At 8:00am this morning, we smoothly glided into port and docked at Pier 21. This is where all the waterfront attractions start. The Garrison Brewery, Farmers Market and the Pier 21 Museum are next to the ship’s dock. The Garrison Brewery (across the street from pier 20) is not the historic brewery in town, but they did start Nova Scotia’s “craft beer” movement with their “Irish Red Ale” in 1997. The Farmers Market located in the building south of pier 20 is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm. The Immigration Museum is located between piers 20 and 22 on 1055 Marginal Rd. They’re open from 9:30am to 5:30pm and admission is 7.60CAD/pp/senior.
The Alexander Keith Brewery at 1496 Lower Water Street is the historic brewery of Halifax. Begun in 1820, it remains in operation and produces India Pale Ale, the most popular beer in Nova Scotia. One-hour tours ($23.95CAD/pp/sr) are available from 12:00pm to 7:00pm, running every ½ hour. A beer tasting culminates the tour. Keith Hall, the historic residence, is behind the brewery on Hollis St. and connected by an underground tunnel. It’s been restored for commercial use. Further up Lower Water Street at #1675, is the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic with its extensive displays from the Days of the Sail to Age of Steam; artifacts from the Titanic; and exhibits of the devastating Halifax Explosion. (open 9:30am-5:30pm; admission 8.50CAD/pp/sr.)
All of this is within easy walking distance of the ship. We know because we have done all this in the past. But today, we are booked on the ship’s tour, “Iconic Towns of Nova Scotia” and will visit Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg, and Mahone Bay.
Here are the photos:
Our voyage comes to an end. We are now on our way back to Boston and look forward, as always, to going home! Thank you for joining us on this adventure. We’ll look forward to sharing our next journey with you!!!!
St. Johns, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador and the province’s largest city, is not only the furthest-east city in North America, it is also the oldest. First discovered in 1497 by John Cabot, it was later claimed as the first permanent settlement in North America for the British Empire by Sir Humphrey Gilbert. As you might imagine, St. Johns has had a long and significant history: the Vikings are sure to have been in this area in the 1000s; and 900 years later, in 1901, Marconi received the first radio signals from across the ocean at Signal Hill; in 1919 Alcock & Crown departed from St. John’s on the first successful transatlantic flight by a team of aviators; and in 1927 Charles Lindberg’s last North American landmark sighting on his famous solo flight across the Atlantic was of Cabot Tower on Signal Hill.
St. John’s is noted for its pubs, food, and music scene. An entire book, The Overcast’s Guide to Beers of Newfoundland, (The Definitive Guide to Beer on the Rock), Breakwater Books, 2018, has been written about the breweries and beers of this island.
We began our day late—not leaving the ship until after lunch—and walked around sampling the shopping, food and drink along the way. Water Street is the main shopping street. The shops are quite charming, usually several rooms of merchandise, and no two shops seem to have the same wares (quite an unusual and refreshing experience.) George Street is the main street for pubs. The rest of the city hugs the harbor and runs uphill for several blocks. It is very compact but requires long staircases to get from one street to another!
The pictures will tell the story:
Our next port is our last port. We will visit Halifax Nova Scotia.
Perhaps you remember the story of Bjarni Herjolfsson. “Around 985, he was blown off course from Greenland, and made a chance sighting of land to the west. Some 15 years later, Leif Eriksson set out from the Eastern Settlement in Greenland to investigate Bjarni’s sighting. Sailing to the northwest, he first came upon a land of bare rock and glaciers which he called Helluland (Slab Land). Sailing south he next reached a low, forested land. This he called Markland (Wood Land), Leif pressed on still further south and spent a winter in a land with a mild climate, where grapes grew wild and rivers teemed with salmon. Leif called this Vinland (Wine Land).
The locations of his discoveries will probably never be established with absolute certainty. Helluland was probably Baffin Island; Markland was almost certainly Labrador. Identifying Vinland is more difficult. The only Norse settlement so far discovered in North America is at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, but this is too far north to fit the saga descriptions. Vinlalnd probably lay south of the Gulf of St Lawrence, the approximate northern limit of the wild grapes, but north of Cape Cod, the southern limit of the Atlantic Salmon.” (Cited from The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings, 1995, John Haywood, author.) It is more likely that L’Anse aux Meadow was a staging settlement for transport and repair. But nobody knows for sure!
