Newfoundland Report 2

:: As mentioned below, it was raining on the morning of July 9, but stopped around 10 am. Later in the day (Friday, July 9), Charles and I drove to Bowring Park, where the wedding was held, to discover that the chairs had been set up on the lawn, meaning the ceremony was to be held outside! A microphone and speaker were in place, along with a long extension cord for the guitar amplifier.

I set up my equipment, tested the sound system and amplifier, and everything was working fine. People began to arrive, and around 4:40 pm, I began “noodling” on the guitar, playing a selection of pieces, even making up stuff on the spot. At 5:00 pm, Kim’s Uncle Dave, who was officiating the ceremony, began walking towards the area where the wedding would take place, followed by the groomsmen and Geoff. Then, the bridesmaids and Kim and her father followed, while I played Pachelbel’s Canon.

The ceremony lasted about 45 minutes. At the signing of the register, I played and sang Sarah Harmer’s “Open Window“. When the ceremony ended, I played “Here Comes the Sun”, while Geoff and Kim and the wedding party walked back towards the pavilion, where Kim’s dad, Mark, gave a champagne toast to the bride and groom. Following photos, a delicious meal was had by all, with a few toasts and speeches, and then a dance.

The next morning, I woke with a wicked sore throat, the beginning of a chest and head cold. Eventually, Charles drove me to Memorial University, where I checked into a room that was already occupied by my Edmonton friends and colleagues, Kenton and Susan. A number of us met up at The Casbah in St John’s for breakfast. The rest of the day is somewhat of a blur. Susan, Kenton and I were joined by Kim’s friend, Andrea. They made plans for the evening, but I passed, feeling tired and sick by that time.

On Sunday, having ingested various medications supplied by my roommates, we drove to Bay Bulls, where we went on a whale watching boat trip. We saw fin and humpback whales, including one humpack that decided to follow the boat for a while, surfacing on both sides to let us see its blowhole and huge jaw, at times pacing the boat underwater. It was spectacular. The boat then moved into the Witless Bay Seabird Ecological Reserve, where we saw literally thousands of puffins and other species. The ecological reserve is home to Pee Pee Island, btw.

Next, we drove to Ferryland, to visit the amazing Colony of Avalon. From the introduction:

Have you ever walked on a 17th–century street, seen a 17th–century herb garden, or looked at the remains of everyday life in one of the earliest European colonies in North America?

If you haven’t, come to the Colony of Avalon at Ferryland, Newfoundland.

The colony was founded by George Calvert, later Lord Baltimore, in 1621. Most people have no idea that permanent European settlement in North America dates so far back, and that Newfoundland played such an important role. The Ferryland settlement was “forgotten”, and its remains lay undisturbed for centuries.

The site is now being excavated. Constructed of stone, the buildings have left substantial remains. Archaeologists have uncovered over a million artifacts to date – gold rings, Portuguese ceramics and other unusual objects – as well as a smithy, a stone-walled well, a sea-flushed privy and the “prettie street” described in very early accounts. There is evidence of earlier occupations by Beothuk Indians and Basque fishermen.

In fact, we did see these things, and much more, and walked down the 17th-century cobblestone street. A remarkable amount of information and artifacts has been collected since the site was discovered in 1980, and the guide told us that it may take another 40-60 years to uncover everything still hidden under the soil. The tour ended in the 17th-century kitchen, where we were shown hearth-baked bread and how families lived in their small homes at that time.

Throughout the day, it was cool and windy. The weather did not break until our last day, Monday, July 12th. That day, we drove north, to Pouch Cove, which I later learned is pronounced “pooch”. On the way, we stopped at a roadside area, and I decided it was a good time to “touch the ocean.” The car was near a railing, near the edge of a drop which led to average sized boulders and rocks, and then the ocean. I decided to make the short hike to the bottom, and put my hand in the Atlantic. Almost there, I slipped on a large wet rock, and with Kenton and Susan watching from above, lost my balance and fell, trying to grab onto anything to prevent myself from stepping or falling into the water.

Of course, this didn’t happen. My left foot landed squarely in the water up to my calf, drenching my shoe, sock and pant leg before I could stop tumbling. I also banged the inside of my right knee, and may have strained a stomach muscle. Well, I wanted to touch the ocean, but instead, stepped in it. Mission accomplished.

Significantly embarrassed, we continued the drive through the community of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove, where we stopped at Middle Cove Provincial Park, ostensibly a beachfront of pebbles and rocks, where this time, I -did- touch the ocean with my hand (photos to follow), without injuring myself.

Back in St John’s, we drove to Signal Hill National Historic Site, and despite my condition, I joined Susan and Kenton on a 3.5 km hike around the hill. The hike around the site ends, surreally and literally, on the wooden deck of private citizens on St John’s. We walked past two people sitting in lawn chairs enjoying the sunshine, which had returned that day. While hiking, we saw more whales in the ocean from the top of the hill.

Throughout all these treks and tours, the scenery was absolutely spectacular, and the people incredibly friendly. Our only regret was that the weather was poor for three of the days we were there, with a lot of heavy fog preventing us from seeing a lot of the surrounding areas while we were sightseeing. However, I would not hesitate to recommend Newfoundland as a tourist destination at any time.

With shopping to do, we returned the rental car, and were driven downtown around 4:00 pm. Kenton and Susan went shopping, and I went looking for a coffee shop, to read and conserve some energy. I found a place called Auntie Crae’s Food Shop, featuring some amazing baking and friendly staff, and bought a nice hot chai tea and a butter tart. The butter tart was so good, I needed another one, and eventually bought the remaining seven, to share with the others, and my folks, when I returned to Winnipeg.

In the evening, we met up with Dan Duda, former U of A colleague, now a librarian at Memorial University Libraries. Dan and I left after dinner, leaving Susan and Kenton to stay up all night. Dan showed me a bit of the MU campus, including the library, and his office, and the map library, where he hopes to work again next year. I hit the sack, but didn’t sleep much, as we had to rise at 3:30 to catch a taxi to the airport for a 6:00 am flight to Toronto. I arrived back in Winnipeg at 11:40 CDT, and didn’t get to sleep last night until around 1:00 am, so essentially, I was up for 24 hours. Today, I’m beat, but feeling just a little healthier.

Back in Winnipeg, I will stay for another three days, and then drive home to Edmonton on Saturday.

3 Responses to “Newfoundland Report 2”

  1. sharon Says:

    good to hear that you are having fun! But do take care of your health too!

  2. jenB Says:

    Sounds like a fabulous and eventful holiday! Let me know if you have time for a Wednesday walk when you get home. 🙂

  3. Morrie Says:

    What a great trip, and glad the wedding ceremony seemed to go sowell. Talk about making a splash.

Leave a Reply

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5
This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5.