Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mediterranean Cruise Oct 28/13 to Nov 10/13

Monday, Oct 28/13     35th Anniversary Trip - Venice to Barcelona
Started out in AM from Lakefield and had lunch with Mom and Dad Marsden in Toronto before parking at the Park and Fly Economy lot (1/2 price internet coupon) near YYZ for our 7:40 PM KLM Flight to Venice via Amsterdam. (Thought we may be flying Air France due to wind storm in England but this was cancelled.)
Flew overnight on full 747 - no sleep in cramped seats in 31st row in middle - 6 hours - had gluten free meals).
Tuesday, Oct 29/13 8AM to 10 AM in Amsterdam Airport and then smaller KLM 2 hour flight to Venice. Arrived to rain in Venice. Met Oceania personnel and bussed to ship Marina in Venice Harbour. Rain stopped. Settled in our Room 7063 (Veranda Stateroom), had lunch, looked around ship and then unpacked.
M/S Marina is a medium sized cruiseship of Oceania Cruises with 15 decks,  8 restaurants, 1,250 guests and 800 staff from over 50 nationalities.
Mary went to Venice Grand Canal for gondola ride at 6PM. This involved a walk to the water taxi and a 30 minute ride to dock near Piazza San Marco and 15 minute walk along waterfront to gondolas. Each gondola had seats for 6 and I was lucky to be seated with 2 other ladies and the accordian player and singer (2 Men) were added to our gondola. Our striped shirted gondolear steered us for the hour ride and was talented because he could check his email on his cellphone at the same time - another one was talking on his cellphone. My favourite spot was going through a small canal while the singer was singing "Voloray" and the church bells were ringing. That was magical. Back to ship by 9 PM and ready to sleep on the very comfy bed.

Wednesday, Oct 30/13 Venice, Italy  - sun/cloud 20 degrees C
Up at 6:30 AM and breakfast in the Terrace Café. Mary left for "Secret Corners of Venice and Grand Canal Tour" at 7:45 AM. Following a one hour water taxi tour around Venice we walked around the city of Venice which is built on 117 islets separated by 177canals and spanned by some 400 bridges. There are no cars or bicycles in Venice - everyone walks and goes by boat. Visited the Rialto Bridge and Fish and Vegetable Market. Then on to Piazza San Marco for an hour to see the Basilica - went behind the altar and up to the balcony to see the Bronze Horses of St Mark in the Museum. Had my first coffee flavoured gelato for 1.5 euro. Loved the bronze bell ringers at the top of the clock tower. Back to ship at 12 PM for lunch.
Back on the ship, Don played minigolf, croquet and pingpong to start his collection of Big "O" points.
In the afternoon, we played miniature golf, attended an acupuncture lecture, the ship emergency drill and the ship cruised out of Venice around 4 PM. We enjoyed a delicious dinner in the Polo Grill Restaurant (steak and seafood) at 6:30 and played a Trivia game in the Martini Lounge at 8:45PM. Bed by 10:30 PM.

Thursday, Oct 31/13  Kotor, Montenegro (Black Mountain) - clear skies, 21 degrees C
Morning on ship with room service breakfast. Attended 7 AM stretch class in Fitness club and then 10 laps on upper deck for "Walk a Mile", and then Legs, Bums and Tums class at 8:15AM. Mary had 15 minute complimentary acupuncture assessment and Don had 9AM acupuncture treatment for his sinuses and Mary attended the Maximize Your Metabolism lecture with Fitness Instructor Mauricio from Mexico. Then we did Brunch in the Grand Dining Room.
By noon the ship was docked at the medieval walled town of Kotor (a UNESCO world Heritage Site) after sailing in the Bay of Kotor - the deepest and biggest fiord in Southern Europe. Montenegro is a free, democratic and newly independent country - formerly part of Yugoslavia. Small population of 650,000.
In the afternoon, Mary went on the "Highlights of Montenegro" bus tour which included a road of 25 switchbacks to reach an elevation of 1000 metres on limestone mtn. There was a stop in a small village for some lunch of homemade bread with local cheese (from goat and cow milk) and salted thinly sliced meat. Bought some handmade slippers. Then off to Cetinje town to tour Museum of King Nikola (had 12 children - 9 girls and 3 sons - well connected in European royalty and was monarch for many years). Drove back down mountains to Kotor and looked around old town and then back on ship.
Captain's cocktails in Martini Lounge and dinner in Polo Grill again with 3 other couples. Went to bed early since we lose an hour sleep with our visit to Corfu Greece tomorrow - different time zone.