We anchored in St. Anthony harbor around 7:00am. By 8:30am, we had tendered to shore and were on the van operated by Danny’s Airbus ready to visit L’Anse aux Meadows and Norsted, the re-created village with re-enactors to tell the stories (5-hour tour, 95.00 CAD/pp). After a 30-minute drive, we were there! L’Anse aux Meadows is both a National Historic Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So designated because it’s one of the major archaeological finds in the world. The significance lies in what has been learned about the worldwide movements of people. The Norsemen were the first Europeans to come in contact with the Aboriginal Peoples of North America, thus completing the Circle of Human Migration.
“The settlement of Greenland was probably a result of population pressure in Iceland. Greenland was discovered accidently by a storm-driven seafarer around 930, but its hostile, ice-bound appearance excited little interest until Eric the Red, a man with many enemies, rounded Cape Farewell some time around 983, looking for a safe place to spend his exile from Iceland, and discovered the ice-free eastern fjords. By this time, all the good land in Iceland had long been settled. Many latecomers, like Erik himself, were living on marginal land, so there was no shortage of potential settlers willing to emigrate to Greenland.” The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings, by John Haywood (Penguin Books 1995.) And so, they came. But the town itself did not garner prominence until 1797 when a permanent trading depot was set up.
In Greenland, there are no roads connecting the towns. All transport is by plane or boat. Also, a tourist will never understand the Greenlandic language. It is called Kalaallisut, which literally means, the Greenlanders language, and it is not spoken anywhere else! Such was the case for me as I listened to a local making a purchase in the supermarket—not a word did I understand. But, fortunately, the Greenlanders are pretty conversant with English.
This is a pretty small community, so there aren’t too many photos. But I hope you’ll get a feel for what its like to live in this northern clime!
And now, we are sailing back to North America. Our next port is St. Anthony, Newfoundland where we will take an excursion to L’Anse aux Meadows—the only confirmed Viking settlement on the North American continent.
We sailed into Isafjordur along the fjord, Skutulsfjordur. Isafjordur is a fully functioning fishing village. It’s a real working town with a mall, supermarket, many cafes, a Maritime Museum, the Byggoasafn Vestfjaroa Museum and an historic district! We spent a nice afternoon wandering through town and enjoying a surprisingly cosmopolitan attitude for such a small community!
At 1:00am this morning, we crossed the Arctic Circle. Akureyri is situated on the south end of the Eyjafjordur channel, the longest fjord in Iceland. We docked at the Oddeyrarbryggja Pier which is located only a few blocks from the town center. An easy walk.
The history of Akureyri dates to the 9th century. Helgi magri (Helgi the thin), a Norse Viking, settled in the area. But it wasn’t until the 1500s that Akureyri began to flourish. Danish merchants would build houses in Akureyri so they could come to stay for the summer and trade their wares.
“The Viking expansion in the North Atlantic was very different from the Viking raids in the British Isles—from the start, settlement was the main motive. Though Danes and Swedes were involved, the settlement of the Faeroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland was dominated by emigrants from Norway.” This I learned from the book The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings by John Haywood (Penguin Books, 1995.) He went on to say that the Viking expansion into Iceland was a by-product of the raids on the Scottish Islands. The environment is like that of western Norway; and so, in the first half of the 9th century the Norse began to settle permanently in the area. “The leaders of the settlements were aristocrats of middling rank”, and as the authority and power in Scandinavia was consolidated into fewer hands due to the increasing complexities of, and need to control, trade and population growth, the middle ranks were forced to emigrate and establish their own domains. The Icelandic system of governance was probably very similar to that of Scandinavia. “The settlements in the Faeroes and Iceland were the only permanent extensions to the Scandinavian world to result from the Viking expansion, and in that lies their main historical significance.”
Plus, Iceland is beautiful, rugged and challenging! Travelers come for the adventure!
We have been to Djupivogur before. Our memories of this town are pleasant. It seems to always be cold, overcast and drizzly but the people are warm and friendly; the diverse establishments are charming and welcoming. The sheer beauty of the land overcomes the dreary nature of the weather.
Here are our photos of Djupivogur; we hope you will get a sense of how special this place can be.