Day 2 in Newfoundland and I am still in St Johns exploring. I didnt sleep brilliantly as my room was freezing cold and I kept waking up and couldn’t get warm. I dozed a little later than planned due to this, and made it to the breakfast room at 9.30 for a bagel and a cup of tea. Off to Signal Hill and the Cabot Tower for a walk and some more touristing. I went up the Cabot Tower and enjoyed the view across the harbour and downtown St Johns, then took a stroll around the rest of Signal Hill. I went up to the highest point of Signal Hill called Ladies Lookout. Apparently called this because the ladies would go up there so they could see when their loved ones were returning from sea.
I went down to the visitors Center and bought a chocolate and some hot chocolate in the cafe. The White chocolate was amazing. I went back and told them and when I went back past later, they ran out and gave me an ice cream which was equally delicious. My ice cream and I headed up Gibbets Hill for another view over the city. I sat halfway and ate my ice cream in a sheltered bit by some rocks. The hill was called Gibbets Hill after a process called gibbeting that apparently originated in London was adopted in the 1700s. Gibbeting involved dipping the body of a criminal into hot tar and hanging it in a cage until it rotted. At this point, the body would be put in a barrel and rolled over the edge of the hill into Dead Mans Pool below. The gibbet was removed from here in 1795.
At the bottom of Signal Hill is a museum and science centre, Geo Centre, with a Titanic exhibit that I wanted to see. I went and had a look at this. I did look at the other stuff while in there, but it reinforced that they bore me unless there is something specific I want to see. The Titantic exhibit had a video playing showing an image of the ship from hitting the ice berg to sinking in real time. I got there at the right time and watched the last 20 mins. A lady told me there were no people in the video as it would be disturbing, however, despite with it being mostly silently other than creaking ship sounds, it ended with lots of faint eerie screams. The exhibit was good and really interesting to read about. The couple on the film that lie on their bed holding ands to die together were based on a real couple who gave up their places on the life boats for younger people. There was water that you could put your hand in that was the temperature of the water that night – it was fine when I just dipped it in, but when I held it there for a while, it was not! I also learned that the crew that survived were not paid by the company after the ship went down, their wages reflected a shift end time of 2.20am. There was a log book of names of everyone on board, all the names in grey in the picture died.
Titanic exhibition finished and I was ready for some food. People keep suggesting I visit The Rooms, however, it is a museum and as we know, I don’t really care for them. So I decided to go and visit the cafe there. It was a lovely restaurant and I had a table by the window looking out towards the harbour with a cup of tea and a chocolate based desert with cream on top. My bill came with a sweet. In fact, my meal for my bill last night did as well – this is a sign of a thoughtful establishment.
I went to visit the prison quickly to make some enquiries…. Watch this space…. Then headed for Water Street to peruse the shops. The parking meter were not something I was prepared for. Luckily some passers by assisted me. There is one machine for every space and you don’t get a ticket for the window, the attendant just checks that the meter for the car has money. This must be how people talk on TV about putting money in the meter for people! On with the shops, I found it amusing that there was a TShirt that said ‘Real men watch Coronation Street’ and fridge magnets with characters that haven’t been in it for 10-20 years! Think Reg, last appeared 1995, Alma who died in 2001 and Curly who left in 2003. I bought some English chocolate and some Mumming souvenirs. More on this hilarious tradition later.
I got a takeaway dinner from a friendly and welcoming place called Woodys. I had chicken with bacon, cheese and a tasty sauce. It came with what he called cornbread. I asked what this was and he said pound cake. I asked what this was and he gave me some to try – turns out, it is Madeira cake! Lovely. I took my dinner ad headed back to Cape Spear to eat and watch the sun set.