3rd and Last Destination
We really enjoyed our stay in Bonavista and we felt that two days there was just enough to see everything that we wanted to see and get a taste for the small town. But it was time to move on so Thursday we made our way down the highway to our last destination of the city of St. John’s.
After checking in at our hotel downtown we did a quick check of the area and found ourselves fairly central and are within walking distance to pretty much everything. It was good to be walking more in the city and driving less as we had spent quite a bit of time in the car since arriving in Newfoundland.
Being in the middle of downtown in a large city, it’s expected that there’s going to be many more people that in the small towns that we’ve visited over the past week or so. But I think that there’s a larger amount of people in town right now given all of the preparations that we see around town leading up to Saturday’s Canada Day 150 celebrations.
One of the things that I love to do when I’m in a new city is to just walk around with my camera with so real destination and capture shots that are of interest to me. In St. John’s there are quite a few such places within an hour walk from our hotel. St. John’s is famous for the multi-colour “jellybean” houses. Before coming to Newfoundland I had read of the colourful houses along one street but in reality, there are dozens of streets and hundreds of houses that are painted this way.
But in addition to the colourful jellybean houses, there’s a number of period homes built in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s that line the streets and whole neighbourhoods of such houses can be found. Many of the houses have a badge on the doorpost designating it as a heritage building such as the one below.
The streets of St. John’s, heading away from the harbour, all rise sharply towards the centre of town and I walked many of them yesterday taking photographs. It was nice sunny weather and I got a good workout going up and down those streets for several hours.
When we were planning this trip to Newfoundland we knew that we would be in St. John’s for Canada Day. We thought that it would be a pretty cool way to spend our country’s special 150th anniversary. There were a number of Canada Day events around town and we decided to drive to a small neighbourhood if St. John’s known as Quidi Vidi where there were going to be music and fireworks right by the lake which bears the same name.
Under normal circumstances, it would be quite enjoyable to be outside for Canada Day and watch fireworks unto the evening but on this particular night, the temperature had dropped to about 9 degrees! Considering it was in the mid-low 20’s the day before we were as surprised as anyone that it had gotten that cold. Barb and I had brought some thicker clothing “just in case” but with the wind whipping off the lake we couldn’t wait for the fireworks to end soon enough. When we finally got to our car, parked several long kilometres away, we had the heat on high all the way home.
The Cape and the Cold
As I’m writing this last section it’s Sunday and our last full day in Newfoundland and by Monday we’ll be flying home. If you can believe it today was colder than yesterday, about 7 degrees. Two days ago I was walking around in shorts and sandals wearing SPF 60 and today we had to wear four layers of clothes trying to stay warm!
We ended up doing a road trip south of St. John’s and one of the highlights was a stop at Cape Spear. There’s a lighthouse at Cape Spear but what it’s mostly known for is being the most eastern point in North America. From the cape, the only view is the North Atlantic and somewhere out there about 4000Km away is France.
In addition to the bitter cold, there were a lot of low clouds obscuring the view so it wasn’t possible to see much off the coast so we didn’t stay around very long. But is was mostly the bitter cold.
The photo above was taken on the way back to our hotel from Cape Spear, taken from the other side of the harbour. As you can see there were still some low cloud in the harbour and definitely no sun today.
While walking along the main street in St. John’s (Water Street) near our hotel we found that there were quite a few buskers playing music on the street. One, in particular, was an accordion player and I said to Barb “that’s the Log Driver’s Waltz he’s playing”. Barb had no idea what I was talking about so on our return back to the hotel I played her this famous Canadian video:
Also if you haven’t seen this other one the video Blackfly is also very good.
And Finally …
When we were planning this trip to Newfoundland I thought that 9 days was going to be far too short but in hindsight, it was really just about right. It would have been nice to have a few additional days to get to the western side of the province but it was going to consume too many days on this already short trip and we figure that can always be done on a return trip.
At the conclusion of our time in Newfoundland, I still feel that seeing the icebergs in Twillingate were likely the main highlight of the trip. I also really liked St. John’s but I fear that we’re only going to remember the cold weather more than anything else. 🙂
Sidebar: it’s early Monday morning now and I just checked the weather forecast and it’s supposed to go up to 25 today. That’s an 18-degree change in just one day.
We had lots of lobster and cod dishes – perhaps more times than you’d expect for a 9-day trip. About the only thing on our list that we never got around to was drinking some Newfoundland Screech.
Having had a chance to talk to lots of locals was also a real pleasure and every story about the friendliness of Newfoundlanders is 100% true.
By this time tomorrow, we’ll be back to our regular lives and Newfoundland will just be in our memories. It’s hard to say when we’ll return again but I think that I’d like to return as part of a larger trip to other maritime provinces especially PEI and Nova Scotia.
I should also add that I’ve now uploaded all of our Newfoundland photos to my photo web site.
Our Excellent Adventures will return in a few months for a trip that’s already been planned. It will include somewhere that we’ve already been and somewhere new.