NEWFOUNDLAND CALLING...AND PAY TO PEE ON RYANAIR?
I admit it; I've got a real soft spot for Newfoundland.
I was invited to the Rock a couple years ago; mostly to see the Humber Valley Golf Resort (which, sadly, has gone under due to economic problems). I didn't want to go to Newfoundland (sorry, Newfoundland and Labrador) for the first time in my life and only see Humber Valley and the Deer Lake region, so I opted to fly into St. John's and rent a car and do some exploring and golfing along the way.
And you know all those things they say about Newfoundlanders being fun and easy and welcoming and delightful? They're all true. I remember going for a walk behind some typically ramshackle but lovely seaside homes near Twillingate and going up towards a beautiful hill bedecked with bright yellow flowers and tumbledown, grey fences and thinking, 'uh, oh, I'm trespassing.' A guy on a truck rolled by and I started to apologize. He looked at me like I was nuts and said something like, 'Walk wherever you like.'
I remember seeing a bunch of lawn ornaments at one particular home not far from Twillingate and being absolutely bowled over by the owner. He had a stunning garden with flowers of all kinds, but he'd also built wooden cutouts of Daffy Duck and Homer Simpson and all the Winnie the Pooh characters. He had built wooden figures of sawmill workers, and when the wind blew the figures moved back and forth like a lumberjack hewing through a huge maple or fir tree.
He wore a big old ballcap and had a great accent and proudly spoke of how he'd been featured in newspapers all over the world, "Including the Down 'omer." Can't remember his name, but somewhere at home on my computer I've got great photos of his yard.
I went for some glorious walks on Cape Spear and, especially, at a small park across the harbour from Twillingate near the Long Point lighthouse. Beautiful, breathtaking country.
Anyway, I mention this because the folks at Newfoundland tourism have got a few good deals they'd like to point out. Maxxim Vacations has a lighthouse tour that starts at 7 nights for $1,617, with unlimited car rental mileage (a good thing as Newfoundland is FAR larger than you might think and rentals are expensive). Also, CapeRace Cultural Adventures was recently singled out by National Geographic Traveler magazine as a great package. 10-day packages start at around $1,500 U.S. And Vision Atlantic has a six-night tour focussing on movies such as The Shipping News and Rare Birds, an unheralded but quite amusing flick with William Hurt.
You also can go to newfoundlandandlabrador.com for more information.
FROM TWILLINGATE TO TOILETGATE
Uh, oh. Seems like Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary might not have been joking when he floated a "pay to pee" project on his European aircraft.
The Guardian of London says O'Leary claims he's serious about charging customers one pound (about a buck-80 Canadian) to use the loo on Ryanair flights.
He says it could starts within two years and that he's asked Boeing to see if they could put machines on board so folks could use their credit cards instead of having to carry cash. Pretty thoughtful; and you get credit card points at the same time!