Wednesday, Aug 14, 2014
We hiked North Head Trail in St. John’s, which works its way around Signal Hill, out to the point and back around the edge of St. John’s Harbor, through a pretty, little neighborhood. this is a gorgeous hike, one many residents hike every day. What a beautiful place to get your exercise. Diego is a marathon runner, so this was little strain for him, but Martha and I were tired, but happily tired.
Then we drove over to the pretty, little lighthouse guarding the entrance to the harbor on the other side. Parking at the bottom, we walked through maybe 10 homes in a beautiful spot, one with a porch looking back at St. Johns and another looking out toward the sea. A young couple walked by, saying “Good morning”. The girl was wearing a backpack, so they were off to hike the East Coast Trail that follows the coast south for 300 km along the coast. It is rated one of the best hikes in the world.
They hadn’t gone 20 yards past when she screamed, “Whale!” At the mouth of the harbor was a whale blowing steam straight up. We watched for about 5 minutes as it worked its way north around the corner. We had been watching all morning, and it was great to finally see one. The young lady was so excited and smiling broadly. She said they had taken a whale tour for $70 each and seen nothing.
We followed them up to the lighthouse for another great view of the harbor and the hike we had just taken on the other side. A little house sits at the top with two chairs on a porch looking out at this incredible view.
Hungry now, we went back downtown and parked in the same parking garage beside the wharf. In a busy downtown, it was the only way to park a big truck. Martha had decided on a Chinese vegan restaurant, wanting a lighter lunch than yesterday. St. John’s is a bit like San Francisco was 50 years ago. From Water Street it was a steep climb uphill for several blocks before we found The Peaceful Loft, a tiny place run by a husband and wife. The husband did everything downstairs, while his wife did the cooking upstairs. He was quite a character, very nice and very informative about their foods and where they get them.
After lunch we climbed the big, steep streets to “The Rooms”, a great museum. Like San Francisco, it is a city of steep hills. We enjoyed the brightly colored houses. A Newfie told us there is so much fog, cloudy weather and snow, they need the color.
Following Google maps, we climbed up the streets, but stopped to try to determine where we were going. A couple passing us, overheard our conversation and said to follow them. They were going somewhere else, but it was close. Several times the lady looked back to see if we were following. At the top, they stopped to show us where to go. The husband said to be sure to go in the cafe because it is the best view of the city.
“The Rooms” is a beautiful museum with great views of the city, just as our guides had told us. The art of one sculptor was particularly interesting, Billy Gauthier, but it is always the wildlife displays I enjoy most. Gauthier is from Labrador and uses all natural products, whalebone, Labrodite, baleen and others.