St. John’s, Newfoundland
Unlike the flight to Halifax, this plane didn’t get the First Class treatment but that was fine given that the flight was only an hour long! Though I did find it amusing that I was placed at the very back of the plane this time around; almost as a way to even out from the prior flight.
At the airport, I was greeted by the faces of some great AIESECers I met at NC 2013; we were ecstatic to see each other once again! One of them was the president of the St. John’s local committee that I went with to the indoor amusement park in Edmonton! Coaching with this local committee was much more difficult because we had a time constraint with the upcoming NLDC conference in Calgary (this was sadly the first national conference I would not be attending in over 2 years). However, we made effective use of the condensed period of time we did have.
While Halifax had more history and attractions, I quickly discovered that St. John’s was home to more natural beauty. This is a double-edged sword, however, since the constant fog that looms over the area takes away from the scenery. A prime example of this was when I visited Cape’s Spear, which is the most easterly point in all of Canada. The fog really weighed down the awesome factor of this one since my field of vision was so limited. Nevertheless, it was still great to have stood on the most easterly tip of Canada, and by extension, North America.
Further along the path, you can discover an abandoned military bunker with the passageway open to hikers. This was certainly a bit creepy but worth walking through.
Trails are plentiful in Newfoundland but the best and most renowned were the next two I visited. The first being on Signal Hill, which is a tall peak that once served as a strategic lookout to protect the harbour way back in the mid-17th century. The pathway along the edge of the coast is wonderful; see for yourself!
One of the ridges along this route is so narrow and rocky that rather than putting up a railing (since it wouldn’t have much to attach to), there’s a chain pegged into the rock face that you use as a railing for stability. It’s not nearly as dangerous as it sounds but it sure is exciting to cross! You can see the chain rail on the left side of the following picture.
Upon reaching the tip of this trail, I had the pleasure of watching fog roll in and crash against the side of the hill across from me. I’d never seen something like this before and I was in absolute awe watching the fog charge the hill side, scatter on impact and proceed to drift over the hill top.
And this is the view on the other side of the hill.
Upon wrapping around the hill and going toward the apex, you’ll be welcomed by Cabot Tower. Surrounding the tower are cannons used from centuries ago. The tower is now converted to a souvenir and gift shop but you can still walk up the stairs to the very top for a great view. It’s a nice, free thing to do.
The best trail, however, is the East Coast Trail hands down. This trail is extremely long (as it stretches 540 kilometers across the Eastern coast of the Avalon peninsula) and while I only walked a small portion of it, I saw enough to know that it tops my list as favourite trail ever hiked. It’s a gorgeous clash of forest and rocky cliffs that’s nearly entirely preserved and untouched. Rich woodland, crisp coastal air, the sound of waves crashing against the rock… it’s a trail that brought me great tranquility and one I’ll never forget.
Finally, I end my trip with the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. Since the church bears the same name as the city, it’s definitely something I wanted to see in person. Of course it didn’t compare to the incredible structures I’ve witnessed in Europe but it was still great to step inside a church brimming with Canadian history.
This concludes my short trip in Eastern Canada and finally returned me back home for a few months. These trips were a great way to give back to AIESEC and fall deeper in love with my homeland. Canada is a beautiful country and I challenge you to see more of it!
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This blog entry is part of the publication Robert Cekan Travels & was originally written on September 12, 2013
Robert Cekan is a young entrepreneur and proud Hamiltonian. He is the founder of the Hamilton discovery website True Resident, as well as Cekan Group, a property management group. He is also a Hamilton REALTOR® with Ambitious Realty Advisors Inc., Brokerage and an active blogger.
For all of Robert’s projects, please visit robertcekan.com