We've finally made it to St. John’s! This city welcomed us with blue skies, bright sunshine, and friendly locals who were quick to point out that no, this weather is not typical. Such warnings usually came after one of us would declare, faces pointed to the sky and arms opened wide, “I love this city! I could move here!”
Perhaps we’ll have to return in the dead of winter to get the whole picture, but either way, we still loved St. John’s. It was just so good to us.
Early one morning when we'd first arrived, our friend April (in town from Corner Brook!) joined us for an early morning trek up to Signal Hill, a former strategic military location with its view out over the Atlantic and into the city’s harbour.
There were cannons to balance on,
boats to watch,
and a clear view of St. John’s bending around the harbour.
We also made our way to North America’s easternmost point: Cape Spear.
It’s home to Newfoundland’s oldest lighthouse,
as well as the remnants of a WWII defense battery. It was guarded by American and Canadian soldiers during the war, and defended against German U-boats.
There's a large series of bunkers built into the hillside, now empty and showing their age.
It felt surreal to have made it to the opposite end of the country. Here we were: on the west coast in July, and the slightly more bundled up east coast version four months later:
Another spectacular viewpoint can be found from The Rooms. It’s an incredible cultural facility built up on the hill, housing an art gallery, museum, archives, countless programs for kids and adults, and a restaurant.
The Rooms celebrates international, Canadian, and of course, Newfoundland artists, like Mary Pratt, whose work we first fell in love with at the gallery in Winnipeg. She's renowned for her photo-realistic paintings, which are often of food. Currently, there's a retrospective exhibition of her work travelling across the country. The schedule is at the bottom of this article - hopefully it's stopping somewhere close to you! Here's one of my absolute favourite Pratt paintings; I bought a print at The Rooms' giftshop and it's now hanging on my wall:
For city exploring fuel, we stopped in several times at Fixed Coffee.
All their baking is done in-house, including these Montreal-style bagels, which were fatter than the ones in Montreal, but just as tasty.
In the next few posts we’ll share our adventures in and around St. John’s, including our splendidly bizarre experience of getting 'Screeched In....'
And you know what? I don't care what the locals say. I'm always going to think of St. John's as always sunny.
And here's my favourite St. John's band, Hey Rosetta!, with a video that amuses me to no end: