Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bonavista, Newfoundland

Wharf at Bonavista.  The blue building with the red roof houses a replica of John Cabot's ship  The Matthew.  He landed near the lighthouse below in 1497.   

Museum in Bonavista tells the story of a very wealthy businessman that controlled the fishing industry in this area in the early 1900's.  He was not very well liked by the fisherman because he paid them so low.   Unions were finally formed.  Mr. Cocker was a very avid advocate and formed the union.  It was headquartered a  few miles from Bonavista and the town that grew out of it was called Port Union.
Salted cod drying on racks.

Bonavista lighthouse near where Cabot landed.

 With the moratorium on the cod fishing in 1992, over 30,000 lost their jobs.  Elliston could not even afford to keep their lights on.  The city leaders got together and formed a committee to encourage tourism.   Not only is it a wonderful place to see the Puffins, but also they are known for their abundance of root cellars.  One festival that they have in Elliston they serve a jigg dinner which is a stew using vegetables from the root cellars.

 Puffins come to this area to mate in May and stay through mid to late August.  After the chicks are able to fly, they migrate off shore and spend the rest of the year out in the ocean.

 Port Union, home of the fisherman's union.  Brick building is where the Advocate newspaper was published and housed the offices of the union in the early 1900's to mid 1900's.
Trinity, just another beautiful town in Newfoundland.  This is where the movie "The Shipping News" was filmed.

 Cliff dancing to Newfy music with an "Ugly Stick".    We were "screeched-in" which means drinking a shot of screech rum (bottom of the barrel), and kissing a dead cod.  Really disgusting.  We are now official "Newfy's".   This dinner was put on by the local chapter of the Cocker Historical Foundation.  These ladies made us quite a dinner including moose sausages, and fish & brew. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bell Island, Newfoundland

 Another quaint little fishing village.  We toured a brewery in this little town called Quidi Vidi.  Their best beer is made from iceberg water.
 The Rooms museum in St. John's.  Unusual art if you ask me.
 Bell Island near lighthouse.

 We toured the mine on Bell Island.  It operated 70 years with only 106 fatalities.  The mine shafts extended 3 miles under the ocean.   In the early 1900's, they used horses to move the carts full of ore.  The horses would be on a 30 day shift.  When they were brought back up from underground, the miners had to keep the horses eyes covered and gradually take the layers of coverings over their eyes off so they could adjust to the day light.

St. John's, Newfoundland

The ferry to Newfoundland is huge.  It holds 531 cars.  It took over 2 hours just to load.  We left North Sidney around midnight and arrived in Newfoundland the next day around 4:00 Newfy time.  It's actually 1/2 hour ahead of Atlantic time (or 1 1/2 hours ahead of Eastern time).  We had a very nice cabin with a window.  The dining room was not as luxurious as a cruise liner, but very nice for an overnight crossing.  Below is a picture of the cars and campers lined up waiting to be loaded.  We were entertained while we waited by a band playing Newfoundland music.

Cape Spear is North America’s most easterly point.  It lies just a few miles southeast of St. John’s.  The light house is surrounded by remains of World War II gun batteries.

Petty Harbor is a small fishing village just South of St. John’s.   A local fisherman came out to talk to several of us on the caravan showing us a picture of the harbor in the 1940’s.  Newfy’s love to talk  and we love to listen.

Reenactment of a battle (Royal Newfoundland Regiment)  in the late 1700’s. 

View of St. John's and coastline from Signal Hill.

Signal Hill is on the northeast side of St. John’s and gives stunning views back across the city, down the coast, and out into the Atlantic Ocean.  It served as part of a British signaling system in the 1700’s.  News of friendly or hostile ships was flagged from Cape Spear to Signal Hill, where the message was conveyed to Ft. William in town.   Cabot Tower was built in the 1800’s on top of Signal Hill. 

The Veiled Virgin is located in the convent at the Basilica Cathedral in St. John’s.   The Beautiful marble statue of the Virgin Mary was imported from Rome in 1856.  It was sculptured by the internationally acclaimed Italian sculptor, Giovanni Strazza (1818-1875) from Milan.  His work may be seen in the Vatican and also in the Cathedral at Milan.  The nuns graciously allow visitors inside the convent to see this beautiful sculpture and other art work and furnishings from the 1800’s when the convent was built.

The Lt. Governor was hosting his annual tea on the grounds of his estate.  Most of the locals were dressed up with hats and coats and ties for the men.   The Lt. Governor is in the picture below with the coat and tie on.  They had a band playing and served tea and other refreshments. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

We went to the Alexander Graham Bell (invented the telephone) museum in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.  Bell loved kids and spent a lot of time helping the hearing impaired.  He had an extraordinary range of interests including aeronautics, agriculture, genetics, marine engineering, to name a few.  He did a lot of experiments using kites to perfect the early airplanes.  The museum has many kites the kids who are visiting can use in front of the building. What a beautiful view of  Bras d'Ora Lake.

 St. Peters cathedral in Cheticamp.

 View along the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton National Park near Pleasant Bay.
 Keltic Lodge near Ingonish on a small peninsula called Middle Head.  Very nice and very expensive.

Only campground we've been in so far that I could get a picture of all 23 rigs.  We're in the middle with the maroon truck.  Most campgrounds we are spread out more than this.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Memorial to the Swiss Air victims at Baywaters, Nova Scotia (SW of Halifax)

Halifax    Story of 3 disasters.

1912    April 15 the Titantic hits an iceberg off of Newfoundland. Out of 2200 passengers, only 700 survived.    4 ships from Halifax were able to recover 328 bodies.   Each body was given a number with a description as best they could.   All clothing and jewelry were put in a canvas bag with their number.  121 are buried at the Fairview Cemetery in Halifax.  Many were never identified, so the only thing marking their graves is the number given them . 
1917   A ship carrying TNT headed for England at the beginning of World War I, was pulling into the Halifax harbor when it was hit by another ship.  It initially caught fire and was abandoned by the crew.  It continued to float  toward the city and then exploded killing over 2000 people and leveling a good part of the city.
1998    Swiss Air Flight 111 with smoke in the cabin was trying desperately to make it to the Halifax airport.   It crashed killing all 229 aboard.  2 memorials were built to honor the victims.  At Bayswater, the remains that could be recovered were buried in a common grave. 

Where remains were buried in a common grave.   The points of the triangle below are Baywaters, Whaleswatch (near Peggy's Cove), and the 3rd point is where the crash occurred.

Lighthouse at Peggy's Cove (SW of Halifax).


Peggy's Cove is a quaint little fishing village and a huge tourist attraction.  The rocks deposited by glaciers at the end of the Ice Age, makes this little village so picturesque.
Marker of a child lost in the Titantic catastrophe.  Originally unknown but later identified and name was placed on monument.

121 graves of victims are buried here in Fairview Cemetery,  Halifax.

The Citadel was built in the early 1800's and was used until the late 1800's, but never was in a battle.  These soldiers had a little trouble getting this canon to fire, but eventually got it to fire.  Below was the changing of the guard.

On the boardwalk in downtown Halifax.

We took a tour of Keith's brewery which is one of the oldest in North America.  Actors in period dress gave us the tour and acted the parts perfectly.   It was very entertaining as was the sampling of the beer.
We took a sail boat ride on this ship around the Halifax harbor.

The tall ship Lady Baltimore entering the Halifax harbor.  The Tall Ship festival is in Halifax this weekend.  We missed the festival, but got to see several of these majestic ships.