Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Buskers Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia

We flew Porter Airlines from Newfoundland to Halifax, where we had parked our car. We have been talking about going to the Buskers Festival in Halifax for several years now, and this trip coincided with it. So we went for a walk in the morning to see what was going on.

We passed by Winston Churchill who appeared to be giving this sleeping man a very disapproving glare!

Barb and Ed and a flowery lobster!

Now this is what I love about Ed...Barb handed off her jacket and purse to him to hold. Ed was looking for a hoodie in this store, and it didn't faze him a bit that he was shopping while holding Barb's gold purse. Well, it does go with everything...

I would like to say it was hot and sunny in Halifax, but that would be a downright lie. It was bloody cold! These performers were freezing. It was the middle of August, in the middle of the afternoon, and we all had jackets on. Crazy weather!

They were incredibly strong.

This guy was hysterically funny...he had the same dour look on his face and never said a word throughout the whole performance. His little "volunteer" did everything to avoid looking at him. He so did not want to be up there!

The performer kept blowing up balloons and sticking them under his feet or handing them to him to hold. The little guy just kept looking at his father.

This was too funny...he managed to hand him the balloon, still without looking at him. We cracked up!

He picked this little guy out of the crowd, stuck a jacket on him, and had him stick his fingers in the air...

He had no idea why everyone was laughing...

Then he pulled the jacket into a knot over his head and started to dance with him. You had to be there!

These little guys actually did volunteer and were waiting to see what they would do...

A chain of little bowling balls...

This Irish duo had everyone laughing with their crazy antics...

I think they picked the biggest, burliest guys to "volunteer" as part of the act.

I was quite looking forward to this Australian act. They perform their fire act in the evening once it gets dark, but gave us a taste of it. Sadly, they ended up being one of our least favourite acts, but you couldn't fault their physiques!

Hula hoops everywhere!

The buskers were fun and then it was time to head home to Fredericton. It was Barb and Ed's first time here, so we went to St. Andrews one day to have my most favourite bread pudding. Finally, we were getting some nice weather! This beautiful church was built in 1824.

And no visit to St. Andrews is complete without a drive by the Pansy Patch house. It was built in 1912 and resembles a Normandy farm house. It is currently for sale for just under $600,000 should you be interested...

And of course, the beautiful Algonquin Hotel...

Now it seems like after St. Andrews, I just put my camera away, because I don't have one picture of Barb and Ed in Fredericton. We went on a lovely boat ride at sunset on the St. John River, but I honestly did forget the camera that night.

We had a great time with our "cruising" friends. It's nice to know we travelled together well on land, too!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Foggy Trip Around the Irish Loop!

The next morning we decided that fog or no fog, we were going to do a tour around the Irish Loop. It starts in St. John's and heads south into the heart of Irish Newfoundland before looping back to St. John's. It is known for its scenery, wildlife and whales...and fog!

We arrived in Bay Bulls, one of the oldest communities in Newfoundland. You can take tour boats from here to see the ecological reserves, but somehow we didn't think we would see too much, and no one came running out to greet us!

An oil rig servicing can see the coils of pipe that are used to bring oil to the ships for collection.

We headed along Route 10 and noticed this little pond. What the heck? Someone has done an incredible job of making these models.

Complete with little people and buildings...

And across the road was this glass case with a scene of the Newfoundland seal fishery "The Way it Was." Obviously carving is a great winter hobby!

This shows the waterfront in St. John's in the early 1900s with the salt fish ready for market.

This is Ferryland. Doesn't it look a little desolate? Of course, everything does in the fog and drizzle. Ferryland is the site of an active archaeological dig. It was the first successful permanent colony in Newfoundland and had a population of 100 by 1625. It was destroyed by the French in the late 1600s and was forgotten until artifacts were uncovered and excavations began in 1980s.

This church was one of the last stone churches to be built in Newfoundland.

It was really windy and this lookout had some great waves!

From Ferryland, it was on to Trepassey where Amelia Earhart left as a passenger on the Friendship in 1928. She became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.

We stopped in at the Portugal Cove Visitor Centre which offers tours to the world renown Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve. It's the only place in the world where Precambrian animal fossils are so abundant that they cover exposed areas the size of tennis courts. Huh! Who knew!

Nearby Cape Race was the site of the first wireless station in Newfoundland built in 1904. It was the only land based location that received a distress signal from the Titanic, and it played a major role in relaying news of the sinking to other ships and land locations.

We had lunch at the Trepassey Motel, and there was a lot of excitement in the restaurant as a local girl was being married that day.

We were back on our route when Ed, who was driving, pulled over to the side of the road and said "There's another one!" Another one what? Another carved village! Trust the driver to see it and none of the passengers!

Wow! What a lot of work!

There was a church, lots of fishing shanties, businesses and a school with little characters...

And this...the three wise men??

The Irish Loop is over 300 km, and by the time we got back, everyone was pooped. It was a great day, but I am sure we missed so much of the scenery because of the fog.

The next morning we decided to give Signal Hill another try. Signal Hill was the site of harbour defences for St. John's from the 18th century to WWII.

You cannot imagine how strong the winds were! In the gift shop, the girl said she was surprised they were still open. You seriously had to brace yourself when standing!

A view of St. John's from Signal Hill as it would have looked in 1831. Look at the ship coming into the harbour in the bottom left corner. The opening into the harbour is tiny! No wonder it is called The Narrows.

As it is today...or what you could see of it in the fog!

Right at the opening into the harbour is Fort Amherst. The first lighthouse in Newfoundland was built here in 1810, and the current one was built in 1951. The British fort was completed in 1777 and guarded the mouth of the St. John's harbour, but none of the original fortifications remain today.

Taking a break from our history lesson, I spotted this big snail. So interesting! I always thought their shells were upright on their bodies, not laying down. At least that's how you always see them in drawings and cartoons!

Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless transmission here in 1901.

Signal Hill today...

And as it was in 1933. You can see the transmission tower on the left.

And here come Barb and Ed down the hill trying to get away from the wind and the rain!

Trying to get out of the rain, we decided to visit The Fluvarium. There are nine viewing windows below ground level where you can watch the brown trout and salmon swimming by in their natural habitat.

Or you could, if there hadn't been so much rain that the water was all murky! And this was the best of the nine windows...

But they did have lots of aquariums where you could see trout and eels...

And frogs...

And then to complete our day we drove by this beach area to see some more waves.

It was so beautiful! When I got back in the car, I could lick the salt off my lips!

Listen to the wind...

This water from this waterfall near the road was rushing down...

And it was back to town again. We had lovely meals and met great people. How could we complain about the weather, when this is all they have had all summer!

And with that, our time in St. John's was over. We would love to come back. It really is a beautiful city!

Now we're heading to Halifax for the Buskers Festival...