St. John's

NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR

About St. John's

LOCATION

 
47.5615° N
52.7126° W

Official site →

"What sort of madman comes here on vacation in the dead of winter!  You feeling okay buddy?"

Arriving to St. John's at 1am in February, my cab driver assumes I'm there for business. After all, St. John's is a very blue collar city, with most people working out in the shipyards or some sort of oil industry. When I tell him I've arrived because I'm on vacation, you can visibly see the worry on his face. He says, "You feeling okay buddy? It's the dead of winter over here, we got dumped with 2 meters of snow the last week, what the heck are you doing here?". I tell him I don't know, that I fly over St. John's anytime I'm flying home from Europe and I always promised myself that I wonder it's like over there(here), I'll go sometime when it's cheap. Fast forward to Febrary 2020, and here I was.

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Newfoundland & Labrador is about as north east as you can get in North America.

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Flying in at 1am was not fun, but the Airbnb was nice.

Jellybean Row

In ordinance with the city of St. John's, homes in the downtown area are colorfully painted. No two homes can have the same color schemes within a certain distance from each other. It was probably the most refreshing thing to wake up to and be surrounded by so many fun color palettes. I wonder why more cities don't take on this sort of initiative?

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Signal Hill

Overlooking the city of St. John's is Signal Hill, an important military lookout point during World Wars I and II as well as wars in the 1600's.  England is about 2,300 miles away from this point. The hike was a bit rough mainly from weather, the snow made the hiking areas unusable so you had to be weary of cars coming from both directions. There wasn't heavy traffic but it was kind of slippery. The view at the top is worth it though, and reading about this area and St. John's in general gave me a sense of how small the world really is.  I was able to catch a ride back down by friendly tourists. The second time I went back up there the weather was much better and I was able to get the photos I wanted.

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Clean crisp air up there when the weather is good. Very cold but still pretty.

Quidi Vidi Village

Roughly 3 miles outside of the downtown area is Quidi Vidi. It consists of a small lake and some old fishing establishments and a brewery. Quidi Vidi Brewery's signature calling card is its beer made from old icebergs drifting through st. John's.  It wasn't as distinctive as I was expecting, not sure why I would even expect something that comes from water but I am glad to have checked drinking iceberg beer off my list. The brewers there were very friendly and I was able to learn a bit about their process and their interest in using local vegetation in their experiments. The partridge berry is an example of something they have used to make a rather tasty porter from.

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Partridge berries during my walk to the village.

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Tall glass of the famous Iceberg beer, only available in NF.

Final Thoughts

It's been about 8 years since I had been back to Canada. I think you really get a sense for the size of Canada when you venture out to it's more extreme destinations. I really enjoyed St. John's, even during winter. The locals were all very friendly and have a great attitude about life and don't take themselves too seriously.  I would definitely like to come back during warmer months to see how much different it is. Until then, its off to my 4am flight home. Ciao!

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Currently based out of the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.

Brunch is pretty great here.

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