Saint John’s

Newfoundland, September 17-19th, 2007.

The 2 PM Air Canada flight takes me into Halifax, Nova Scotia. I have just enough time to walk to my gate and board a second plane that will take me to Saint John’s – the oldest city in North America.

I get to the Delta Hotel at about 7 PM local time (1.5 hours ahead of Montreal). My buddies aren’t anywhere to be seen so I go up to my room and fire off some emails – it’ll be room service tonight. Later I drop down to the lounge for some beer with colleagues.

The next day is spent in meetings – it’s a shame because it is sunny and just beautiful outside. I go out at lunch and take a few shots, nothing fancy.

In the evening my Great Greek buddy Ike hijacks a Dodge 4 wheeler and we go for a mad photographic excursion. First we drive to Signal Hill – of Marconi fame – which has some great vistas and a castle like building (Cabot Tower).

Then we bomb through the streets of Saint John’s and finally into a lovely old fishing village (or it used to be). I thought it was called Kitty Witty – it actually was Quidi Vidi and is best described as idyllic. It appears to be Latin for “those which i saw” – didn’t know the Romans had come to the Rock.

After this enjoyable but rushed sightseeing tour, “Newfoundland in 1 hour with Ike”, we meet up with Sandra, Dan, and Mike (Michel) at Magnum and Stein’s for a quiet evening – an excellent meal in great company. (We dumped the Dodge in a tow zone just for fun).

I have a local beer from the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company with a Pork roast that must have weighed in at several pounds. Mike has us cracking up with his stories about drunken natives and chewing on Beaver Tail in Northern Quebec.

The next day, more meetings, then a direct flight back to Montreal. I promise Ike I’ll be back for a longer stay.

The Rock

In August I saw The Rock – West Coast version – also known as Alcatraz – it was on my third visit to the SF Bay Area.

This week, I got to see another The Rock – East Coast style – Newfoundland – this was my first time and it was way overdue – what a beautiful place.

Some pics (click to zoom in):

From left to right: At Signal Hill, Quidi Vidi (Kitty Wikki?), Quidi Vidi again. All around Saint John’s – the oldest city in North America. More to come.

By the Numbers

Not exactly paint by the numbers, but the Enzo Ferrari below was manipulated in Photoshop CS2 to simulate a watercolour.

Parked for everyone to envy and admire (on Ocean Avenue in Carmel, California) you won’t find this baby on ebay. Price tag? If you have to ask you can’t afford it as they say – certainly in excess of $1,000,000. God I love Carmel and Ferraris.

Guess which one is the SW “before” photograph and which one is the “after”.

City by the Bay

Part 2 of California 2007 – San Francisco continued.
Sunday August 12th:
We skip breakfast and head out to the Presidio. Our destination is the Exploratorium, the hands-on “museum of science, art, and human perception”. This incredible place is full of interactive exhibits and caters to kids of all ages who love science.

While waiting for the Exploratorium to open, we walk the grounds outside, admiring and photographing the Palace of Fine Arts. Afterwards, we drive down to Market Street and eventually make our way on foot to China Town and Union Square (home of Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nike, etc).

Supper that night is at Piazza Pellegrini (659 Columbus Ave), another excellent meal to top off the day – I have the rigatoni. After the meal, a short stroll through North Beach, past the famous Stinking Rose Garlic restaurant.

Monday August 13th:
The morning is spent visiting the California Academy of Science which includes the Steinhart Aquarium, the Natural History Museum, and the Morrison Planetarium – all conveniently located together in beautiful Golden Gate Park.

Unfortunately, the Academy of Science is mostly closed for Renovation, reopening in 2008. The exhibits we visit have been moved to Howard Street. They are limited and somewhat disappointing. At least the admission goes towards a good cause.

After the Academy, we cross one of my favourite places in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and stop for a light sandwich lunch in Sausalito at the Caffe Trieste. From there we head to see the giant redwoods at the Muir Woods but we can’t park! This is one of the most popular attractions in SF and this is peak season.

Instead, we drive back down to the coast and head south as far as Pacifica. Later in the afternoon we drop by Ghirardelli Square once more, this time we sample and buy 5 chocolate bars.

Supper that night, a return visit to the Michelangelo Caffe.

Tuesday August 14th:
Today (Day 5) is camera-free for SW. It’s a shopper’s heaven day if you’re into that – I’ll stick to admiring the architecture and the camera stores. We check out the streets of China Town, on and off the beaten path, Union Square, and then make our way to Market Street.

We visit one of my favourite shopping malls, the Nordstrom San Francisco Centre (865 Market Street) and then return by cab to the Hotel (about $10). The late afternoon is spent at the Fisherman’s Wharf – just walking casually.

No Little Italy tonight – this time we walk from the Hotel to Union Street where we try out and are very pleased with our meal at Pane e Vino (1715 Union).

Wednesday August 15th:
Another packed day: across the Golden Gate to shoot some photos from the North Vista, a short drive down the coast to Pacifica with lunch at Mickey D’s, another visit to the SF zoo, China Town (again) in the late afternoon, and another excellent supper back at Piazza Pellegrini.

Tomorrow we leave for Napa and the Wine Country.

[1.California 2007] [2.City by the Bay] [3.Wine Country] [4.The Peninsula] [5.San Francisco]