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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Town of Crayola Colours

CANADA | Thursday, 25 May 2017 | Views [681]

Love! Love! Love! Love! Love! Colour, colour, and more colour. St. John's is where I said I'd go in Canada if I could only pick one place. Here I am...in living colour. Flying into Canada yesterday, immigration was painless and I met a really awesome girl on the plane named Kerri. I hitched with her in a cab into town and forgot my sleeping roll; a good thing I got her number. Via Couchsurfing I'm staying with a guy named Patrick from Prince Edward Island. 

As I awoke this morning I was like "where the hell am I?" and then I looked out the window at the pastel-hued homes across the street. St. John's is every bit I expected weather-wise: grey, dreary, and with a somewhat salty air. Itching to grab a few geocaches I was out early. The homes are so colourful!

Currently I'm working on a challenge where I'm trying to find a series of "unloved" caches, which haven't been found in six months or longer. Having found caches in two provinces now, I returned and sat with Patrick to discuss things to do in St. John's. He suggested Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America, and Signal Hill. "Look out the window and you'll see Signal Hill" Patrick said, so I put that on my radar for my first big walk. My favourite thing to do when I arrive in a new city for the first time is go for a walk.

Foolishly, I tried to set out in shorts so I returned to put on some long pants and an extra layer. "Windswept" is the best way to describe Newfoundland, as wind tends to reach (and batter) many far-flung places. In my coffee change this morning I got a quarter adorned with the Stanley Cup. Though St. John's doesn't have an NHL team, Canadians are as passionate about hockey as Aussies are about footy. A Canadian team hasn't brought home Lord Stanley's mug since the Montreal Canadiens won it in '93. 

As the thermometer dips as far below in Canada as it does above in Australia, Canada and cold go hand in hand; it sure was that as I walked up to Signal Hill, though the sun was out by then. The view is amazing!

I learned a bit about the history of Canada's youngest province. John Cabot first landed in 1494 on the feast day of Saint John the Baptist, which is how St. John's gets its name. The Dominion of Newfoundland was an independent country until opting to become part of Canada in 1949. Until 2001, the entire province was called "Newfoundland" but it's officially "Newfoundland & Labrador." 


As the cold wind battered my face, I had a gorgeous view of St. John's Habour.

An interesting fact is that St. John's is one of only five capital cities to contain an apostrophe.

It was the perfect day for a hot chocolate. The cocoa at Newfoundland Chocolate Cafe is utterly divine! After visiting so many warm places last year, it's nice to visit a cold place for a change and wrap my chilly hands around a warm cocoa.

After getting to Signal Hill for some great photo ops and a few geocaches, I wasn't done yet. Cape Spear was on my radar but for the late afternoon. I walked past many myriad-colour buildings, which are so loved that some people have mailboxes with colourful homes pained on them.

After a break for something to eat I had my first hitchhiking experience in Canada. A local named David picked me up, and thanked me when I pronounced Newfoundland correctly: it's like "Newfin-LAND" with the stress on the third syllable. Many tourists will pronounce it like "New-Found-Land" or "Newfin-lind." A few minutes later he dropped me at Cape Spear: the easternmost point in North America. That status is somewhat disputed if Greenland is regarded as being part of North America or if you consider the handful of Aleutian Islands west of the International Date Line. The wind is glacial and brutal at Cape Spear and I had to hold onto my beanie.

The wind battered me hard as I searched for a geocache, and then I had a chance to warm up in the gift shop with a coffee. As I handed the girl a "toonie" ($2 coin) she asked "do you have an extra 30 cents" as I forgot Newfoundland's 15% sales tax isn't included in displayed prices. 

Food in Newfoundland is rather pricey, so Patrick and his housemates often do communal dinners. I picked up some pizza and red wine, and then Jose made some really good fish with garam masala. That made me hungry even after being full after only two slices of pizza. Tomorrow evening I'll be doing some cooking.

For my first day in Newfoundland, I can say it was a very productive day. The cold weather is a very welcome change from the heat of places like Samoa and Queensland and pastel-hued homes leave me feeling like I'm walking in a giant painting.

This photo looks like Picasso's "Three Musicians." Colour has mesmerized me...totally! It's truly a mixture of Crayola colours. After my first day in Newfoundland, I'm ready for more...

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