Friday, Nov 1/13 - Corfu, Greece - Sunny and 23 degrees C
Sailed into port of Corfu and Mary left after breakfast on bus tour to Achilleion Palace - built by the Empress Elizabeth (Sissy) of Austria in 1891. Named for Homer's hero Achilles - 2 large statues on grounds of triumphant Achilles and defeated Achilles. Elizabeth had 4 children - 3 girls and one son and the son committed suicide. Elizabeth was a smoker, very vain of her looks - portraits had to show her 29 years of age or younger, she was a devout Catholic - also anorexic. She was assassinated in 1898 by a crazy man who wanted to be famous. In 1907 the palace was sold to the Emperor of Germany, King of Prussia - Kaiser Wilhelm 11. This Palace houses the Terrace of Muses, which was built as a tribute to the nine muses of Greek mythology.
Went back to Old Town of Corfu and shuttled back to ship for lunch. Bussed back to old town with Don and did walk about. Bought olive oil with spices and brown belt for Don. Visited St Spyridon church - a Greek Orthodox church that houses the remains of Corfu's patron saint, which was smuggled from Constantinople after the fall of the Byzantine Empire. The mummified remains are kept in a silver coffin and are carried in a procession 4x/yr.
Back on ship, spent a little time at pool and sailed off at 6 PM. Saw "Bon Voyage" show in Marina Lounge featuring the Marina Singers and Dancers at 9:45 PM.

Saturday, Nov 2/13 Naxos (Taormina), Italy - Sunny and 23 degrees C
Tendered off ship to port of Nexus and then bus tour to hill town of Taormina (3rd largest town on Island of Sicily). Shuttle into old town - toured through old Greek - 3rd century BC / Roman - 2nd century AD theatre - Teatro Greco. Had great view - also of Mt Etna (45 minute drive away) which erupted just a week earlier. Then through Public Gardens donated by a wealthy woman - includes a large play castle for the local children.
Back to ship for lunch and time around the pool in the afternoon and Don busy with his on board activities for "O" points. Dinner in the Italian restaurant on board - Toscana.

Sunday, Nov 3/13 Naples (Capri) Italy - Sun/Cloud and 20 degrees C
Up early to start excursion to Capri. The ship docked at Naples rather than Sorrento as planned because we would be tendering at Sorrento and the waves are 3 1/2 feet would make that difficult so we docked at Naples.
Took Jetfoil (large) across to Capri and little bus up to Anacapri (town above Capri). Went on single chair lift up to Mount Solero  - 15 minute ride - for amazing vistas. Then walked around Anacapri - took bus back down to Capri and walked around Capri for a few hours. Took Funicular to port (Marina Grande) and Jetfoil back to ship in Naples.
Don walked into Naples but said he wasn't impressed with the city.
Dinner in Grand Dining Room.

Monday, Nov 4/13 Civitavecchia (Rome) Italy - Sunny and 21 degrees C
From port of Civitavecchia travelling 90 minutes by bus to reach central Rome. Did Rome on my own starting point of Piazza del Popolo. Saw Spanish Steps, got lost several times on way to Trevi Fountain - tossed in a coin so I can return some day.
Used the red Hop On / Hop Off bus that I had prepaid for before the trip. Saw the Colosseum and Ancient Rome Ruins but didn't get off bus. Got off at Vatican and stood in line an hour to get into St Peter's Basilica and paid the 5 euro to climb the almost 500 steps to the top of the Dome - great view. Climbed down and saw the inside of the Basilica including Michelangelo's Pieta. Rushed back to starting point and bus ride back to ship. Learned that you can't see all the sites of Rome in one day.
Dinner in Terrace Café, played Trivia game and listened to singer Jackie LaCroix in Marina Lounge.

Tuesday, Nov 5/13  Livorno (Pisa, Florence, Tuscany) Italy - Sun/cloud 21 degrees C
 
Docked in Livorno port. Bus Tour to Pisa - was in church but too early - not all open yet. Did not get to climb Leaning Tower or tour inside of Baptistery.  Bought scarf and Pinocchio puppet - home town of Pinocchio story author.
On to Florence and started with 2 hours of free time so I did a 2 hour tour of Basilica di Santa Croce (Holy Cross) with audio. Had Franciscan monastery attached and started as people's church. Many famous burials in church - Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini and Dante.

Had walking tour through central Florence ending at Duomo - Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore -one of the world's largest cathedrals. A Gothic structure with an exterior ornately decorated with red, green and white marble. In front of the Cathedral is an octagonal baptistery and a 14th century campanile or bell tower. Saw the famous bridge Ponte Vecchio over the Arno river and a copy of the famous Michelangelo's David statue. Bus ride back to the ship through the Tuscan countryside. Dinner in Grand Dining Room, trivia game and then to bed.

Wednesday, Nov 6/13 Monte Carlo, Monaco  - Sun 22 degrees C
Sailed into Monaco harbor at sunrise. Left on tour bus to St Paul de Vence for morning tour. St Paul is a 16th century town on a high hill. It has lots of artist galleries and the artist Marc Chapell is buried in their hillside cemetery. Back to ship by 12:30 PM.
Don twisted his knee when he walked into Monaco in the morning so he could not explore Monaco with me in the afternoon as planned so I hopped standby to the afternoon bus tour of "Highlights of Monaco" leaving at 1 PM.
On this tour we went through Monaco's tropical garden, by the Aquarium with the yellow submarine outside, Castle, and the Monte Carlo Casino area.
We had dinner at "Jacques" - the French restaurant on the ship. checked out the hot tub after dinner and early to bed. Don did get a baseball cap from the Monte Carlo firehall.


Thursday, Nov 7/13 Marseille, France - Sunny and 23 degrees C
Took morning trip of "Highlights of Marseille and Cassis". Marseille is the second largest city in France, after Paris. It is France's largest commercial port and largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and capital of the Provence - Alpes-Cot d'Azur region.
On a hill overlooking Marseille is Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. This church was built in the 19th century in the Romanesque-Byzantine style and is crowned with a statue of the Virgin Mary.
Cassis is a small resort / fishing village on the Mediterranean Sea at the base of a medieval castle - which is now a luxury hotel. Even put my feet in the cold Mediterranean Sea.
Had a quiet afternoon and supper in the Grand Dining Room, had a hot tub and then the trivia game before bed.
Friday, Nov 8/13  Day at Sea  Windy, Sunny 20 degrees C
Did mile walk, stretch class, then breakfast and Energize your Soles class (using bumpy semicircle bubbles that were painful). Don had another acupuncture treatment for his sinuses in the Canyon Spa. Don collected more "0" points to a total of 175 points which he traded for 5 t-shirts, a ball cap and an umbrella. I attended a Thai Cooking Class on board in the afternoon - rice roll, duck and watermelon appetizer, lobster pad thai, and tasted Chilean sea bass. Then dinner in the "Red Ginger" Restaurant - the Thai restaurant on board. Had hot tub and went to "Groovin" show in Marina Lounge.


