Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jaunt in St. John's

Since I booked my plane ticket so close to the date of departure, the prices to fly had skyrocketed. The ticket that would have once cost me $ 650 was now about $ 1900 if I were to fly out of Deer Lake. So the best price for us last minute folk was to drive from Deer Lake to St. John's and fly back to Toronto from there. In order to do that, I had to spend a night in St. John's. Luckily, I had company. Christina, another retreat participant, also was flying back to Toronto on the same flight. Karine and Angie, organisers of the Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) retreat, drove us to St. John's. (YACC is based in St. John's.)

No beating around the bush here. (The church was called Miracle Temple.) This was spotted on our road trip from Deer Lake to St. John's. The trip was 637 km long and took us about 10 hours in total including all of the stops. We drove on Highway 1 TransCanada Highway.

Quidi Vidi (pronounced Kiddie Viddie) Lake

Christina and I in front of the lake.

Me in front of Quidi Vidi Lake.

The actual site of Quidi Vidi (old fishing village) reminded me of Jamaica. Although it feels "closed in" and secluded, it is part of the provincial capital of St. John's.

Quidi Vidi.

We finally arrive at the HI (Hostelling International)- St. John's City Hostel. I've stayed at hostels all across Canada when I was running my festival years ago. HI-Hostels are clean, simple, and much cheaper than a hotel.

The steep hills of the streets in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Yes, those are stairs on the sidewalk to go up the hill.

The Sprout. Only the premiere one and only vegetarian/vegan restaurant in St. John's. As soon as I knew I was coming to Newfoundland, I looked up the veggie restaurants on the internet.

Christina and I are so happy to finally get a seat after waiting for 30 minutes. But it was worth it since we got to sit right at the front in the sunshine.

Sipping my precious green tea.

My beautiful meal of vegan Shepherd pie and green salad.

Christina had mango juice with mineral water and miso noodle soup with rice crackers.

Mmmmm... once I talked to the St. John's guys who sat beside us, one was so generous enough to let me sample the dessert from his plate. I quickly changed my original choice (Chocolate cashew cake) to a spicy brownie which I'm eating here.

Beloved spicy brownie. I kept asking the staff about the secret ingredient. There was crushed pepper on the brownie but there was this irresistible toffee taste to the brownie itself and the chocolate was not too bitter or overwhelming.

Proof that Jamaicans can be found everywhere!

Piatto was where I had my cheeseless pizza the night before.

Beautiful art that pays tribute to the early settlers and the fishing industry.

The first of many stops at St. John's souvenir shops. The Tickle Trunk is the name of Mr. Dress Up's costume trunk. (If you grew up on Canadian television, you'll get the reference to the CBC show "Mr. Dress Up".) Sorry to say, I didn't see an actual tickle trunk there.

Down Home souvenir shop.

There were these bricks that had names of different people embedded in the sidewalk. A walk of fame? No, more like a memorial walk.

Newfoundland Supreme Court.

St. John's harbour.

Boat in the harbour.

You can see rocky hills in the St. John's harbour.

The famous rainbow-coloured houses of St. John's.

More rainbow-coloured houses.

A unique sculpture at St. John's harbour.

The story behind the salted Newfoundland codfish or "saltfish" and how it got to be a staple in the Caribbean.

Easternmost point of Canada #1. This is as close to the edge as I would go.

Easternmost point of Canada #2. That is Christina who went to the edge. Christina is pretty brave to go to the edge. She has two artificial knees and hips and is a six-year cancer survivor. Don't let her pretty smile fool you. She's one tough cookie.

Easternmost point of Canada #3.

Easternmost point of Canada #4.

Easternmost point of Canada #5.

Easternmost point of Canada #6.

The moss that grows on the Easternmost point of Canada.

Standing at the Easternmost point of Canada. I love the natural ruggedness of this country.

Standing at Signal Hill. It sits at the height of St. John's and you can look down and see the metropolis spread. Cyclists actively ride up here and there is such sense of community up here. (There are lots of tourists.)

Signal Hill is the place where on 12 December 1901, the first transatlantic wireless transmission was received here by Guglielmo Marconi in an abandoned fever and Diphtheria hospital, which has since been destroyed by fire. The transmission, in Morse code, originated from his Poldhu Wireless Station, Cornwall, UK. (Thanks wikipedia.)

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