Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Favorite Museums’ category

North Head Trail/The Rooms

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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The Royal British Columbia Museum

 

October 18, 2017

On a very rainy day in Victoria, we went to the Royal British Columbia Museum. It was a bit difficult to find parking since the truck wouldn’t fit in the parking garage, but we found something a few blocks away. We checked our rain gear and started on the first floor, which is all about people of British Columbia and their varied backgrounds, pictures and stories. There is a great display of the wildlife of BC, so real you think you are there. You can walk through the HMS Discovery, Captain James Cook’s ship, as it landed in a First Nation town to replace a mast. Then you can walk through a recreated town of the 1800’s.

I was particularly interested in the Natural History section that gave great descriptions and displays of how previous climate changes affected animal, plant and human life. There were excellent displays of today’s climate change with our warming planet. Some areas will turn into deserts as fires and heat destroy trees and plants. Different insects and animals will move into these areas that formerly wouldn’t survive the cold. There was a display of how the Mastodon had tusks and teeth perfectly suited for digging through snow and eating moss and lichens. As the climates warmed, they couldn’t adapt to other foods. Rising waters will also affect our landscapes, and warming waters will affect fish populations.

For me, the First Nations section was the best. Great displays showed how they made fish traps, carved bones for tools, cut stone for arrow points, wove goat wool for clothing, made clothes and rugs from skins, made canoes and much more. The totem pole display was awe-inspiring. Martha kept coming back to get me to come along. This is the best I have ever seen. I think it is a shared endeavor with the First Nations.

We had a bit of lunch in their little restaurant, then went into the iMax theater for a 4-D movie of Henry Bates’ research in the Amazon for 11 years in the 1850’s. The screen is four stories high, and you feel yourself looking up into trees and down to the forest floor. It is so life-like, and the photography is incredible and so is the true story. The acting is superb. How could a young man and his friend, Alfred Russel Wallace go to the Amazon in the 1850’s, tramping through such a dangerous forest looking for bugs? If the other three movies are nearly this good, I’d like to see them all.

The Royal BC Museum is a wonderful museum. I hope I get to return.