Saturday, Nov 9/13  Barcelona, Spain   Sunny  21 degrees C
Off on "Highlights of Barcelona and Montserrat" bus tour from 8 AM to 5 PM. Drove through beautiful central Barcelona and stopping at the Sagrada Familia, the famed architect Gaudi's masterpiece church of the Holy Family that is still in progress. We didn't have time to go in but marveled at the outside.
We drove by the Olympic stadium and other structures on our way out of the city to Montserrat (serrated mountain), also the huge SEAT factory (owned by the Volkswagon group).
Montserrat and its sacred monastery are perched atop a mountain between oddly shaped pillars of stone. This is the home of the Black Madonna - the revered wooden statue of the virgin and baby Jesus, which has attracted pilgrims since the 12th century. With fellow tourist Cheryl from NC, we took the vunicular tram to the very top of the mountain and walk 50 minutes back down to the monastery area. Tasted 4 kinds of liquor made by the Benedictine monks, watched the 15 minute audio visual movie, then toured the museum and joined the line-up to touch the hand of the "Black Madonna". Back to the ship by 5:30 PM.
During the day, Don had taken the shuttle bus into Barcelona and found the Firehall and traded some clothing.
We had supper in the Grand Dining Room and had our last hot tub, finished packing and went to bed.

Sunday, Nov 10/13  Barcelona Spain to Lakefield Canada - 21 degrees to 0 degrees C
Up at 6 AM  to get transferred at 7 AM for a 10 AM American Airlines flight to JFK airport in New York. We volunteered to be bumped off the overbooked flight (offer was $800Euro and vouchers for hotel and transfers) to stay an extra night in Barcelona but unfortunately they only bumped 2 and we were #3 and #4. We spent 2 hours awaiting our connection to Toronto @JFK - having to go through Customs in USA - and waiting another hour on the tarmac in NY before taking off. Arrived in TO around 7 PM and took shuttle bus to car and drove home to Lakefield. Bed by 9:30 PM - exhausted but happy after a great trip!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 4 to 18/2013 Newfoundland Trip

Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Off to Deer Lake, Newfoundland via WestJet with my brother Peter and his wife, my sister-in-law Brenda - Tessels from Varney, Ontario. We left at 9:30 AM and landed in Deer Lake at 1:30 PM (NFLD time) after a 2:15 hour flight. We picked up our rental car from Enterprise - a Toyota Corolla - no cruise control and roll up windows - and drove in to Deer Lake and stopped at Tim Hortons. It was misty and 60 degrees.
We drove north to Gros Morne National Park and checked out the Information Centre and then on to Rocky Harbour to check into the Oceanview Hotel. We signed up for a few boat tours in the area and the pub show "Anchors Aweigh" for the next night in the hotel lobby and admired the art of Ben Ploughman. We walked about in Rocky Harbour - to the cemetery and the out on the pier and stopped for our first fish dinner at Jackie's Restaurant and walked back to the hotel for the night.

Wednesday, June 5,  2013
Up at 7 AM for a lovely breakfast in the hotel restaurant and then drove back down the road to the Gros Morne Discovery Center and picked up an audio tour for our Tablelands trail walk up the road. It was still misty and cool and we got cold and wet on the walk but enjoyed it anyway. We got back in the car and drove around Woody Point (known for an August Literary Festival that Sheilagh Rodgers from CBC hosts each year) and then back to Rocky Point and changed our clothes and took them to the local laundrymat to throw in the dryer while we had lunch. We had delicious seafood chowder at Java Joe's, gathered our dry clothes and drove over to nearby Norris Point to board the boat tour of beautiful Bonne Bay. We saw a mincke whale, bald eagles and a moose on our 2 1/2 hour $40 tour and enjoyed a few Newfie songs by the skipper - on accordion, 2 mates on guitars - one being the guide as the boat was in the middle of the bay. Brenda and I were glad we had taken some gravol for the trip because it was rough when we attempted to leave the bay and go into the Gulf of St Lawrence.
We drove back to Rocky Harbour and up to Lobster Point lighthouse and then back to our hotel. We ate our dinner in the hotel pub ensuring good seats for the "Anchor's Aweigh" musical group from 8 to 11. We were so impressed that we bought some cds and P&B have the group's show DVD too.

