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The big yellow thing in the sky!

15 Jun 2014 by Dominique Chiasson in Culture , History and St. John’s
Region: Avalon

It’s round, bright and yellow. What is it? It’s the sun! It came out this morning bright and early. Out we went to photograph the colourful houses in St. John’s… up, down and across the streets.

They’re everywhere!


We had a late breakfast or early lunch at Red Oak in The Rooms Museum. Can you see the little bee lights?

Great views, great food. A walk along Water St., lots of people enjoying the day and a stop at the Rocket Bakery. What a place!... families, couples, everybody enjoying the ambiance! Great feeling! My coconut lime pastry helped for sure!!

Quidi Vidi was our next stop, a big event at the Brewery and at The Plantation resulted in both closing early for the day, so we just walked around, enjoyed the village, lots of hikers on the surrounding hills.

That big yellow thing should be out again tomorrow. Youppi!

On a cruise ship, passengers have 6 to 8 hours on shore at any given port. I truly don’t know how they will do it in St. John’s. I hope they'll take tons of tours and walk around and shop a lot. and not waste a second!We’ll be here for a total of 4½ days and I can’t get enough of the city! Help!

Sunday, we decided to go church-seeing.  We started with the St. John the Baptist Basilica(Catholic). How grand and richly decorated! I was captivated by the amazingly detailed work on the ceiling. Built in 1841 with bluestone from Southside Hills across the harbour, the Basilica’s location on top of the hill is a well known beacon for St. John’s.

Then, it was on to St. John the Baptist Cathedral(Anglican). Wow! We even got a short tour between two services. Although the parish was established in 1699 and 6 wooden churches were built previously on the site, construction of the stone cathedral was started in 1847 and completed in 1885… Unfortunately, except for its walls, this very impressive house of worship  was heavily damaged in the big fire of 1892 which also included the loss of most of the parishioners belongings stored inside it. It was rebuilt and completed in 1905.

The light colored stones are from Scotland and the darker ones are also bluestone from Newfoundland.  It has very thick walls and the ceiling is all wood. Very simple looking and yet so grand! Their Casavant organ has 3,564 pipes! If that wasn’t enough, the choir, the canons’ stalls and the woodwork in the chancel are intricately sculpted in oak and are simply gorgeous. Another must-see!

For the remainder of this sunny and quiet Sunday morning, we did the  public art tour on foot which showed the location of murals and statues around town. We used a new map distributed by the tourist information office… another great way to learn about the history of St. John’s. I’m telling you, I can’t get enough!

In the afternoon, we went back to Quidi Vidi for a tour of the Brewery. I don’t drink alcohol, but it sure seemed like they were generous with their tastings of five of their seven beers. Guests seemed to enjoy every drop.

Then it was on to the Quidi Vidi Plantation, an airy and beautiful, naturally-lit building brightened my day even more, if it’s possible… I talked to a couple of artisans, and saw pieces made with cotton woven as inserts on pillows  from Morgaine Parnham and antler-and-cup sculptures in clay from Mike Flarity.

I finished the day with a nice walk around the Battery area in the company of many hikers and joggers going up to Signal Hill. I know…jogging uphill in 20°C weather…on Sunday. No way!

I have never seen so many people walking, hiking and jogging with friends, kids, dogs… in a city with so many hills….

Would you believe it’s going to rain tomorrow and I’m  thankful…. good reason to do the museum tour, hoping for two or three.