Sunday, May 27, 2012

Breakdown, Icebergs, whales, squid and biscuits

Well, its been a good couple of days - so heres the latest update to whats occuring with the gypsy...

Friday and a travel day for me to make my way to Saint John’s – The place where Marconi received the first ever wireless transatlantic message and also the most easterly point in North America. If you hadn’t realised how big Canada was by now, let me tell you. To get from where I am now to Manchester, is 2,200 miles. To get back to Winnipeg it is 2,006 miles. But Winnipeg is only HALFWAY across Canada. It’s a fucking big place.

It was a good day today. Firstly we had fun when the Airporter shuttle bus broke down on the motorway going to the airport. Something in the engine had shattered and punched a big hole in the radiator, so we sat on the hard shoulder, with green liquid seeping onto the road, until a nice man from a different shuttle company came by and stopped, dropping us at the airport with a smile and a wave before heading off on his way. Then after the flight, I walked the 8 kilometres to the hostel, as Saint John’s keeps seems to keep most of the locals in jobs by running a scam on the taxis. There are no buses to the airport and the taxis have a $17.50 levy on pickups from the airport. So, a 10 minute taxi ride covering 5 miles costs about £20. Unless you stick your middle digit up to the taxi and walk it like I did. Bollocks!!

Is it fucked??



Our friendly saviour!!

Iceberg...down below

and behind me.

The Hostel is great though. It’s a big old Victorian house with a massive room and only 3 beds. I’m currently sharing with Nico – another Brit and we have a great view out of our window over the harbour up to Signal Hill. Once I saw the view I decided to take a walk up the Hill, overlooking the town and saw some great views into the harbour and out to sea, where there are two big icebergs floating just off shore. It was windy as hell up there though so I came back down and went to a good local pub –The Duke - for fish and chips and a couple of pints with my dinner, before coming back home for some well earned rest. I like it here so far.

Jumping bergs

Saint Johns from Signal Hill

Halfway through my dinner

What is it with Coronation street round here?

Today was supposed to be a cloudy and rainy day, but the sun shone and it was lovely – plus I also had a great time. After s spot of late breakfast/early lunch, I went down to the harbour where I was booked onto a tour – Iceberg Quest. This is a boat tour that goes out of the harbour after telling you all the history of the city and heads for the nearest Iceberg. Luckily, as I saw yesterday when I flew here, there are Icebergs just outside the harbour. These have found their way here from west Greenland. We spent two hours on the boat and I loved every minute. Getting close up to Icebergs was brilliant. The two we saw were actually one big Iceberg a few weeks ago, but it has split. The largest one is about 20metres high above the water, about 50 metres long and 60 metres wide. However, it has grounded on the bottom the ocean, which is 300feet deep – about 100metres, so there’s a big lump of it we can’t see! It was amazing to see rivers of melting snow running off the thing into the sea and the eerie blue shape of the ice lurking under the water. We also saw a ‘Growler’ – a large lump of ice that has fell off – about 20 metres long and 5 metres wide that just bobbed in the sea and almost glowed blue. One of the ship hands managed to catch a piece of floating 15,000 year old ice and we all had a piece in a drink – I chose a nice Canadian Whiskey.  

Even better was to come though as we then started to see darker shadows in the sea and suddenly a burst of life as two minke whales broke through the waves just ahead of the boat. We watched them a few minutes before they disappeared never to be seen again. It was then time to head back to harbour, but it was a fantastic afternoon out.

These cool postboxes are everywhere

Its big

Very big

The 'small' growler


more nice

Getting closer

15000 year old ice in a canadian whisley

its over there

The whales......

In the evening I went down town in search of some dinner. I ended up having a great steak in a pub at the end of George Street – the street where all the night life happens. It was great, eating at the bar and listening to the live Celtic music. This place is like a mix between San Francisco and Ireland. It has the streets and the hills of SF along with the ‘artistic’ atmosphere. But with the Celtic feel and the obvious Celtic blood line running through the locals; it also feels a lot like Ireland. But surprisingly it has the best bits of both and not the worst ones. It’s a really cool place and I like it here the longer I stay.

Sunday was a quiet day. I went up to ‘The Rooms’. This is a museum and art gallery that sits atop the hill at the back of town overlooking the harbour and contains a lot of stuff about the history of Saint John’s and Newfoundland as well as art by local artists. It was a good couple of hours but not the most exciting day I have had out. The highlights were the stuffed Polar bear, some really cool photos, an awesome biscuit storage and display cabinet, a giant squid (more about that here - and the views over the town from the massive windows, which were worth the $7 entry fee on their own. I did enjoy my couple of hours there, but when I looked out of the window it looked like rain and my laundry was hanging out on the line so I went back to the hostel stopping for a quick look into the Basilica which sits just across the road and has a great ceiling and stain glassed windows.

I managed to get back in time to save my laundry from getting wet and I also took a few photos of the hostel. It’s a very unusual one as it’s actually in a house separate from the office and reception. But it has a great bathroom, kitchen and garden. I do ask myself some questions in weird places too and today I found myself wondering why bidets are square, whilst toilets are not and also why bidets do not have seats like toilets do!? Any ideas? 

The hostel bathroom...not too shabby

my room... just me and one other person at the moment

Biscuit display case!!


The Rooms...

..and the view

squid for dinner?

Jellybean houses are...


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