Thursday, June 6, 2013    Sunny but windy and cool
Up at 7 AM and ate breakfast at Fisherman's Landing Restaurant up the street from our hotel. We
checked out and drove up the road to our "Western Brook Pond" boat tour ($60 each) - it was a 40 minute drive and a 45 minute hike into the boat launch. It was a 2 hour boat ride into a fiord - fantastic scenery and some of the purest water on the planet since there is little vegetative growth due to the depth of the water - it is not attached to the Gulf so it is fresh water now. The cliffs are so high that fisherman on the Gulf can see the fiord's opening from 40 miles away on a clear day - it is a landmark. But there was a strong wind that was sending water spray right over the top of the boat - another day we were thankful for gravol. Also noted were the beautiful waterfalls in the fiord and the water devils swirling.
We had hot chocolate to warm up and did a little hike on our way out to the road and motored on up the road to Cowhead. Checked into J&J B&B at the Shallow Bay Motel. The B&B was a 4 bedroom house with a kitchen common room and we were the only ones in the house that night. Brenda and I indulged ourselves with a lobster dinner at the Motel's Restaurant. Then we enjoyed a live theatre show at the Warehouse Theatre. Two very talented actors did the production of "Two". It was part of the 2013 Gros Morne Theatre Festival.

Friday, June 7, 2013 - Sunny bright day but the wind was cold
Up at 7 AM and ate our included breakfast in the motel restaurant. We drove north and stopped for pictures at the Arches Provincial Park. Beautiful sea sculptured arches on the Gulf  and rounded rocks for the strong wave action. Continued on this drive north - fantastic scenery on this sunny day. We stopped to see Port aux Choix - info centre not yet open so we took a bumpy ride out to the Lighthouse. We drove back down the road to Port Saunders and walked around their marina and dry docks to take pictures of the boats.
We drove back into Port aux Choix to have a delicious seafood chowder lunch at the Anchor Café -
followed by Figgy Duff Pudding. Stopped at Ben Ploughman's Studio and Whale Museum and meet Ben and had a tour of his workshop - saw  the lobster crates that he used as frames and the plywood for his skies.
Then further north on the coast and cross country to St Anthony. We checked into the Grenfell Heritage Suites (Suite 210). Checked "Iceberg Finder" on the internet and drove outside town to see a small iceberg stuck in a shallow bay.
Then we went on the Lightkeepers Restaurant for a wonderful seafood platter dinner. (This was in the hotel package - a $25 coupon each for a dinner at this restaurant, a boat tour and admittance into "Norstead" in L'Anse aux Meadows.)
Back to hotel and Brenda did laundry, Peter did pictures and watched the hockey game and I caught up on bookkeeping and journaling.

Saturday, June 8, 2013    Sunny calm day  60 degrees
Up at 7 AM and ate breakfast in the Hotel Boardroom ( which was next door to our suite). At 9 AM
we went on the Boat Tour (Almost got kicked off since the hotel forgot to book our tour with the boat but we were told by the hotel that we had reservations.) Saw two small icebergs up close but the large one was too far off shore. Saw large cave in rock and story of Bob Earle - 6 nights in the cave - hypothermia, starved but survived. Saw dead seal and loons and bald eagle but no whales.
Heard about their roadside gardens, moose and wood piles. Back to dock at 11:30 AM  and on to lunch at Tim Hortons for chili and iceberg donut. (Celebrating the Iceberg Festival.)
Drove north to L'Anse aux Meadows - Viking settlement excavated by a Norwegian couple in the 1960s - now a National Historic Site - circa 1000 AD - Eric the Red. Nice discovery centre and knowledgeable guide in restored village.
Then across the road to Norstead Village - mixture of Danish, Finnish and Norwegian settlement. Great interpreters and learned about one needle knitting (nailbinding) and trading post and chieftain and his wife role in village, Snorri the Viking vessel and there was a chapel on site too. Bought earrings for $6 in giftshop.
Drove back to St Lunaire-Griquet and saw the French Coast exhibit in the Dark Tickle shop - lots of jams and jellies - bakeapple items - bought some Bakeapple tea. Then a little backtrack to the "Daily Catch Restaurant" and Brenda had "brewis"(salted cod and hardtack with fried pork rinds). Peter had fish cakes and I had fish chowder and deep fried ice cream with bakeapple sauce. P&B had partridge berry pie. Then back to St Anthony and Peter and I climber 476 steps up satellite hill behind the Lightkeepers Restaurant and I counted 30 icebergs on the horizon in the Atlantic Ocean through the binoculars. Beautiful sunset and sunrise for:

