Pingu goes to Newfoundland travel blog

Pingu goes to France

After getting upgraded to a room with an ocean view at the Thorndyke B&B in Grand Bank, I was sure that we would not see a sunrise over the ocean and so was not planning on getting up too much earlier than we would have needed to in order to get to the ferry by 8am. However, with the first rays of light seeping into the bedroom, Lisette decided to peek out the window and was stunned by the beautiful view of the sunrise right in front of us. We jumped out of bed, threw on some warm clothes and climbed out onto the balcony on the front of the house from where we got some beautiful pictures of the sunrise over the ocean. I had to check my bearings and have posted the Google maps screen capture on my Facebook page as to why I was wrong. The Grand Bank harbour almost faces East over the Fortune Bay where the sun rose, almost obliterating the silhouette of the Burin peninsula land mass, which was only evident once the clouds rolled in and the blinding rising sunlight was subdued. Learned my lesson!

While Lisette took Pingu for a walk, I jumped in the shower and we headed down for breakfast. All the other guests at the B&B were also there to catch the ferry to St. Pierre that morning. We enjoyed the leisurely breakfast and loaded the car as we would be heading directly out of Fortune after our excursion. Fortunately we had made the prearrangements and were briefed on the process for embarkation as things flowed smoothly and we were on our way a few minutes after parking our rental at the ticket office. Pingu, much to Lisette's consternation, was taken away and housed in a separate area of the ferry for the trip. The water was a bit rough so the ferry, newly pressed into service, rocked and rolled through the fog which obliterated our ability to keep our bearings. However once we arrived in St. Pierre, it started to lift allowing us to get a glimpse of the wharfside buildings. By the time we had disembarked, it was completely gone and we had one of the best days that the Isle De France has seen for a long time. Everyone remarked how gorgeous the day turned out to be.

After leaving Pingu's kennel at the Frenchside ticketing office, we headed out by the waterfront to start our walking tour of the little township. We couldn't pass by the pastry shop without picking up two walnut tarts which were deliciously scarfed down in a few minutes flat. We now knew that we needed to do some serious walking to burn off those calories. Our first stop was at the lighthouse at the end of a narrow causeway out in the middle of the harbour. From there we got some spectacular pictures of the town from across the water. We then walked up, past the salt storage shacks which have now been converted into beach front cottages for short term rent.

We then headed into town taking in other highlights that were provided to us on a handy walking map ending up at the other end of town at a considerable elevation to give us a good view of the town and harbour. After helping another group of visitors with their group pictures we headed back into town as it was now approaching 1pm and we were beginning to crave some of that typically french cusine. However, our choices were limited having to search out a patio restaurant. We ended up at the Information office to ask for help finding one but instead, found a restaurant that would let us bring Pingu inside with us. It was the Les Delices de Josephine restaurant which had run out of sandwich bread but still had delicious seafood quiche and salad with a home made vinigarette dressing. Lisette didn't want to chance the quiche upsetting her tummy so opted for a side of ham and cheese with her salad. We both indulged with tarts for dessert while Pingu sat co-operatively in the knapsack on an adjoining chair in the restaurant. There's a first for everything!!

After lunch, we had about an hour before heading back to the ferry wharf so we decided to do a small hike up the hill behind the town and ended up finding a great vantage point from where we got an even better view of the whole town and harbour. Needless to say, that image was captured by me on a panoramic picture. Coming back down, although not as strenous, seemed to be more difficult with the steep slopes putting more strain on our knees than the climb did on our hearts! We made our way back to the ticketing office to pick up Pingu's travel kennel but not before making another pit stop at the bakery to pick up some fresh croissants for breakfast. (They didn't last more than an hour after arriving back in NL!!) With the temperatures climbing into the low 20s and the amount of walking we had done, I rewarded myself with a soft serve cone of which Lisette and Pingu shared. Stuffed to the gills, we headed back to the immigration centre at the harbour to be processed before embarking on the ferry for the trip back. This time we snagged window seats and had a perfect view of the islands slipping away and the arrival back at Fortune. Pingu was again separated from us but we were reunited at the customs hall back at Fortune, him being none the worse for wear.

We loaded back into our Chevy Cruze and high tailed it back to St. Johns, pushing the speed limits to make it back in 3.5h with a 20min stop for refueling body and car at Marystown. Got back just after 11:00pm and decided to finish off this blog before crashing... good night!!!

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