Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Andie's Big Adventure: Signal Hill

A couple (or more) weeks ago, we went up to Signal Hill. I know, I'm behind. It's on one of the bluffs at the entrance to St. John's harbor. The city is pretty well protected from bombardment and we'll have the advantage of a good lookout and a great vantage point for firing missiles or throwing rocks at approaching enemy vessels. Which isn't much needed these days, thank goodness. Now it's just a really cool place to visit with a boss view of St. John's.

It's a steep walk up a sidewalk, then has a lot of paths and beautiful scenery. There were quite a few fitness freaks out getting their run on. We did not. We walked.

Cabot Tower is at the top. I'm not going to go into the whole history of Signal Hill, because you can read Wikipedia as well as I can, but the Tower was used for Marconi's wireless station until it was moved to the airport. From what I understand. And if that's wrong, I'm sure my husband the historian or one of his colleagues will correct me. The first transatlantic wireless signal was received on Signal Hill by Marconi in 1901. But not at Cabot Tower.

Back to the view.


You can see Cape Spear from here, of course. But I didn't get a very good shot of that. It was hazy offshore.

Wikipedia mentions "Due to high winds in winter (which can reach up to 110 km/h (68 miles per hour), it is generally preferred to visit Signal Hill in the warmer months of the year."

It wasn't that bad.

We wandered around some getting our hair tossed about

and then...

And THEN...


(Cue Tchaikovsky's Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet)

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a Newfoundland Dog! (Newfie). I absolutely love these guys. They supposedly went into the Bernese Mountain Dog breed. There are a lot of similarities, especially in the size and the coat. And the shedding. Newfies heads are a little bigger and they have looser flews, so they slobber more than Berners. Unless you're standing over Dinky with a piece of cheese. Then flews don't matter, there will be a puddle of drool.  The temperament is very similar. They're laid back, lazy, and affectionate. This guy isn't the first Newfie I've seen, but he was magnificent. And very sweet. And drawing a crowd.

I love big dogs. Can you tell?

I was thrilled to finally get to see a Newfie here. His name was Scupper or Scow or some other boat name that I'm ashamed to have forgotten, because I will forget a person's name three seconds after they've said it, but I almost never forget a dog's name. Soundings? Skipper? Skalawag? Simon? I can't remember. Rats.

But he made me miss this lunkhead.

It was worth it for the view up there, though. It was wonderful.

The view of St. John's was good, too.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Andie's Big Adventure: Bauline and Pouch Cove. And Trout

A couple of weekends ago, the weather was on the nasty side. Coldish, drizzly, foggy - basically damp - and windy. A good day to stay inside and sit by a fire and drink hot tea (or bourbon) and read. But we have too much to see and time is plowing ahead! We don't have the luxury of just sitting on our wide laurels and collecting dust. So out we went, to take a drive out to Bauline and Pouch Cove. North. Here's a map. We start at Portugal Cove.

Our objective was to get all the way to the topmost point, but we started up the gravel road to it and read a sign that said, "Woe to all ye who enter here without a large truck with tractor-tires and four wheel drive. Don't call us when you get stuck, suckers." I'm paraphrasing. So we contented ourselves with the main road. There was still plenty to see.

While most people wouldn't think the weather was nice, I loved it. Obviously it is impossible to make this place anything but beautiful. On Bauline Line, the road we took up to Bauline (go figure), the conifers were thick and the maples were a lovely gold. The landscape is dotted with little lakes and rushing streams and a notable absence of moose. I am starting to think the locals are having me on about those. I'm going to start looking for Bigfoot instead. I probably stand a better chance of seeing him.

But mooseless or not, the drive was worth it. We got up to Bauline to the sight of more rocky mountains/bluffs/hills/whatever and some pretty little fishing boats at a dock. Specializing in the export of Lobster. L'argent, indeed.

Pootie stayed in the safety of the jeep - well, heated car - while I wrestled the winds and drizzle and tried to keep my camera dry.

After seeing the shot on the left, I went out the next day and bought jeans that fit.
The grass is still so green here. By now back home the sun has baked it to a crisp, whether it has rained or not. Between the brilliant green and the bright colors of all the boats and houses, the grey skies don't dull the scenery all that much.

In a lot of places, they just shove the boats down a slanted ramp into the water. Dry stack and a fork lift are for sissies. (Sorry David and Kevin.)

It sure beat sitting inside all day. And when we got home, I cooked trout. Hey! It's a food blog! Remember how I used to post pictures of food and recipes?

Fresh trout is pretty easy to come by here, and I love it. For this I just sprinkled it with salt and pepper, dotted it with about a tablespoon of brown sugar and a little butter, and pan-cooked it. Then I topped it with chopped almonds and served it with asparagus and a baked sweet potato.

A fittingly fishy end to a day by the water.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Andie's Big Adventure: Greyman's Beard and New Friends

Look, y'all! We made some friends!

I know!! They seem to like us and everything, too! And we didn't pay them money! I did feed them a couple of times, though. I figure it never hurts to leave a trail of breadcrumbs or steak outside leading to the door and see who turns up. It's worked before.

Meet Sadie (leader of the pack in the backback) and Dennis (the guy) and Megan (the redhead). They are our neighbors down the road. I accosted Megan and Sadie and Megan's very nice mother Carol a couple of times while Carol was visiting. We chatted and they met Dinky and we set up a dinner date. Then a few days after that, they took us hiking to the top of Greyman's Beard. It's a mountain/bluff/big hill - I honestly don't know what to call it. Dennis says mountain. At any rate, we hiked up a trail to the top.

The woods were so pretty. And all the trees are Christmas trees! See? Walking along the path smelled like the garden center at Home Depot during the holidays. Except for that one spot that was really stinky. We never did figure out what that was.

The hike was really pretty easy.  I think it took all of 15 minutes to get up there and we didn't even notice we were climbing that high. Dennis probably did, since he was a little more encumbered than the rest of us. This was the reward at the top. We could see for miles. That's Bell Island and that's the ferry that shuttles back and forth between Portugal Cove and the island. We still need to get over there.

It was a gorgeous fall day. Sunny, in the 60s and pretty warm. Check the trees turning down there. That big church is actually an antique store/home. The owners live on the top level.

Look! I can see my house from up here! Well, Coleen's house. I can't see my house from here. I'd have to be riding a satellite for that.

We walked back down and then they took us to another mountain/bluff/ridge/high point to see another view. It was just as spectacular as Greyman's beard. The walk up through a meadow was really pretty too. Sadie decided to walk her own self for that part.

There's a bonus to doing something with friends besides good company. There's someone to actually capture a couple of photos of the two of us together, which is rare. Not rare that we're together - we're together all the time. But it's not often documented. We're elusive like that.

They even liked us enough to go out to dinner with us after spending a good part of the day with us! We went to Aqua and left Sadie at home. The food there was great. I had a Jigg's Dinner Ball that was kind of like a croquet of Jigg's dinner, which I will make at some point. It's salt beef, cabbage and other stuff. The beef is really flavorful and tender. The rest of dinner was excellent. I tried to get Dennis to order the lobster poutine, but he wanted the halibut curry soup. I still can't quite wrap my head around poutine. French fries are supposed to be crispy, and gravy goes on mashed potatoes. But I want to try it without having to get an entire order of it myself. I didn't bring bigger pants.

Sadie seemed to have a very good time, and when we finished the hike, she wasn't tired at all.

Look at that. Just a blur of activity. I've never seen a kid so wound up. It's amazing I even got a decent shot with all that moving around.

She had to be peeled out of her backback, and she didn't wake up until we got in the car.

We feel so lucky to have met them. Not that we don't still miss our friends, but it's gotten a lot less lonely here all of a sudden. So we're going to try to hang onto them and not run them off in the next five months that we're here. I'm going to have them teach me how to speak Canadian and find a moose, and I'll try to have Sadie saying "y'all" by the time we leave in April. It's the least we can do.