Sunday, June 9, 2013      Sunny day  60 degrees
Long travel day. (650 km to Grand-Falls Windsor) Had breakfast at hotel and started drive across and down coast - same way as up. Stopped to see "Thrombolites" in Flowers Cove. Had a little walk out to them. Tried to have lunch at Norris Point but ended up at Deer Lake Subway. Arrived in Grand-Falls Windsor around 4 PM and stayed the night at the Highliner Inn (2 1/2 star converted motel). Went for supper at another hotel (had toutons with beans and molasses). Then took walk around Corduroy Path Park around pond. Bed by 10 PM.

Monday, June 10, 2013   Sunny Warm Day
Up at 7 AM and breakfast at the hotel. Back on road going north to Twillingate. Had a little rain but then it cleared and we had a hike "Top of Twillingate." Found Harbour Lights Inn B&B and got coupons of deal. Had lunch at R&J Restaurant and then boarded the 1 PM Boat Tour. We did not see any whales or icebergs but lots of beautiful scenery and it was sunny and warm. It was a 2 hour boat ride with a female guide - her brother drove the boat. (Their family name was Young and they owned the restaurant, the boat tour business and the B&B house we were staying in so a package deal was a great idea for them) She was very informative about NFLD fishing - she fished with her father offshore for many years. She lived in area all her life and told of how things used to be before the fishing moratorium in 1992 and climate change too. There were 4 Mennonites on our boat tour - car they were driving was from St Jacobs - and Peter knew a brother of one of them.
We checked into our 3rd storey room and then went out to the Twillingate Museum. First we had a delicious "Hoofprints" ice cream cone- we had gone the wrong direction for the Museum but the ice cream straighten us out. We had a short stop in the Anglican Church since we passed by some ladies and one was the organist there - and she played us a tune. She was also part of the "Split Peas" singing group in town but they didn't start their summer program until next week. A thunderstorm came and went as we were in the Museum (which was the manse for the Anglican church years ago) so we were glad we were not on the 4 PM boat tour.
Had supper at the Boat Tour Restaurant - seafood platters with cod tongues.
After supper we drove up to the Lighthouse (past Crow Head) and did a hike to Sleepy Cove (former site of copper mining - but copper was a poor quality)and Nana's hole.

 Tuesday, June 11, 2013   Cooler, Cloudy, Brief showers
Up at 7 AM with B&B breakfast. Went on a 2 hour hike to French Beach and French Head. Beautiful
vistas. Then Durrell Museum - saw stuffed polar bear -( had come down on an iceberg and got off in that area and got into trouble and
had to be killed). Had lunch at a Tea Room in Twillingate - beans, molasses bread and toutons. Then back to Durrell to tour the Auk Island Winery - do some wine sampling and buying and treated ourselves to a wine flavoured soft ice cream waffle cone - really good too. (Mine was bakeapple.) Then to the Twillingate Dollar Store to buy each of us a $4 yellow South - Wester Rain Hat for being Screeched in at a local pub that night.
Around 3 PM we headed up to the Crow Head Lighthouse and did the Titanic Billboard Tour. We rested an hour and then were off to the Crow Head "All around the Circle" dinner show. Had a delicious pan fried cod dinner($32) and then the show - music and skits by 3 fellows and 4 ladies - they cooked, served, and performed - 2 hour show - corny but good. This group had done this 7 times a week for the summer months for 15 years - heard next year will be their last. We sat a table with Darlene and Del Sharpe from Haliburton - travelling in the area like us and were on the first 3 boat tours with us.)
Finished off the day at the Anchor Inn Pub to be "Screeched-In" - 12 of us with ringleaders Cricket - really Nancy from Nova Scotia - TD bank employee - and her sister Sandra (VON nurse). "Right you are y'old cock, and long may your big jigg drop." We kissed the cod and slugged down a shot of Screech rum. Walked back to B&B at 11 PM - first time we saw the stars in NFLD.  Back to my cot in our crowded room.



