Saturday, 10 September 2011

St. Johns, Nfl

We spent 4 nights near the most Easterly point of Canada -  St. Johns, Nfl - the oldest city in Canada - dating back to the 1500's - right up there with Old Que. City.  Amazingly the city is only slightly over 100,000 people and the entire Province of Nfl is only slightly over 500,000 (so about half the population of Edmonton).  When you consider the number of moose (100,000) in the province - there is 1 moose for every 5 people!!!!  Crazy!  We were told that there have been as many as 900 moose / vehicle encounters a year in Nfl - and this year is particularly bad apparently.  Currently there is a class action suit against the Gov't because of the nuisance moose and damage/injury to people and property.  We visited St. Johns over the Labour Day weekend and had glorious weather.  The city is for 'walking' - there are scads of trails every where and all linking up.  Actually the entire Province is phenomenal for its trail systems.  We asked and I guess it is a make work project for those on UI - build trails and keep them in shape - and they are in very good shape.

We parked our RV at the Pippy RV Park right in the middle of the city and decided to take a hike up one of the trails to the Botanical Gardens - whew!!!!  That was about an 8 km round trip hike with much of it including 300 steps straight up.  The Garden was lovely and thank goodness the hike back was mostly down hill.  We toured Signal Hill at night and in the day - and had a breathtaking view of the Narrows, St. Johns Harbor and the city.  Hardier souls hiked the trails up and down and around the Hill - but we passed due to the big hike we'd done the day before.  Cape Spear was awesome and the scenery is absolutely astounding.  A trip to St. Johns would not be complete with out a stroll down George St. - and we - along with a bus tour of 44 Seniors (well I guess we are Seniors too) were well entertained by a local performer and a Step (tap) Dancer who had to be pushing 80 - pretty impressive!

Our last day we toured the Battery (houses literally clinging to the cliffs over St. Johns Harbor) and Quidi Vidi Village - another old fishing village that is recreating itself and has the very successful Quidi Vidi Brewery which we toured.  An example of diversifying the economy since the decline of the Cod Fishing Industry - the facility the brewery was  originally intended to be a fish processing plant, then in 1992 the Cod embargo was in force - so the building sat empty for a few years till a group came along with a business plan in place for a Brewery - and the building fit their plan perfectly.

Enjoying the Botanical garden

Don't Pick the Grapes!


Neat Archway in the garden - putting all that cut wood to good use

View of the protected St. Johns Harbor and the Narrows from Signal Hill

Jelly Bean Houses along an old street in St. Johns - classic - originally the brightly painted houses were for the fishermen to more easily recognize their home as they came home from the sea - now it is classic St. Johns.

Gun at Fr. Waldergrove - guarding the Narrows

The Shaw's at Cape Spear - the most Easterly point of Canada.  We are closer to points in Europe that Westerly points in Canada!

Disappearing Gun (they could drop it down into a trench to service and/or load it - and it could not be seen by the enemy)  on display at Cape Spear - a natural fortification that was manned by Canadian and American troops during WWII starting in 1941 to guard against attacks on North America and especially from the deadly German U Boats!

Part of a reconstructed fortification tunnel system built into the craggy rocks at Cape Spear.  It must have been pretty damp and gloomy in bad weather - we were there on a bright sunny day!

Cape Spear Light House - built in 1836 - oldest one built along the Nfl coast - like the Bonavista Light House - the family home surrounds the tower.  Looks like the same 'plan'.

A wee bit of vertigo - peering down the cliff side from the Cape Spear Lighthouse.  Sandra likes to get close to the edge to get a good picture - this drives Barry crazy!

Looking across Quidi Vidi Lake in Quidi Vidi Village.  They are rebuilding buildings that were literally smashed into match sticks by a surge storm in Feb. 2010.

Murals depicting the Fisherman lifestyle in days gone by along the narrow roadway leading to the Battery Village.

Brightly colored Battery homes - which literally cling to the side of the cliffs overlooking St. Johns Harbor.  They mold the houses around the craggy rocks along the cliff side.  It would be interesting to view the interior floor plans!

These very visible signs are posted in areas of high moose contact (certain travel areas favored by the moose).  This year is a bad year for moose accidents apparently.  We only saw one, thank goodness and he was not on the road!
An interesting rock garden display at the Botanical Garden - vertical slabs of slate with the alpine plants planted in between.  Kind of replicating nature!

Part of the series of 300 steps along the walking trail leading up to the Botanical Garden.  Glad we didn't forget our water that day!

Right in the city - nice park.

Established communications companies at the time sabotaged Marconi's efforts to establish a facility to continue his experiments - but he was welcomed with open arms over in Nova Scotia where he continued his experiments and succeeded in sending the first successful transmission a year later.  Amazing where wireless has gone in 110 years!

Directional signs at Signal Hill

Cabot Tour at Signal Hill commemorating the 400th Anniversary of John Cabots' landing on Nfl soil (rock!)

Parked (packed) like sardines in the Belly of the Nfl Ferry.  Buddy had to stay in the trailer but he was fine for the 5 - 6 hour trip.  But he did enjoy being fussed over once we docked and retrieved him from his berth.
Another storm system was moving in when we left St. Johns - 2 more hurricane systems are working their way up the Eastern Seaboard - so we decided we should maybe vamoose.  We left St. Johns en route back to Port Aux Basques (900 km) to catch the Ferry (a 5-6 Ferry ride was better for Buddy than the Argentia 14 hr. Ferry ride leaving from near St. Johns), stopping overnight in Clarenville to visit some people we met in Alaska 3 years ago and enjoyed a wonderful evening - seafood dinner along with the sharing of all our travel stories etc.

We crossed back over to North Sydney, NS on Friday Sept. 9 - and will now plan the balance of our Eastern Canada tour.   We don't plan anything in advance - just one or two days ahead of time.  I guess at this time of the year one can get away with that - no reservations anywhere - and no problem!  Awesome trip so far!

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