August 7, 2017, Over night ferry to Argentia, NFLD
81.8 miles, Pippy Park Campground, Newfoundland
The ferry arrived in Argentia Bay, Newfoundland around 9:00am, we were instructed to have our things ready to disembark, and there would be another announcement to let us know when we could go to the coach. Guy and I along with LaciLou headed up to the upper deck to watch the arrival and docking process. It had been raining all night and had just let up, we were hoping to see what the area would look like but there were low lying clouds, which gave the marina a very erie feeling. At about 10.00 we got the ok to head down to the coaches.
We had been very amazed with the loading process of the ferry, the parking lot was full of cars, trucks, motorhomes, motorcycles and even Polaris razors. It was fun watching the cars loading on the 2nd deck while the big trucks and motorhomes on the 3rd deck. Entering the ship we were behind Paul and Steve and Sharon and Steve, their motorhomes looked so small when compared to the size of the inside of the massive ship. We were lucky as our coach was 2nd in our line to head out the next day.
Our state room was on the 8th floor, we had twin beds, a desk and chair, a full bathroom and tv. There was a window but due to the rain and wind all we could see was the dark stormy sky and the rocking and rolling ocean. We had taken some meds the doctor had given me for sea sickness and my vertigo, so we breezed right thru the storm.
The ship had everything you could want, 2 bars, a lounge, casino, and 2 restaurants. The first place everyone converged in was the lounge, where we all had a little adult beverage. It was now 6:00pm and the line for the restaurant was long and slow, so there was no rush to head there.
Once we left the ferry the rough roads started, it was a little slow going. Our drive was not to far, we passed many campgrounds and beautiful ponds (we would call them lakes) along the way, with massive boulders and trees surrounding them. We thought yea, this is camping, but then we arrived at ours!! There were beautiful trees and shrubs in-between most of the sites if you were in a tent or small rig, with our large group and large rigs, we were out in the group section, no trees or a single shrub!! We also were in the row that had 50amps but it did not work most of the time. The electrician would arrive and said he fixed it but it stopped as soon as he drove away. I will say having solar sure does help keeping those batteries charged, thanks to RV Solar and Greg!!
St. John’s was surpirsing as we didn’t expect to see such a large city, there was every store and shopping mall that we have in the states. Our campground was surrounded with large government buildings.
Once we were settled we hopped in the truck with Steve and Sharon and headed to Quidi (Kiddy) Vidi Brewery which was in the quaint fishing village of Quidi Vidi. We took the factory tour and also the beer tasting. They brew 8 different kinds of beer. The most well known is “Iceberg” which is bottled in IceBlue bottles. What makes the beer so special is that its made with Iceberg water. They harvest the water from “Icebergs” called “Bitty Bergs” which are pieces broken from large icebergs. I am not a beer drinker so I was not impressed with the beer but the rest drank theirs.
The village sits at the mouth of the harbor that is surrounded by steep cliffs, the fishing sheds line one side of the harbor. In winter icebergs will get stuck in the mouth of the harbor and close it off. The streets are so narrow only one car at a time can drive on them. The houses are hundreds of years old, most needing rappers of some kind. They sit so close to the street there is no sidewalk, the front doors open onto the street. Down the side of the houses and in the back are rows of firewood ready for the winter season.
One night we were invited to a: “Newfie Screech-In and Kitchen party and Newfie Ceremony”.
What is that you ask…..The kitchen party consisted of dinner, Newfie style, yellow pea soup and biscuits.
In order to be an Honarary Newfoundland (NFLD) you must wear a sou’wester (yellow slicker hat) , the host then asks the question, “ Is ye an honorary Newfoundlander?”, we answer with “Deed I is me ol’ cock, and long may your big jib draw” You then drink a shot of Screech rum and kiss a Cod fish or the arse of a puffin!! We then received a Newfie Certificate!!
An other lady showed up with “Ugly Sticks”, and a cd player.
What is an “Ugly Stick”? Well, it consists of a carved stick, with multiple bottle caps placed on screws on the stick, a head of some sort (can painted with a face, or a doll head), there is usually a boot or shoe on the other end. You shake these and pound the floor with them to the beat of the music. Let’s just say they make lots of noise but keeping time with the music…not so much!
A bus tour was lined up for the next day for our sightseeing St. John’s highlights. We had a short stop at the Lieutenant Governors home. Then on we went to Signal hill, this is where a fort was built in the 17th century, it overlooks the city and out into the ocean.
When we arrived we could see 25-30 whales not to far off shore, they were blowing water, splashing around, but they did not breach nor did we see their tails come completely out of the water, I think the tour guide was a little disappointed as no one was listening to her. I have lots of ocean pictures with black dots in them…could be anything! Everyone stood trying to capture that perfect whale picture!!
We then headed out to Cape Spear lighthouse, which is the eastern most point in North America. The lighthouse was completed in 1835 but was not activated until 1836 as the lantern and lighting had not arrived from Britain.
The area around the lighthouse was pretty barren, with lots of rocks with low lying shrubs. From where we stood we could look back to where we had just been at Signal Hill. The views were outstanding of the coastline and surrounding area.
There was a stop at the Presentation Convent at Cathedral Square to view the
“Veiled Virgin” .
The statue is carved from Carrara marble by Giocanni Strazza and was imported from Rome in December 1856. The work is meticulously crafted, the facial features and the braids in the hair are clearly visible through the stone veil. When standing at the side you can see her eyelashes. The sisters at the convent kept the statue on a small rickety table in the center of their living room and could have been knocked over at any time. They decided to have it appraised and were astonished at its worth, it now sits in a glass enclosed case.
Newfoundland and Labrador are deeply colorful places, slightly off-kilter with the rest of the world. Around here, there is no beige. Instead, you will find colourful place names, colorful houses, colorful landscapes, a colorful culture, and colorful characters – more shades, tones, and hues than you ever thought possible. You will not find this much color in any town in the States.
As we were driving around the city of St John’s which is known for the vibrantly colored row houses, called Jelly Bean Row, Sharon and I were hanging out the windows with our cell phones snapping pictures like crazy. We were trying to capture all the colors that line the streets. The candy colored houses help give the city is distinctive character. Jelly bean row is really a visual site to see. There is really not just one row of the candy colored houses and businesses they are every where thru the city.
No matter where you walk in downtown St John’s, around every corner, you will come across houses that are vibrante in color. Even in dullest of days your spirits will be lifted with all the color. It sure was delightful to see all the different colors mixed together.
None of the colors match…there could be a vibrant green door on a purple house, or red with bright blue. The streets are steeply graded with all the houses connecting to one another lining the streets. These houses are often crooked and in need of repairs, but they are sure unique and capture the spirit for which they were meant to be…a happy place.
Artists have now been capturing the essence of Jelly Bean Row with paintings, stationary, cards, coffee mugs, wooden blocks, placemats, teeshirts.
Our stay in St John’s was a wonderful time but went by so fast, it was now time to head to Bonavista, Newfoundland to see the Puffins.
Y’all come on back to check out what it’s like and what fun things we do while there. Y’all have a Blessed Week until next time.