2015 Aug 24 & 25 – Days 31 – At Sea and St. John’s, Newfoundland

Our cruise is rapidly coming to an end.  We will be in St. John’s today – noon to 8 pm – then only two more ports before we are back in Boston.  I better start deciding what we are going to go see when we are there.  I have a long list.

The weather was quite nice yesterday as we sailed from Greenland.  We managed to walk 2 ½ miles on the deck.  Other than that it was the usual reading, visiting friends and puzzles.  We had our second to last formal night as well.  Another one tomorrow.  There have been nine on this cruise – every sea day, bar one.  No other cruise we have been on has had so many formals so close together.  Many people are not happy about it either.  The dining room has more and more vacant tables with every formal as people just don’t want to bother getting gussied up so often.

Since we spent four days in St. John’s on our trip last summer we only have a couple of things we want to see and some geo-caches we would like to find.  The weather is not so good today; windy and foggy when we woke up but high cloud by the time we entered the harbour and docked; with no rain.

St. John’s has a hidden harbour.  It is hard to see from the sea as there is quite a narrow entrance channel with rocky hills on each side.  The width between the rocks is 90 meters.  Our ship is 31 meters wide so if there is a strong wind, going in or out of St. John’s harbour becomes quite a challenge.  Once you have sailed between the rocks though a large sheltered harbour is in front of you.  The pier is right down town so it was an easy – albeit, uphill – walk to shops and restaurants.IMG_1710 IMG_1699 IMG_1704 IMG_1705 IMG_1709 IMG_1712St. John’s was very welcoming.  There was a young girl and boy playing guitar and singing, two female police officers on their black horses, a Labrador Retriever and a Newfoundland dog and several St. John’s Ambassadors handing out maps and answering questions.  Really nice.

IMG_1789 IMG_1716 IMG_1766First of the two things I missed last summer was the Provincial War Memorial; considered to be one of the most beautiful memorials in the world.  There were lovely blooming flowers at street level, many wreaths lying at the base and memorial plaques along the front.  There was even a recently placed (2013) plaque in memory of those who fought and died during the War of 1812-15 between “Upper Canada” and the USA.

IMG_1719IMG_1735 IMG_1738We located a cache at the NATO Peacekeepers Memorial and then walked down the street to St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, which was open for tours.  The church took 40 years to build and then was heavily damaged in one of the three Great Fires of St. John’s in the late 1800s.  It took 40 more years to restore.  Lovely building and very nice ladies to show you around.

The United Church was across the street, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was a couple of blocks away and the Basilica of St. John the Baptist (Roman Catholic) was only a few blocks above that.

IMG_1769 IMG_1767Of course, the thing we like most about St. John’s is the houses and it was fun to walk the streets and see all the varied and bright colours.

The second thing I wanted to see that we missed last summer was the O’Mara Pharmacy Museum and even though we walked along Water Street to where it was supposed to be we couldn’t find it.

IMG_1743 IMG_1774 IMG_1776 IMG_1775 IMG_1778 IMG_1779We were unable to find the next cache we hunted for but successfully found the third.  No luck with the fourth one though.  It was located in the rocks at the base of a sculpture right on the pier beside the ship but there were too many muggles (non-geocaching folks) around and cars passing by for us to spend the time shifting things around to find it.

IMG_1744 IMG_1785We went on board and got changed for dinner.  All aboard was 7:30 and sail away was 8 o’clock.  The side thrusters on the ship pushed us away from the pier and then the captain swung the ship 180 degrees so we could sail out the harbour.  Just as we cleared the channel we were saluted with musket fire from up on Signal Hill.  A nice farewell to a nice day.

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