In September, Rachel and I were finally heading off on our big European adventure. Flights to Dublin were super cheap this year, but only from St. John’s, Newfoundland. Fortunately for me, Rachel’s family is from Newfoundland, and a trip to St. John’s was a perfect addition. We would spend a week staying with friends, check out the capital city, see the sights, all with Rachel as my guide.
On our final day in the city, we got a lift out to Fort Amherst, a National Historic Site. Although near to Signal Hill (another historic site), the lesser known Fort Amherst is easier to access by foot, and features spectacular views and a historic lighthouse. The road leading up to the Fort can be reached via a trail behind the Railway Museum, less than an hour’s walk from city centre to the lighthouse.
From the site, one could see back into St. John’s harbour, through the Narrows, and on the opposite side, the Atlantic is stretched out all the way to the horizon.
Rachel, her friend Shannon and I jumped the fence and wandered among the remnants of the fort, high conrete walls now covered in graffiti, and strategically placed cannons, ready to protect the city at the time of its construction, around the mid-1770’s.
After wandering in and out of the walls, enjoying the rare moments of sunshine, we found a spot to sit and broke into the snack bag, just as a pilot boat was heading out the harbour. Because of the rocky, narrow entrance to the harbour (hence the name, ‘The Narrows’!), pilot boats are used to guide bigger ships into port. As the pilot boat came back into view, a massive cruise ship was following behind.
We had a perfect view of Signal Hill, and the jellybean colours of the city jumped out from the rock face. And as the cruise ship cruised by, the excited passengers waved at us. Rachel and Shannon were the latest tourist attraction to join St. John’s.