Monday, August 19, 2013

NL Day 2: The Trek to Bell Island

On Monday we woke up to a full house.  MaMa and BaBa had arrived around midnight the night before with Gabe, Que, Valora and Sera.  The kids were delighted to see each other as always.  One perk of the house is that it comes with a grand piano.  So we get to be serenaded by Valora and Sera's musical talents whenever we're in the house.   Gordon's cousins Fred and Mabel - along with their families - are also here this week (for simplicity we'll call them: "the Chen Clan").  After a few failed attempts at skyping we finally connected with them via cell phone when Gabe took one for the team and signed up for an international plan.   The Chen Clan had been here since Saturday and were a few days ahead of us in terms of knowing what was going on.  They suggested a trip to Bell Island for some fish and chips and we said SURE!  While waiting for them to arrive, we talk a stroll outside to explore the neighborhood a bit.  We walked down to the harbor and hung out in a lovely little park by the water with some big statues of Newfoundlands and Labradors and great views of the working harbor.




After a brief talk with Auntie Karen we found out that one did not take a ferry and walk around Bell island.  You took the car over there on the ferry.  Phew - glad we sorted that out ahead of time.  We drove on down to the ferry and found a line of cars waiting to get on.  We consolidated from 3 mini-van type contraptions down to two and got in line.  We were also told by the guy at the ticket counter that there was "no way" we would make it on the 1:10 ferry.  SO we decided to abandon our vehicles, leaving Que, Von and Mabel behind to inch us forward in line to go get some fish and chips before the kids melted down from lack of food.  We were parked right across the street from Wild Horses Pub & Eatery so we headed over there on masse.   

While sitting in the enclosed porch waiting for our food we noticed that Que had disappeared with the van and then come back.  Whatever was she doing??  Turns out the ticket dude was completely wrong - we would have easily made it on the ferry.  Poor Que and Von now began this dance of driving forward and then jumping the line a number of times to keep us in position for the NEXT ferry. We all ate, grabbed takeout for the drivers and then headed back to the car.  Somehow we managed to miss the loading for the next ferry as well.  Fred and I strolled leisurely across the street joking about being left behind when we saw Que waving frantically with a "what the heck is wrong with you people" look on her face.  We jumped in the cars only to have the ferry workers cut the line off DIRECTLY in front of our car.  We're almost certain they were just messing with us at this point.  So, we decided to get serious and you know - STAY WITH THE CARS. So we did and eventually made it on to the island.  Go us.

Here's that long line of cars - NO WAY we're going to make it... NOT

Proof that we did indeed get on the ferry. P.S. it was windy

But it was all totally fine because: THIS VIEW.  Also vacation and cousins.

Once on the island we followed some signs to the #2 Mine Tour.  A discussion ensued about if this was the #2 mine in a series of mines (what happened to #1??) or is this the second attraction to visit on the island.  Turns out, it was the former.  The tour was actually quite awesome.  We were almost warned away from it with kids by the high school student in the visitor center, but we were not to be deterred after the effort required to get on that ferry!  The tour was fantastic and may have just got a few members of our party thinking about Indian Jones (not me of course.... okay totally me, but whatever I'm sure there were others).  If you are in Newfoundland I highly suggest checking them out! 

Some obligatory "Kids posing as miners" shots

Getting good shots down there was tough, but Sera makes everything look good

After the ferry adventure and the mine tour we were all pretty done.  We headed back to St. John's, regrouped at our house and went out for dinner on George St.  The restaurant was not good - I would not recommend it.  Let's just say that if you're planning on dinner on George St with families do consider hitting up The Works.  We ended up getting take-out burgers from there  to compensate for our rather sub-par dinner and they were yummy.  The crew hung out at "our place" that evening, but I went to bed early.  Because apparently that's just how I roll on vacation.