We're moving into/settling into our new place, so I apologize for the lack of posting. But I thought I ought to get to our cruise pictures before we get too far away from the time we went... I don't have the best track record for that.. :)
(photo cred to KC!)
So we left Boston and got onto our boat (I'll post boat pictures later on) and spent a night and a day at sea before we ported in Saint John.
We ate an early breakfast and got off the boat as quickly as we could so we wouldn't miss anything. We walked into the cruise port building and the people welcomed us ashore with pins for the men, roses for the women and Canadian flags for the kiddos. That was a sweet welcome! :) The weather was a welcome in and of itself, it hovered between 65 and 80 F! SOO much better than the 90-100 F that we had at home!
We booked a short excursion so we could make it out to the Reversing Rapids and still have time to enjoy the city. We left the building and got on our trolley (Tilley) for a tour of the town, stopping at the rapids.
We stopped at the rapids for only ten minutes, but it was the most beautiful sight! The sky and water was foggy and gray, the grass was so green and filled with wildflowers. The river was gorgeous and the rapids were so intense (class 6)! I wanted to stay there all day! However, the fog would have cleared and it would have looked a little less magical with the Brewery tanks across the water... :)
We got back on the trolley and made our way through town. Our tour guide was really cute, she told us a bunch of quirky little stories about the history of Saint John and different cultural points. Gas there was $5.40 a gallon! WHEW! Also, lobster used to be food that only poor people ate. Kids would go to school and hide to eat their lobster because they didn't want to be made fun of! Now it's one of the most popular expensive dishes that you can get! Although she did say that "nothing is sacred at McDonald's" because they serve a McLobster there. :)
Our trolley tour ended at the top of the Old City Market, my new favorite place... ever. We walked into the market and were immediately enchanted by the place in front of us, so filled with life! There were so many things to see, smell, taste and hear. The shopping was also magnificent! I bought so many wonderful souvenirs in the market! Especially at a stall called The Butcher's Daughter. She sold local crafts and jewelry and I was in love! I was in heaven when I realized that there was no end to the whale and mermaid items! There were also many other artisans, we bought a cute watercolor painting of a lighthouse and a whale tail that is also a fun souvenir addition.
Another big plus was that ALL of the people continued to be very friendly, very helpful and genuinely interested in our story. We even got a compliment on being "intelligent" .. which is just kind of funny. But I suppose the typical "cruise crowd" is not always the most culturally aware... ;)
We tried the coffee at Java Moose (how cute is that?!), the gelato and stocked up on plenty of souvenirs for ourselves and our families.
After we shopped and explored we sat down to lunch at Billy's Seafood Company. The food was incredible! I had crab cakes and a delicious salad and Kyle had fried clam strips and fries. It was all AMAZING! I love seafood, so it was great to have it that fresh and expertly cooked!
Once we'd ate our fill, we paid and walked back through the market and down the escalators to the newer shopping center (Brunswick Square Shopping Centre), where we didn't explore more than the floor we were on, since the stores were mostly chains and that wasn't the type of shopping we wanted to do. We did find an adorable knitting store though! I didn't buy a gorgeous pair of mittens they had, but I might order them online when winter is getting closer, because I can't get them out of my head!
At the end of the shopping center is skyway that takes you to another sort of shopping center that also houses a fountain, the New Brunswick Museum and the most adorable library I've ever seen. I'd gone straight from mermaid/whale heaven to book heaven. It was a great day my friends!
We visited a few shops and ended up in the museum gift shop which was incredible! So many great finds there (including MORE whale things!), we had plenty of time so we decided to go into the museum itself for a quick walk through. We didn't have time to read every exhibit's information or to take in all there was to see, but we definitely enjoyed it! The first level was a lot about ship building, sailing etc. since we were in the maritimes.
The second level was natural sciences including lots of (you guessed it!) WHALES! I had the best time staring up at the models and skeletons, marveling at the size of those magnificent creatures!
I learned a lot and also identified the strange creature that I'd seen flailing around in the water from the ship window. Everyone, meet the ocean sunfish. Strange looking thing huh? They can grow to be up to thirteen feet in length and swim on their sides. They are the largest bony fish in the world. Crazy.
The third level featured some fantastic Canadian art. I loved seeing all of the beautiful carvings and paintings. My three favorite (left to right) were 9 O'Clock by Dennis Burton, Italian Symphony by Peggy Smith and First Dance/Last Dance by John Hooper.
After we left the museum we stopped upon a cart that was selling these pastries called Beaver Tails, which were basically fried dough topped with various fillings. Kyle got one that was topped with Nutella, Reese's Pieces and Peanut Butter. He let me try a few bites and it was really pretty good!
We walked through a few more shops and saw this fun mermaid in the window of one!
After the other shops we walked back to our ship (gigantic isn't it!?) where we shopped more in the booths at the pier. I found a great pair of pearl earrings.. that weren't all that expensive. Once again I should have stocked up on the inexpensive Canadian pearls!
So I'm sure you can understand why Saint John stole my heart; gorgeous scenery, beautiful weather, whales, mermaids, books, lots of culture. Oh, I could go on and on.
I would definitely love to go back and explore even more someday.
Add Saint John to your travel list ASAP!
Up next: Snapshots of Halifax & Peggy's Cove
Have you ever been to Saint John?
Where have you had the best vacation shopping?
All for now,