Wednesday, June 12, 2013     Foggy to start and later sunny
Breakfast at Inn and then travelled over 300 km - stopped at McDonalds in Gander and tried Visitor's Ctr in Terra Nova National Park - it wasn't open from Mon - Wed yet. and continued on the Historic Trinity. Had a great lunch at Eco-Tour Restaurant that had just opened and toured it after since it is a new B&B too. We toured the town for a bit and then hiked up Gunner Hill - seeing a hillside of lupins, an old cemetery and a bald eagle near the top of our climb.
Then up the bumpy road to Elliston - the Root Cellar Capital of Canada and saw the Puffins nesting on a rocky island. Great to watch these small Penguin like birds up close. Then to White's B&B in Bonavista. Supper at the Dairy King Restaurant on way to the Cape Bonavista lighthouse and the John Cabot statue. During dinner on the water front we saw a mincke whale feeding with
many gannet birds diving in the water from 40 feet high straight down - an amazing sight. We indulged in desserts - P&B had banana splits and I had cheesecake with a bakeapple sauce - yummy. We also saw the "Dungeon" landmark on our way back into Bonavista off a bumpy road.






Thursday, June 13, 2013    Foggy in AM and Rainy in PM
Up at 8 AM for breakfast of oatmeal and homemade bread and 42 jars of jams and jellies made by our hostess Marie and her husband Arch. On road to Trinity Bight - Port Rexton to walk the famous Skerwink Trail. Beautiful vistas on a well planned trail overlooking cliffs on the Atlantic Ocean. We were now on the other side of Historic Trinity. It started to sprinkle as we left so luckily we didn't get soaked. We then took a cross country gravel road for 20 km to get over to the west coast of the Bonavista peninsula to see Tickle Cove and the red rocks and archway that was there.
Back in the car for a 3 hour drive through rain to St Bride. We did stop for lunch in Clarenville for pizza at 3:30 PM. Arrived at the Capeway Motel in St Bride about 6 PM and had some snacks and wine and watched the DVD of "Anchors Aweigh."
Wrote postcards, emails and journal and to bed by 10 PM.

Friday, June 14, 2013    Brenda's Birthday!
Waited for a continental breakfast at the motel at 9 AM. Then packed up and drove to the Cape Mary
Ecological Reserve to see the nesting shorebirds up close on rock cliffs. The biggest birds at the top were the gannets and then the murres and other little ones on the lower cliffs. Unbelievable sight and sound and fishy smell too. Sounded like you were in the middle of a chicken coup.
Then the drive up the coast with lunch of soup at a trucker's stop and finally reaching Bay Bulls - beautiful Bread and Cheese Inn.
We did a hike into a suspension bridge of La Manche Prov. Pk. - saw a partridge on way in and a seal in the inlet swimming. Walked trail out and went for Brenda's birthday dinner at the Captain's Table Restaurant. I had delicious Cod au Gratin and we had decadent Ice Flow for dessert. Back to the B&B for a cribbage game with Peter and then bed on the 3rd floor.

Saturday, June 15, 2013   Fog/cloudy/showers/sun
(As Newfoundlanders say of the weather - if you don't like what you see out the front door, look out the backdoor. )
Had delicious French toast, kiwi and bacon breakfast at Inn. Then drove up coast through rain and
Bread and Cheese Inn
fog to "The Colony of Avalon" at Ferryland - first permanent British colony on Island started by Lord and Lady Baltimore - who after one rough winter went on to Virginia and Maryland. Now there is a museum and archeological dig on site which we toured with a guide and found it very interesting. You can dig with the experts for $125 a day.
We drove up to the Ferryland Lighthouse and could have had lunch there but we cancelled that because it was $25 each and we decided we could pick up our own lunch at Foodland for a better price.
We also looked into the big stone RC Church in Ferryland and then drove back to the B&B. Peter and I went for an hour hike on the East Coast Trail before supper. We had a supper place picked out in Bay Bulls but that was closed so we went into St John's and found Keith's Diner in the subdivision of Goulds - Parking lot was full - all locals for fish and chips piled high on the plate - only veggie on the menu was peas. Poor gall bladder had to go into overtime.
After dinner we did a little drive out to Petty Harbour and then back to B&B for another cribbage game, computer, reading and then bedtime.

