It took 2 days to drive from our home to North Sydney, Nova Scotia. From there we sailed on a Marine Atlantic ferry that looks just like this other ferry that was in the harbour at the same time.
This was our cabin for the 8 – 1/2 hour sail. I shared a bottom bunk with my 10-year old daughter. It was a bumpy ride and the kids and I needed to take Gravol (dimenhydrinate or dramamine). I always carry some with me on long trips.
The ferry docked at Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, at 2:30 in the morning (!) We stayed here for the rest of the night and continued on the next day. We still had 2 days of driving before arriving at St. John’s.
One of the small towns where we stopped was Gander. On 9/11, planes flying along the east coast of North America were re-routed to this town. The generous townspeople showed what Newfoundland spirit and hospitality are all about as they pooled resources and opened their homes and other facilities to stranded air passengers, housing them for about one week. Gander is a military town and in the air force museum there is a moving tribute dedicated to that day in history. This bulletin board displays just a few of the letters sent from all over the world thanking the people of Gander for their kindness. You can see the edge of one of the books that contain the other letters.
The view from the passenger window on the drive to St. John’s. God shows his beauty in nature. Awesome!
For the first week, we rented a rowhouse that looks just like the ones in the picture. They’re called jelly bean houses because of their bright colours and they make a very striking site to ships entering the harbour. Many of the streets of downtown St. John’s look like this. We walked everywhere and it all seemed to be uphill.
The Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is a ten minute walk from the house so I attended morning Mass each day. The Basilica is one of the tallest, and certainly, one of the most striking structures visible to incoming ships. It was built in 1854.
The main altar. I took a ridiculous number of pictures of the church.
On April 12, 1980, 22-year old Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope by dipping his artificial leg in St. John’s Harbour. Terry had lost his leg to cancer and it was his ambition to run across Canada raising money and awareness to fight cancer. He ran 5,373 km in 143 days but had to abandon his dream in Thunder Bay, Ontario, when the cancer returned. Terry Fox died on June 28, 1981. This is Mile Zero, near the spot where he dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean.
Signal Hill National Historic Site overlooks St. John’s. It was here that Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless signal from Cornwall, England, a distance of 2100 miles. Signal Hill served as harbour defense for St. John’s from the 18th century until WWII.
The view from atop Signal Hill.
We drove to Cape Spear, the most easterly point of land in North America. The sun rises here first on the whole continent.
After our week in St. John’s, we rented a cabin in Flatrock, Newfoundland. This was our backyard.
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, Flatrock, Newfoundland is a five minute walk from the cabin. Dug into the side of a cliff, the people of Flatrock and nearby Pouch Cove began construction in 1954 and it was completed in 1958.
The life-size marble crucifix at the top of the cliff overlooks the harbour of Killick Bay.
Bl. John-Paul II visited the shrine in 1984 on his first visit to Canada.
We went whale watching but didn’t see any whales.
But we saw small island caves that are nesting grounds for a variety of birds.
The only moose we saw was at Salmonier Nature Park.
When in Newfoundland, you have to eat lobster, after my son stops playing with them.
Picnicking by a lighthouse. Priceless!
We couldn’t get enough of the scenery.
If you look closely, you can see the red cabin where we stayed. It’s beside the little blue house which is also on the property. I took this picture from the trail that runs through and behind the property.
“O Lord, our sovereign, how majestic is Your name in all the Earth” Psalm 8
Ah, Newfoundland. I miss you so!