And then we left for Newfoundland.


small airport; small plane

I didn’t have any playing set up in St. John’s; the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival had been the starting idea that got this whole tour+trip going, and it’s for maritimes musicians. But Anna’s wanted to hear Newfoundland music on Newfoundland soil for a long time, which sounds good to me (ar ar ar), and besides, with the third book in the Free Court of Seattle series being set partly in St. John’s, she wanted to see it for herself.

So that formed the nucleus of the original trip plan, and everything else I’ve typed about got bolted on to that.


Pretty much as advertised

We spent the first day mostly wandering around downtown, getting a feel for it. A big theme in Faerie Blood and its sequels to come is that warders of towns – magical protectors, more or less – know their towns by walking them, and that comes straight out of, well, that’s what Anna and I do, whereever we go. I also take about a zillion photos.

Which is why this post is mostly photos. 😀


We stayed at the B&B on the far right


Strongbad’s new business


Downtown by the waterfront


Trekkies Only Need Apply


So many row houses, so many colours


Of course, we hit George Street


No sign of Captain Blue or Captain Scarlet

I mentioned that this was a musical culture, and I carried around my zouk a lot of the time. Not all the time, but a lot. So when we stopped late for ice cream at Moo-Moo’s:


Stop here, seriously

…the guy who took our order was all, “What’s in the instrument bag?” and when I told him it was a zouk, he didn’t need to ask what it was – he got all excited and wanted me to play it right there. Which, of course, I did, and people were all excited by that.

They have music festivals there all summer; we’d just got in late for one on George Street, and were arriving for another that was coincident with a busker/street performance festival.

So, yeah, already, my kind of town.

We’d arrived too late in the day to get to either Fred’s Music or O’Brian’s:


Pilgrimage stop achievement: unlocked!

So we hit both of those the next day. Anna bought CDs, I noticed they were selling the Quebecois spoons I’d got in Joliette, we nattered, and got advice at Fred’s about the more interesting hiking paths up Signal Hill.

Now, if you don’t know, Signal Hill is a big historical deal, in part because it’s the site of the first battle of the Seven Years War, and guards the entrance to St. John’s, the easternmost harbour in North America, and was all strategic and such during the Napoleonic Wars and even later.

But more relevantly to my interests, it was also the reception point for Marconi’s first trans-Atlantic wireless transmission – a supposedly impossible feat, due to the curvature of the Earth. (They didn’t know about the ionosphere yet, which bounces radio waves, which lets you transmit around the world.)

The original receiver set is long gone, of course. But a shortwave station is maintained at Cabot Tower, and if you’re wondering: yes, they do contact postcards. I have one now! In person doesn’t entirely count, of course, but I had to.


Trail up!


Oh look, the lowlands of Skyrim!


Easy-peasy. Hop up this like a goddamn goat.


No, really


Green means gold mine, right?

The hiking was really pleasant. We took the more aggressive routes – you can pavement it all the way up to the old gun fortifications and towers and everything if you want – but the trails are really just nice. It feels like you’re really pretty far out there, even though you’re not.


Napoleonic Wars Gun Emplacements

Nice views, too:


St. John’s, from about a third of the way up


Lighthouse at the Narrows

The fog was rolling in pretty thickly.


Music from the Edge of Heaven


Cabot Tower

After touring the museum (which is mostly placards and such; super interesting, but not hugely photoworthy)…


Well, okay, one

…Anna and I went back outside the tower and played like we were shooting a goddamn music video. It was awesome.


Okay, I want the musicians in that courtyard, and we’ll bring the helicopter shot up the hillside on the right. See it?

Eventually we headed back down the hill. We stopped at a geology centre, ironically for food and not rocks…


No, Anna, put it down


The boring way up the hill

There are lots more, but the photo count here is crazy already. So we went home for dinner, ate at a little Chinese place, wandered downtown a little more and went on a ghost tour.


Hey! The Atlantic is cold!


Down the hill from our house


One second exposure, handheld

Next up: Festival! I sing stories about how you don’t become a pirate! And! Great Big Sea in Torbay!