We were excited for our trip to St John’s. We’d heard from a number of travellers we met at the Hostel in Bonavista and throughout out travels about how nice it is and how much stuff there is to do. Coming from a small, quiet town we were really keep to see what this city has to offer!
We decided to couchsurf again, since this was an unplanned week – it hadn’t been budgeted for at all and we couldn’t afford the accommodation here. We stay with two hosts; (1) a family of 4, Mum, Dad and two little boys and (2) a Newfie couple who went to University here and settled in St John’s.
Day 1: Monday 15th
We drove from Bonavista to St John’s, a good 3 hour drive and we made sure to stop off at our favourite café: The Two Whales Café for a brownie and coffee to go. It was a pretty uneventful day, we stopped off at Walmart and No Frills to kick-start our healthy eating, so arrived at our couchsurfing hosts home around 6/7pm. Just in time for the kids bedtime which gave us plenty of time to unpack, have a quick dinner and go to bed.
Day 2: Tuesday 16th
WE WENT ON AN ICEBERG TOUR! I’d been looking forward to this for weeks, our original tour fell through so we went with the award winning Iceberg Quest. The tour was on the expensive side $70 +tax each but we did get up close and personal with a ‘berg – only one. The captain of the boat did give a really interesting insight into life at the harbour. Unfortunately, despite having been on boats, ferries and sailed I succumbed to a bout of sea sickness which made the 2 hour tour a little touch-and-go!
Day 3: Wednesday 17th
After a rather rocky day, we decided to go to the most eastern point on Northern America – Cape Spear. It was incredibly windy but due to the altitude it was amazing to see the fog roll in and out of surrounding areas.
After visiting Cape Spear we drove to Petty Harbour, we had heard it was beautiful and it is a pretty little village. There is a restaurant there called Chafe’s Landing, we stopped here for coffee and cake but were really tempted to try some moose as it is in quite a few of their dishes. Friendly staff, nice atmosphere and relaxed vibe – the perfect pit stop.
After a little pit-stop we went to Signal Hill. It’s pretty awesome to be honest – the views of the city and harbour are pretty spectacular even on a cloudy/foggy day. The hills are something else (but imagine how great it is for your butt and thighs). There is also a geo centre built into the hill which is a great exhibition for kids and adults a like. There is also a Titanic exhibition (newfoundland received the first SOS call), but it did feel like the curator was having an interesting but long rant about the events which unfolded. We all know the dramatized, romantic version but this exhibition went further into the events that happened. Worth a visit 100%.
Finally, to finish the day we went to the most AMAZING spot for dinner. A place called the Peaceful Loft which serves vegan and vegetarian food. However, they do it in such a clever way that the textures and flavours could have been a Chinese meal with meat. It’s cheap, cheerful and has an extremely friendly owner.
For the rest of the evening we went to a Pint of Science event and a local folk night.
Day 4: Thursday 18th
We decided to be healthy and hike some of the East Coast Trail. We walked for around 2-3 hours from Flat rock. The hike was definitely more difficult that we were expecting but it offered incredible views a mixture of coastal and woodland areas and just great fun. Some of the hills are really steep – definitely felt the burn!
Through a local tip-off we heard you could see seals at the Marine centre, not far from St John’s. The centre has a public viewing area where 3 seals are monitored to give insight into their behaviours. I didn’t know that baby seals are only fed by their mums for 2 weeks before being left to fend for themselves!
Day 5: Friday 19th
A rather quiet day after the hike – we were knackered – we stopped off for brunch at a local hipster café (we didn’t know it would be hipster but imagine overpriced bagels dressed up a burgers) before heading to The Rooms – the local museum. So many interesting exhibitions, the World War 1 exhibition was by far the most interesting for me, they spent time gathering local stories and artefacts. Unfortunately, my brain juices were used up during this exhibition, that although we walked around the rest I could barely take any of it in. The exhibitions are incredibly varied, so would still recommend a visit. David is going to hate me for posting these photos!
On our final night we went to St George street – the place for a night out. With our Couchsurfing hosts we went to O’Riley’s and saw the Irish Decedents play. They are a traditional Newfoundland band, meaning their music is similar to traditional Irish music and so much fun to dance too. The pub was full of everyone having a great time!