Sunday, June 16, 2013      Sunny, windy 17 degrees C
Up at 7 AM. Breakfast of sausage, omelette, toast and fruit cup. Paid bill and left at 9 AM to Cape

Spear via Petty Harbour. Brenda found Alan Doyle (of Great Big Sea fame)'s family home in Petty Harbour.
Did lighthouse tour in Cape Spear with Parks Canada pass. Then on to Signal Hill
for lunch there and almost blew off the hill but watched a freighter come into St John's Harbour. Also viewed a informative movie in the Signal Hill Information Centre.
(My second camera battery ran out here.)
Back down in St John's we drove to the Quidi Vidi Brewery but did not do the tour or tastings.
Checked into Marriott Hotel for a Junior Suite looking onto St John's Harbour (thanks to Tom). Brenda and I walked down Duckworth Street to George Street and back via Water Street. We cam back for supper in the hotel restaurant - Smitty's. Peter and Brenda went for a pint ($7 beer) in a pub downtown and I stayed and got myself organized back in the room.

Monday, June 17, 2013   Cloudy but warm.
Peter left at 3:30 AM to drive 6 1/2 hours to Deer Lake to deliver the rental car back and then board a bus at 12 PM to get back to St John's by 10 PM.
Brenda and I got up after 7 AM and had breakfast in Smitty's in the hotel. Veronica Lech and her twin almost 3 year old adorable busy boys picked us up at 9 AM and we drove to their home in St John's to visit for a few hours - even got out to the playground park. Veronica and the boys (daddy Gareth was in Glasgow Scotland attending a conference) took us back downtown and dropped us at "The Rooms" - art gallery and museum. Mary Pratt was the featured artist and there was a Bata Shoe Exhibit there too. We spent about 3 hours there and enjoyed a delicious lunch in the 4th floor café overlooking the city. We left there to see St John the Baptist RC Cathedral. We walked back to the hotel passing by the colorful row houses St John's is known for. Veronica said the colored houses came from the fisherman painting their homes the color of their boats - after the many fires that St John's had.
Back at the hotel we printed passes for the flight the next day and had dinner at hotel restaurant Smitty's. The diningroom overlooked the harbour and we spotted  a humpback whale swimming outside the harbour area - in the ocean. We could see it spouting and it's tail too - through the binoculars. We then went back to the room to pack and await Peter's return. He made it back at 10 PM - safe and sound - tired and hungry - and didn't see any moose all day. Delivered the car in - 3600 km done in our 2 weeks.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013   Sunny and warm - warmer still in TO
Up at 7 AM and had breakfast in the hotel restaurant - Smitty's again. Could see some whale action outside the harbour again. Went for a walk around hotel area  - Harbour Park - tribute to Newfoundlander dog and Labrador dog - bronze statues and War Memorial too. Back to hotel to check out and take $20 cab ride to airport for our 1:25 PM flight to TO on WestJet via Halifax - which we got off the plane to visit the washrooms and Tim Hortons and reboarded. Arrived in TO at 4:30 PM, collected luggage and Don picked us up and delivered us to 44 Transwell - for supper and pick up Peter and Brenda's car and off to our homes we went.

A Great Trip to a Beautiful Province - glad to have done it, saw lots, weather cooperated in our plans for the most part - only wished Don had the experience too. But there is a new member of our home appliance group since I was away - new kitchen frig - freezer on the bottom - beautiful.