Following my sojourn amidst the Vikings in the north of Newfoundland, I headed back south and then east to the capital, St. John’s. The weather was foul; it wasn’t the rain so much as the wind. Newfoundland is famous for its high winds, and in fact some parts of the province are buffeted by the second-highest winds in the world, capable of blowing over semi-trailers. I and my diminutive motorcycle would have to be careful. For much of the 1000 km journey I rode along at angles somewhere between 50 and 90 degrees, thanks to the wind. I learned to relax along areas of the road where lines of trees and cuttings in the road provided some protection. Once away from these, the gusts relentlessly blew me all over the road. It was frightening, to be honest. Newfoundland is a beautiful province, and the people, as with all of Canada, are warm and friendly, but the weather did not make for a good two weeks there.
I reached St. John’s eventually, and spent two days there to see the sights, as well as rest and recuperate. It rained constantly and the temperature hovered around the 10 degrees mark. I holed up for two nights at the Traveller’s Inn near downtown St. John’s. Whilst there, I was lying on the bed sorting through photos and watching Canada’s Worst Drivers on the telly. Some of the drivers were pretty woeful, but nowhere in the league of Truly Frightening like they are in Australia. I have to say I’ve found Canada’s drivers, for the most part, to be careful and courteous. If you’re standing on the street waiting to cross, even if there is no pedestrian crossing in sight, often cars will stop and let you cross. That’s never happened to me in Aussieland.
Anyway, I was lying on the bed sorting through photos when I heard this voice through the window: “Janette, Janette.” Far out, I thought, someone here knows my name! Next thing, this woman’s face appears at the window. It was the owner of the B & B where I’d stayed a couple of nights ago. What a coincidence eh…or maybe it’s a small world in Newfoundland.
Newfoundlanders talk differently in comparison to the rest of Canadians. Sometimes I had difficulty understanding them: the accents and inflections are coloured by a type of Irish brogue. It’s quite noticeable and adds to the charm of the place, I reckon.
Anyway, the plan had been to tour as much of Newfoundland as possible, in particular the coastal towns and communities. I would then travel to St. John’s, the capital, and nearby Cape Spear, Canada’s easternmost point. Alas, the weather put an end to many of these best laid plans. I decided to head straight for St. John’s/Cape Spear, then get out of there. Have to say, St. John’s was beautiful – no high rises and more like a big country town, rather than a faceless city.
Here are some pics of downtown St. John’s, these are all shops…
And cafes…onya Sappho, you go girl!
St. John’s is right on the harbour, lots of ships and smaller vessels there during my visit:
During my visit to St. John’s I noticed something happening up at the Sheraton Hotel. Lots of people were running around with TV cameras and I saw a couple of vans with “CBC News” emblazoned on their sides. I also saw a myriad of people strutting around talking into their phones and generally being quite important. I and my camera decided to see what all the fuss was about. They had the TV cameras, with the big lights, set up inside the hotel’s foyer. There was a dias thing and a backdrop of provincial flags, as well as a bunch of microphones. It turned out to be a press conference, and looked like a Very Big Deal indeed. Presently, some pollie appeared and started speaking about the greatness of the Newfoundland government, then announced some funding for research into health-related issues. It was riveting. While the pollie was speaking, the media people took a bunch of photos from all angles. I, also, decided to take a bunch of photos of this bloke. No-one said I couldn’t. Here he is:
Good photo eh. They should’ve used that for the newspaper. Snigger.
I soon got bored with pretending to be a photographer/reporter, so repaired to the outside section of the hotel for a smoke and to take photos of the pretty flowers:
Anyway, I was loitering outside this hotel after taking the flower photos and got chatting to Imelda, the concierge there. She was very interested to hear about my trip. Imelda breeds Newfoundland dogs. I later learned that these dogs are bred to rescue people from the water, and that they have webbed feet. I also learned that they will “rescue” children innocently swimming in the backyard pool. The kids don’t get much pool time apparently, because they are repetitively being hauled out by these dogs. They look gorgeous. Imelda told me not to miss a monument of a couple of Newfoundland dogs, so I went to take a look. The dog on the left is actually a model of one of Imelda’s dogs (now deceased):
Some more pics of the surrounds of St. John’s. It really is a lovely place, and very peaceful for a capital city:
Went to have a look at the Lieutenant-Governer’s residence. This is a very classy looking place:
Inside, there was this for your brolly:
And this for your shoes:
When the Queen or members of the royal family visit, they usually plant a tree in the garden. Old Camilla was there last year, and she planted this one:
I also visited the Basilica of St John the Baptist, a pretty impressive looking Catholic Church. Here it is:
They had a statue of this saint there. I forget her name, it might have been Theresa. They also had a sliver of Theresa’s bone in a special frame. I don’t know what became of the rest of her.
The next photo is a bit…hmmm. It’s where they locked the nuns away so that they couldn’t be seen by anyone, but could still attend church:
There is more to my St. John’s visit, but I will tell you about it in my next blog post. It is here that I finally reached the Atlantic Ocean, thus completing my 3 Ocean’s Tour. Stay tuned, patient Blogsters.