It was going to be a beautiful day!
I stepped out onto the balcony this morning and was treated to a gorgeous sunrise. The temperature was a little cool with a gentle breeze.
I loved the beautiful sights we were passing as the ship made its way towards the harbor. The rocky landscape was dotted with beautiful and colorful homes,
As we got closer to the harbor entrance I could see Cabot Tower high atop Signal Hill. Signal Hill is the birthplace of modern communications receiving the world’s first Atlantic radio transmission in 1901.
What I found incredible as we got closer and closer to the harbor entrance is just how narrow it is.
We had plenty of time to prepare to go ashore so we made our way up to the lounge for coffee and a lite continental breakfast.
After Mr. Judson’s presentation yesterday I was very excited about our “St. John’s Guided Walking Tour”.
We boarded our bus and learned that we would start our tour at the top of the hill and slowly make our way back down to the main street of the town. Our first stop was at the St. Thomas’ Anglican Church. The church opened in 1836 and although it survived two fires a wind storm dislodged it from it’s foundation by 6 inches. Wings were eventually built on both sides of the church to stabilize it.
Our next stop was the residence of the Lieutenant Governor, Government House. The office of the Lieutenant Governor is mostly ceremonial.
The family was in residence so we could not go in, however, we were able to enter the front portico and peek inside. This beautiful home and the grounds are used for many ceremonial occasions and receptions throughout the year. We spent some time walking around the grounds and enjoying the beautiful gardens.
We continued our walk passed a lovely small, white house. I loved the windows in this house.
The next stop on our walk was the Colonial House. This neoclassical designed beautiful building was built in 1850 using white Irish limestone, beautiful columns and bears the Royal Coat of Arms. Unfortunately, we were not able to enter the building because it is under construction and will eventually reopen as a museum.
Our guide shared an interesting story about the beautiful ceiling frescos inside the building. Evidently, Polish painter had been imprisoned for passing bad checks. The government made a deal with him to paint the ceilings of the building in return for reducing his sentence. He did the work and it was beautiful. Unfortunately for him, the government only reduced his 15 month sentence by one month.
By now we had been walking for quite a while so our guide took us Bannerman Park for a rest and bathroom break. Within this lovely and colorful park is a gazebo, splash area, playground, pavilion, loop ice trail, pool and pathways around the park.
We continued our walk down Military Road to the Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. We stood outside while our guide gave us a history of the church and grounds. A funeral was in progress preventing us from entering the church.
The beautiful exterior pf the church was constructed of bluestone, quarried at Signal Hill. The entrance arch is made of granite with a marble statue of St. John the Baptist on top. What we could see of the church and grounds was beautiful.
We continued our walk down Bonaventure Avenue to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. The original building was badly damaged during the Great Fire of 1892. It was later rebuilt of brick.
Our next stop would be another beautiful church. We stopped at the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. We entered and were greeted by two docents who were kind enough to share a little history of the church with our group. One of the docents played the organ for us. It was quite lovely.
The church was so beautiful! Everyone walked quietly around the church admiring the stain-glass windows, the Eagle lectern, the altar, pulpit and more.
We continued our walk down Queens Road and saw a number of lovely homes. Walking down this street was a bit of a struggle because it was a very steep hill and the sidewalk was made up very deep steps. Like so many places we have visited on this trip a great fire consumed many of the wooden homes. After the fire the homes were built right next to each other (sharing walls) to expedite the sharing of heat; it was winter.
We stopped for a few moments at the Court House and then descended over a hundred steps down to Water Street. From here our guide said this is where she would say her goodbyes. However, she offered to take those who wanted to continue to George Street. We wanted to go to George Street to find a place to enjoy something to eat and a beer. So, off we went.
Our guide explained that George Street is a two-block long street with nothing but bars, pubs and restaurants. Evidently, the street is open to pedestrians only in the evening and some places do not close until the wee hours of the morning.
At the beginning of George Street was a sculpture called “A Time” by sculptor Morgan Macdonald. It was commissioned to celebrate the contribution of the Arts to the City of St. John’s and commemorate 2006 as the year the City of St. John’s was designated a Cultural Capital of Canada.
We said our goodbyes to our lovely guide and continued our walk along George Street trying to decide where to stop for lunch. Many places were closed because it was Labor Day in Canada. We finally chose a lovely looking pub called Green Sleeves Pub & Eatery.
What a find! The atmosphere was wonderful, great patio, the beer was ice cold and the food delicious. I must tell you that I really do not like fish but finding myself in a city that started as a fishing village, I decided to try.
I ordered the Fish & Chips. The fish was fresh local code prepared with a crispy local beer batter. The fish was served with house-made russet potato French fries and tartar sauce. When they brought out the plate there was a small bowl of brown gravy. I asked the people sitting behind us what the gravy was for. “It’s for dipping your French fries in,” they replied. I did and I liked it. We spent the rest of our lunch enjoying a wonderful conversation with this lovely Canadian couple.
After lunch we took a leisurely walk down Water Street looking for a shop to buy a magnet. We found one and returned to the ship.
After all that walking, we returned to the ship and sat on the balcony for a very long time just enjoying the view. Eventually, we prepared for cocktails and dinner.
Dinner was wonderful. I enjoyed yet another wonderful hot soup and then ate a delicious Beef Stroganoff meal. After dinner was served, our wonderful server Aleli brought by a dish filled with small maple cookies shaped in a maple leaf. These cookies were courtesy of the culinary staff and was given to every passenger. These tasty cookies were a very nice welcoming gift from our friends to the north, St. John’s Newfoundland Canada.
Tomorrow we are at sea again as we slowly cruise to our last port-of-call.