Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 11 & 12 July 23 - 24

Day 11

It seems our luck that fog settles when a nice clear view would be nice but undaunted we left St John's and drove to Witless Bay for our Puffin and whale watching tour. It was pretty with the fog but not good for taking photos.
Paul and I stayed topside the whole trip and rather enjoyed the pounding of the waves. We were told to use eyes, ears and nose while trying to spot whales. Noses because when whales spout there is a distinct smell.
We did see several humpback whales and one minke, not well, not like you do on TV nature shows but we SAW whales.

Puffin Island preserve

Researchers have a camp set up here to study the birds. I have no idea how they manage the noise and the smell. Murres and 'real' seagulls (variety that does NOT head inland to gather around garbage dumps ) can also be seen here. There were t'ousands and t'ousands of them.


Gatherall's Tour

We had several people suffering from seasickness who missed a great lunch in the restaurant above the gift shop. Best cod au gratin on the whole trip.

We stopped at Petty Harbour, a 200 year old village and site of the first hydro generating station in Newfoundland. Travelled on to

Cape Spear

We didn't bother taking cameras with us when we walked up to the Cape Spear Lighthouse where we had a tour of the original recreated living quarters. The building has an equal number of windows on each side, although some are not real to help control the cold.
We were told that as ships came close enough to view the lighthouse they could identify it as British because of its shape.

Following the trail back to the parking lot took us past the new (1955) lighthouse, the fog alarm building, sound of it just about ruptured our ear drums, through the WWII coastal defence battery and out to the lookout - the most easterly point in North America. It was impressive even in the fog.

We were on our own for dinner tonight and I was determined to try a place I had read about in a guide book so Paul and I checked out the menu at Oliver's on our walk last night. It was as good as I had anticipated and in the company of 2 other couples it was a wonderful evening.


Day 12 - Our last full day.

We had a local guide for our city tour that started with a stop at

Cabot Tower, Signal Hill. The hill has a long and interesting history and there is an information centre/museum that has good displays and a wonderful movie. Worth the visit. The views were long and clear. No fog today.

Boat coming into harbour from the Atlantic Ocean.

Looking across from Signal Hill, ocean side.

Looking down into St. John's natural harbour. There are 2 others in the world, Sydney Australia and Halifax Nova Scotia Canada. On the right side on the cliffs you can see the cannons. This spot has seen battles as the French and English vied for supremacy in the late 1600s - early 1700s.

City of St. John's

Close up of The Rooms, the provincial archives and art gallery and some of the city.

Part of our tour included a stop at Quidi Vidi Brewery in Quidi Vidi Harbour. The brewery is in an old fish plant that stood empty after the Cod Moratorium, which had a major impact in the province.
After a tasting we were invited to pick one bottle to take home. Paul chose the 1892 I picked the Eric's Red, a nice smooth cream ale. Wrapped in plastic bags and clothing they arrived home intact in our suitcases. Only available in Newfoundland. Too bad. I liked it.

Our tour ended at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. Now it was our afternoon free to explore. The bus dropped people at different points of interest. Paul went to the The Railway Coastal Museum and I went shopping stopping first for lunch at Auntie Craes, sandwiches etc made on the spot and eaten in the adjoining Fishhook Room. It was on my list of places to visit since I had started researching this holiday.

Purity brand is local and I developed a taste for these candies on the bus .. in the mix of goodies handed out by Margaret every day.. so they were on my shopping list.
I found some pins to add to my collection as well as a small handmade bowl from Devon House/Craft Council , another place on my must visit list. I did not however find a tacky piggy bank to add to my collection.

During my time shopping I also took a walking tour of the very colourful streets. This door is a fine example of the love of colour you see through out the province.

The main shopping streets, Water and Duckworth, run flat and parallel to the water. side streets like this one however and the next examples

run down hill to the harbour.

A true test for the legs.

Our final dinner was held in a banquet hall. This is our table, see the happy people. We had live entertainment and after dinner we got to....

.....kiss the cod,
swear a solemn oath, eat a chunk of baloney, drink a swig of Screech

and get our certificates. I am proud to be an honourary Newfoundlander.

When we got on the bus for the our return to the hotel Margaret had us close our eyes and she recounted our days and all the places we had seen. When told to open our eyes we were on Signal Hill in time to view the sun set over the city.


Jayne said...

You've been so lucky to have such a beautiful place to visit :)
Thanks for sharing it with us :)

Rootietoot said...

Beautiful pictures! You've been such a wonderful tour guide now I want to go!

J Bar said...

Lots of great shots there.
Sydney - City and Suburbs