St John’s is on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula. It’s population is 219,000 as of 2017.
The city played a role in the French and Indian War, the American Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812. Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless signals here.
St John’s is an important tourist destination.
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The ferry ride over took sixteen hours, and not a second sooner–it was a very uncomfortable boat. They just expected you to sit as long as you can, and then pass out onto the cold, hard floor.
The few staterooms that were available on board were sold out of course.
They had two bars with live music, but only one place to get food, necessitating an hours long line up. Vending machines were mostly sold out too. We essentially subsisted on muffins/protein bars on that sixteen hour long trip.
We met a couple from Ontario who were headed to their seasonal home for the summer. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet.
Cheryl’s impressions of the boat: “Wow is all I can say. The boarding of the ferry was quite a process. We had boarding passes that we had to get cleared before we could board. Apparently they also do spot searches. Not sure what they would have been looking for. Lucky for us we were one of the first to board. The ferry was quite impressive. Two lounges, one having live music. They had a movie theater; buffet dinner, plus games rooms and cabins. We didn’t reserve a room so we found ourselves sleeping on benches and the floor of the bar. We woke up around 4 to a beautiful sunrise. Although they gave us an hour warning before we were to depart, we couldn’t go down to our vehicle until we were docked and then only deck by deck would they allow us to go down the stairs to our vehicles. Again we were the second car off. So nice! No traffic behind us as not everyone had gotten down to their vehicles yet.”
Still on the way, but in sight of Newfoundland.
We were the first ones off the ferry by a long shot–no one in the rear view–this was our first view of Newfoundland. Cheryl’s journal: “Noticed that the trees were very small and wind blown, much like the Cape Scott area. Water, and lots of lakes. Many called “ponds”. They seemed to have a thing about triangles – Little Triangle Pond, Large Triangle Pond, Triangular Pond, and three corners pond. Beautiful weather, even though you can feel the air is cool.
That’s the typical stunted bush, with more eye catching scenery above.
When we finally made it to St John’s–the unofficial half-way mark for the trip–we set up at a great campsite. But we still had to get downtown somehow, which was much farther away than we realized. There weren’t any buses driving by us, so we just started asking people directions. Which way to downtown?
Through a misunderstanding of our own we actually ended up walking the opposite direction of downtown, adding a couple of kms to the grand total walked.
By the time we reached downtown we were walked out, exhausted. We hit a pub to relax and have beer and listen to live music, which was everywhere. We had seen some buses, but also lots of cabs.
Cheryl’s journal: “Got into St. Johns and stayed at Pippy Campground. Thought it to be close to the downtown area “Water Street” and then we started to walk. Should have looked at a map. Stopped a couple and asked for directions. They both agreed we should head left and Marcel had thought we should go right. Should have listened to Marcel’s instincts. We went up on this parkway and down back streets. We could see Signal Hill from where we were so we headed in that direction. We ended up back on the road Marcel wanted to go down after walking 3-4 kms. Asked a waitress if we were on the right path. She looked up on google and said yes. So we kept walking downhill. Figured we will hit water at some point. Kept asking people to ensure we were going in the right direction and apparently we were. Finally found Water Street and Jelly Bean Alley.”
What’s he taking a picture of?
Oh this! St John’s working harbour.
On one side you have these massive historical structure, and on the other side…
… these colorful row houses that made St John’s famous–if you google St John’s, that’s the image they use.
St John’s was packed with bars, shops, art galleries, friendly people, live music, and restaurants. We stayed for an extra twenty-four hours. The buses on our route were mostly shut down, but the cabs weren’t. We could easily have stayed a whole week.
From Cheryl’s journal: “Colourful houses. All connected. Found a pub and had a beer. Well deserved. Walked for about an hour ½ and shopped for souvenirs. Got my moose earrings. Met an artist who had just started painting on canvas in January. Bought 3 of her prints.”
The Duke on Duckworth was well known for it’s fish and chips. But getting there turned out to be slipperier than duck-grease. Could Duke on Duckworth’s actual existence be a NFLD state secret?
From Cheryl’s journal: “We decided to go to Duke on Duckworth. We asked for directions. We were on Duckworth St already. They told us to go left till we hit the parkade. We walked and walked to the end of the street. Asked another vendor “where”, she said back the other way half a block on the other side of the road. They have a sign and are down the alley. We walked and walked. We thought it might be a “locals” in joke on tourists. Still couldn’t find it. Stopped in a book store. He googled the address for us and advised that most people in Newfoundland give poor directions. Have to keep that in mind. He was at #245 and Duke was at #325. Yeah, we’re close. Kept walking. House numbers kept going up. It was actually four blocks away. Well worth it. Fish and chips to die for, so melt in your mouth. Beer was good too.”
“The waiter was very helpful. We were going to take a bus back and found out that they stopped working at 6. So we took a cab to the campground, had a shower and went to bed.”