Day 28 – St John’s to London

Walked with Philippa in the morning to The Roomswhich is a Museam and archives facility overlooking the city.

Fergus wanted to ask about some family who had ties to the shipping trade in Newfoundland and Poole. Found out his family once owned a very large shipping company who had their headquarters on an island called Fogo, we plan to visit the island on our way back to Banff. There is more information about the company Here. Took some photos of the view and carried on into town.Wandered the streets of St John’s looking at souvineer and craft shops and viewing the massive ships moored in the docks. It’s a very busy and lively city, smaller that I’d expected it to be but very pretty, just like a small fishing village just on a larger scale. Met up with Ben for lunch and he took us to a funky little cafe called Rocket Bakery where we had a chicken burrito each. It was a nice place, quite hipster and lots of  city types and young families enjoying speciality coffee and slightly overpriced food. Fergus and I headed through town to walk up Signal Hill which is  St. John’s most popular landmark. It offers coastal hikes and sweeping views overlooking the Atlantic and is the site of St. John’s harbour defences.We did the North Head Trail which is the oldest and most popular of the trails on Signal Hill. It follows a trail along the narrows to the North Head. 

The trail started off relatively easy, walked around the hills on steps and boardwalks, lots of runners passed us and we passed others going at a more leisurely pace. Stopped to look at Whales a couple of times and watch a ship entering the harbour. The trail winded around the cliffs and at one point the path was so narrow a chain was attached to the rock face for safety, the stairs climbed up to the point where the track dissappared and you could wander around the rocks.We walked around the point and as we did the wind died down and the heat really increased. Watched more whales off the point before climbing a huge staircase to the top of the hill. It was tough going!I went up Cabot Tower, the fortification on the top of the hill where the  final battle of the Seven Years’ War in North America was fought in 1762 in which the French surrendered St. John’s to a British force. Walked back down the trail on the opposite side of the hill towards Quidi Vidi, a small cove with a brewery. That path was not as steep but still had great views of the ocean before descending into forest where Bald Eagles nest and then onto the cute little cove.There wasn’t a bar at the brewery and I didn’t really want to do a tour so went to a very quirky pub called Inn of Olde. It is a funny place, stuff is all over the walks and roof, number plates, hockey sticks, newspaper clippings, Christmas decorations, you name it. I’ll definately return there when we come back to St John’s as I hear it’s quite a lovely place. Just had one beer before the long walk back to the house.once back at the house we packed up the stuff we wanted to take and the stuff we wanted to leave in Canada and cleaned and organised the car. 

We then had a lovely dinner with Ben and Philippa of Salmon, sausages, salad, chips and pasta salad. It was such a nice meal and had a good chat while enjoying an Old Fashioned. Caught a cab to the airport at 9:45 and flew out around midnight. 

Bye bye Canada!


Victoria – starting our journey on the island

After packing our gear yet again we walked down to Port Angeles ferry terminal to get the Coho ferry over to Vancouver Island, back to Canada, yay!

On arrival we met a fellow Toadlily house occupant, a young German guy, I cannot for the life of me remember his name though and in the line to get our passports stamped we found Ian from Australia! 

Once on the ferry we settled inside, close to the front and got a bite to eat and chatted about the next leg of our journeys. We were couchsurfing in Victotia and the boys were going to hitch to Vancouver. 

On hearing that whales had been spotted outside we all rushed out to have a look. It as really windy but we did see some spray from their blowholes. It was a beautiful day but cold out on the water.

On arrival in Victoria, which I must say is a beautiful town we were surprised at its size. It’s very English, green, colourful and inviting and has a stunning harbour.

We passed through immigration easily (although Ian got a bit of a grilling about not working while staying with his mate in Whistler which I found amusing) we walked over to a park and had a lie down. Fergus and I had to wait around for an hour or so before getting the bus to our host’s house as she was at work until 5. The boys changed some money and then headed off to the main road to put their thumbs out.

We caught the local bus 45 minutes up to the North Eastern part of town near the University of Victoria. A very lovely part of town with lots of new builds, wide roads, parks and big houses. Our host, Kiyomi was there to meet us and showed us around her flat. She is from a small town near the boarder with Alaska and shares the flat with her boyfriend who was away working for 2 months in a remote fishing resort. So she hosts surfers for company. We had a bed in the big lounge room which was really comfy. 

On our first night we went to the Smugglers Cone pub at Cadboro bay for dinner. It was a place Kiyomi recommended a 20 minute walk from her flat, she kindly gave us a lift down there on her way to a friends birthday. I ordered the Poutine which was yummy but so big and Fergus had fish and chips.

After dinner we went for a stroll along the busy little beach. There were families playing in the playground, people enjoying the last of the sun on deck chairs, a couple paddle boarding, dog walkers and of course, people playing Pokemon Go. After relaxing a bit we walked home and had an early night. Watched half of Wedding Crashers.

The next morning Kiyomi very kindly made us an omelette each before we headed into town. Tried to get the bus from near her flat and after standing at the stop for at least 30 minutes someone pulled over and said the bus we were waiting for doesn’t run in the mornings. Bah! Went back to the flat to use the wifi to figure out another route but Kiyomi gave us a lift to a stop closer to town on her way to the gym. She is so nice! 

Town was heaving! There was their annual Northwest Deuce Days car show on as well as a street artist festival and market! There were people everywhere.

Fergus and I looked around at some of the amazingly beautiful cars and headed towards the harbour where we had a Greek wrap from a food van for lunch. Watched a street performer for a bit and then wandered around the markets near the waterfront. All really nice stuff but I can’t buy anything as I’d have to carry it around so we just looked. Got an ice cream from a place that had 74 different flavours. Wow! 

After looking around more vintage cars, streets and streets of them (there were over 1100 there) we decided to have a rest in the park next to the British Columbia Legislate building where there were speakers blasting out rock and roll. The sun was hot, but not as hot as it has been on the East coast so we happily sat there for nearly an hour and watched some of the prize giving for the best cars.

After resting we headed up the hill to Beacon Hill Park. This is a huge park near town that is really varied with its scenic areas. There are rocky mounds, pristine, green lawns surrounded by flower beds, lakes with Terrapins and ducks in them, huge trees, areas of long, dry as a bone grass, and even the worlds tallest Totem pole. It was a lovely place to wander around. One of the best parks we have visited so far on our travels. 

We headed right down to the end of the park and down onto the pebbled beach. We could see over to Port Angeles which was draped with a thin layer of mist,  the Olympic mountains above the town and over to mainland Canada to the West.

We climbed over the rocks and large driftwood trees on the beach around the point and then up some steps back onto the road. From there we headed back into town and went to a supermarket for some supplies for dinner that evening. Took the bus home and cooked noodles again. Kiyomi was working a late shift but was home by 9. An Australian guy named Sam was also staying that night. We was here to start a tour company and had a tour leaving Victoria the following day. Chatted about that for a while then went to bed pretty exhausted and very sunburnt.