to buy.  I was really impressed with their prices too considering that everything has to not only be shipped from France, but arrive via Canada as well.  We bought 5 bottles of French wine for only 40 euros.  They also had quite a selection of wine and liquor from other countries as well, plus a variety of foie gras, pâté, cigars, and other culinary delicacies.  There was another wine shop, Le Tire Bouchon, just around the corner, but their selection of wine was much more limited.

After shopping a bit more and taking our wine back to our room, it was time for dinner.  We’d made reservations at a place down by the water that Tyler found online, L’Atelier Gourmand.  Let me say, our dinner the first night was quite good, but this place blew that one out of the water!  We sat on their outdoor patio and enjoyed grilled local foie gras, duck breast with raspberry sauce and blackberry sorbet, braised beef cheek in red wine sauce, and another great bottle of wine.  It was absolutely charming and a great way to spend our last night in St. Pierre.

L'Atelier Gourmand, St. Pierre et Miquelon

On the patio of L’Atelier Gourmand, St. Pierre et Miquelon

So today most everything is closed.  We’re packed and ready to go.  We’re planning on one more lunch at Josephine’s and I’m hoping to pop into the tourism office to see if they have a patch with the local flag on it for my collection.  All in all, this was a very relaxing weekend getaway and I highly recommend stopping by if you ever have the chance.  For more information on St. Pierre, you can browse through their 2013 Tourism Guide (in both French & English).

Random side note: I was surprised at how many large trucks there were on this small island, including a H4 Hummer!

Update: Joséphine’s was closed until the afternoon :-( And no flag patch.  Le sigh.  But we did see a humpback whale while on the ferry back to Fortune, NL!  Plus we had the best weather for our drive home, made it back safely, and have our two girls with us again.

Welcome to St. Pierre et Miquelon

As I mentioned earlier today we drove to France from St. John’s this morning. There is a small archipelago off the southern coast of Newfoundland that does in fact belong to France and it is only a 4 hour drive and an hour ferry ride away.

St Pierre ferry

The ticket office for the ferry. It leaves from St. Pierre only once a day and returns from Fortune, NL afterwards (and the ferry does not always operate every day).

The drive was lovely, with lots of diverse terrain; the ferry ride…well, I got seasick for the first time in my life. It was really hot on the boat, there were some folks with bad BO, we were pitching quite a bit as we sped across the waves, and all the other folks around us who were getting sick did not help.  But the staff was great – they were well prepared with sick bags, cold wet washcloths, and even a trash bag for one poor individual in the back.

On the ferry to St. Pierre

On the ferry (before it got moving and the seasickness ensued).

Not the best way to kick off our trip, but we survived. We didn’t explore much today (I just was not feeling up to it after the ferry), but we did walk through town to get to our little B&B which is about 10 minutes away from the dock and quite lovely. They have a separate restaurant closer to the main downtown area called Saveurs des Iles where we had a delicious 3 course prix fixe menu of scallop salad, duck filets, and creme brulee as well as a delicious bottle of wine from Bordeaux.

3 course prix fixe at Saveurs des Iles

3 course prix fixe at Saveurs des Iles in St. Pierre et Miquelon

I’m very excited to go exploring (and wine shopping!) around town tomorrow :-)

Read about the rest of our trip to St. Pierre here.

Starting our drive to France!

Yes, you read that right. We’re driving to France from Canada ;-) stay tuned…

Can you tell that we're ready for football season?

Can you tell that we’re ready for football season?


Read about our trip to France here and here.

Birthdays are awesome

Excited that today is my birthday!  For dinner we plan to have over some people for burgers, homemade green chili mac and cheese, and some other accoutrement.  I’m happy to be 32 this year and can’t wait to do some more adventures with Christine, who is starting school at Memorial University in 2 weeks!  So much more ahead this year:  France twice, cooking classes with Chef to Go (Chef Bob), south of Spain or a cruise, trip around the Caribbean, and some time in my plane are called for this year!  No big trip to Nepal, though you should expect that in 2015.  You can read more about that at  This is going to be a great year in my new job and I couldn’t be happier than being here for the time being.  Ready for what comes and the planning with all of you!  Hope to see you all soon!

Checking out the Mera Glacier

Checking out the Mera Glacier

Berry picking here in St. John’s

Went out with a small group of friends today to take advantage of the absolute abundance of wild berries that grow here in St. John’s (and all across Newfoundland).  There are blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, lingonberries (or partridgeberries), bakeapple (or cloudberries), and I’m sure I’ve missed some others as well.  We didn’t even have to leave the city to go berry picking.

Just off the path around Quidi Vidi Lake we stomped through some brush and found a myriad of ripe wild raspberries, plenty for all 5 of us to walk away with small containers full of delicious, tart berries!  I’ve also seen hoards of blueberry and lingonberry plants growing all along the East Coast Trail on our different hikes.  But finding a cranberry bog is much more difficult.  I know a couple folks who have secret spots and I swear they’re sacred.  These folks are not willing to share their secret with anyone lest others descend upon the same spot like locusts.  It’s like a right of passage, something passed down through the generations and only upon someone’s death bed.  Ok, maybe not quite that bad, but pretty darn close!

A clear tupperware bin full of ripe, wild, Newfoundland raspberries

Ripe, wild raspberries handpicked here in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Prepping for Mount Everest in 2015/6

Excited today because I started planning my trip to Mount Everest in 2015 or 2016 with International Mountain Guides.  Planning to attempt to make Camp 3 on the South side of the mountain and see hwo that feels before I decide whether I want to summit someday.

I have a long way to go before I’m ready for the attempt in 2015/6.  I learned many of my weaknesses on Mera Peak in April.  First, I need to cut about 75 lbs.  Good news is I have lots of time and a good game plan.  I just need to stop screwing around, stop being lazy, and start working out and eating better.

I plan to start P90X again as soon as the doctor clears my shoulder next week. That will really help as last time I lost a significant amount of weight and picked up alot of strength in the process.

I have invited about 12 friends to come with me on the trip and I’m hoping for a good turnout.  Need to call IMG to see if I can get a discount for an entire group.  Very excited to go back to Nepal and hope it’s wonderful for everyone.

Look forward to keeping you all appraised of the planning and training on my page when I set it up!

In the meantime, enjoy the video below that I made using a time lapse from a GoPro Hero3 camera at Khare.  The weather changes so fast up there!