Friday, September 26, 2014

Ruby Princess, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, Friday, September 19, 2014

I happened to be awake when the ship pulled in to "The Narrows" at St. John's, Newfoundland.  It is 6:30 a.m., still dark enough for all the lights to still be on.  The Cape Spears lighthouse is signaling to us.....and signals the most eastern point of North America.  There is something almost mystical about coming in to a port while it is still dawn....

When I look behind, it is hard to believe that this giant vessel came through such a small, narrow passage.  It's quite evident why it is called "The Narrows".

Catch a glimpse of Cabot Tower, built from 1897-1900 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Cabot's landfall in North America and also the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.  This point was home to US antiaircraft guns in WW II.

Here to greet us is a "Newfie", the affectionate name for the Newfoundland dog.  This picture is for you, Bob and Barbara!

As in other ports, there are volunteers all over town to assist the visitors with questions.  It is an extra special day because it is the inaugural stop of the Ruby Princess in St. John's.  Later, the mayor and other city dignitaries along with a band will honor the Commodore of our ship and present the plaque.  We were informed there is a "hop on, hop off" we and 2,000 other people try to take it.  Well, the city may be excited about the Ruby Princess stopping for the first time, but the "season is over" and there are only 2 buses!!!!  This kind woman tried to warn us that service would be slow...."what do we care?  we have all day!"  It was a nightmare....we got on, but could not sit, move, get off for fear of never getting back on!  The driver called the home office in distress....people were shouting, shoving, irate and ugly!!!!  One man shouted:  "It's these damn Americans!"  Perhaps he did not know where he was......guarantee you, the Americans didn't have anything to do with this screw up.  The Asians were trampling over made for some memories, but not very good pictures.  We were on the bloody bus for TWO hours!!!!!

We are docked right in the center of town, dwarfing everything and everyone around -- much like Charleston.

Random shots from a moving bus amidst a staggering mass of humanity.

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Museum and gallery named "The Rooms"

We are FINALLY off the bus!  Now looking for a place with wifi to work on our blog.  We gave up on touring.  We are desperate as you may tell by the look on Tom's face.  This is the temporary entrance to Tim Hortons, a Canadian chain that is being purchased by Burger King.  We have tried several places and no one has wifi fast enough to service the picture downloading.....we give up and go back to the ship for a quick lunch.

While onboard, we get a suggestion of a place to find wifi, so we head back out on the streets.  St. John's is colorful beyond description!!!!  It is known for its old wooden houses painted all shades of bright colors....many of the mailboxes display colorful row houses and there are souvenir plaques sold everywhere showing the colorful old buildings and homes.  This is one of my very favorite pictures!!!!

Attention all dog lovers!!!!!

Bronze sculptures in the waterfront park....the Labrador....


and the Newfoundland....

According to what we read here, the Lab is a mix of Newfies and English setters and/or pointers -- a smaller breed more suited for hunting and water mobility.


Parking meters are not near the parking

He's not a Royal Mountie, just a city cop

As  we leave St. John's, we take pictures of the walk that we took when we were here 4 years ago.  We noted that it is advertised as "strenuous".  We both agreed that is an understatement.  Perrilous would be more accurate!  But we didn't know that at the time until we were well in to the walk!!!!!  We started at the edge of town.......

We stopped here to chat with the owner of the red house down on the water.  At this point, we were just charmed with the whole thing...

then it became isolated, windy, a few minor guard rails.......

We turned around after about 3-4 miles!!!!  for a total of 6-8 miles!!!!  My, what a difference 4 years can make!

People are lined up on the summit, waving....and 5 or 6 rescue/commercial ships are all blowing their horns to music to bid us bon voyage.....

Notice how close we are to the shore, the boulders, the rocks

And looking back again, we salute the Commodore's navigational skills!  Next stop, Brooklyn Pier and home!