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August 2, A Morning in St John

August 2

Update August 5

And again Friday, August 6

And yet again, August 8


Friends and Families ,

This was originally just a quick note last Monday. I wrote it at lunch, to show Marianne what I did that morning. Now, (Aug 5)I have added captions so there is at least SOME explanation.


Now (Aug 6) I suppose I need to add some words to describe my time in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Here they are:


The flights over, from Nuremberg to Saint John, via Frankfurt and Toronto, were fine. All the planes were on time, or almost. All my seat companions were small (I hate sitting next to someone my own size!) The Frankfurt connection is a bit easier now that we do not need a second "North American" security check. Of course the Frankfurt airport still sprawls , so walking from plane to plane is considerable exercise.

Toronto airport was even more walking! It seemed like the plane gate was at one end of the airport and the immigration and customs facilities were at the other. I walked and walked, on elevated passages that seemed to stretch forever. At my goal, the immigration hall was huge, but hardly any lines. However, the Canadian officials were pretty thorough about asking why travelers had come here. I could not tell if they were suspicious or just doubtful that anyone needed to visit their country.

(An interesting aside is that one can clear either Canadian or US immigration/customs here in Toronto. This may be a consideration in future trips because the lines looked smaller and the connection time to places like San Francisco may even be better.)

The flight from Toronto to Saint John was late, so instead of arriving at midnight, it was almost one o'clock in the morning before I walked through the small New Brunswick airport. At that time of night, or maybe at any time, my small commuter airplane was the only customer, so getting out was quite quick. I got a taxi (forty dollars, Canadian) and was in bed at about 2:30, about 20 hours since I left home. Not too bad.



Monday was not a work day, so I toured the "Uptown" district of the city. Of course "uptown" meant "downtown", but this is Canada and they use the language differently, eh? Saint John was arguably the first European city in the land that became Canada. It's sheltered, ice-free port was the destination of French and English explorers and settlers.

At one time, it contained the largest collection of ship builders in North America as they took advantage of the vast forests nearby and the dramatic tides of the Bay of Fundy to lift ships from their workframes. The remnant of those shipways are still visible along the Saint John River.

Modern Saint John is a city of about 100,000 people and reminded me of a smaller-scale Seattle, at least the Seattle of my youth before the Microsoft money dressed the place up. The city is dominated by the harbor, or "harbors" more properly as there seems to be separate port facilities all around.

In my week here, I found the town to be interesting, in a working-world way, the tourist facilities extensive (lots of cruise ships), and the people quite friendly. The August weather was a mix; Monday was beautiful while Tuesday and Wednesday were rainy and cool. Thursday was foggy, but not so cool. Today, Friday morning, is like yesterday. Everyone said this is the best weather of the year, so I don't think I will volunteer for a wintertime visit!

We all stayed in the Hilton, which is very convenient to the harbor shops of Uptown. Again, the people were friendly, but the facility was well-worn. My favorite restaurant was the Opera Cafe, run by a German couple and Margaret let me practice my language skills. So, I'd recommend the Opera Cafe, but suggest a broader search for hotels than the Hilton.

I missed most of the"attractions" of Saint John. I did visit The Jewish Museum, The China Museum, and the Engine #2 Fire Museum. All combined, they warrant about an hour, max. I also walked through Trinity Church, founded by Loyalists who left the United States after the American Revolution. The jet-boat ride up the St John River was fun, but one needs to time a trip to match either high tide or low tide when the elevation difference between the bay and the river is large enough to make dramatic waves and whirlpools.

I have added a few website links, now that I am "back on the web".

-- Tourist office

-- Boat ride

-- Trinity Church

-- Jewelry store (it was anniversary time)


So, that's it. A nice visit, but I am not sure I would want to spend TOO much time here. But, I could be wrong, eh?




The flight home was ... a flight home. I left for the airport early because I had nothing left to do and, as always, I was anxious to get going. My noon flight west from the small Saint John's airport to the giant Toronto airport was two hours, hours that would be repeated as I headed east from Toronto to Frankfurt. The over-night Air Canada flight was OK enough, although the plane was almost completely full. I caught a few chunks of sleep, but envied the passengers who seemed to sleep the entire seven hours.

We had been a bit delayed in Toronto, looking for passengers to match the bags in the hold, so we arrived a bit late in Frankfurt. My one-hour layover was cut short and I was certain I'd miss the Nuremberg connection. Luck was with me however, as there was no line at immigration and I made the run between pier B to gate A23 in under 15 minutes. After that, it was a 30 minute flight, 10 minutes to get my bag, and out to the curb to meet my driver. She drove us home and I crashed for a two-hour nap. Back home!!!

Fog threatened my flight.

But the airport was clear.

Monument to the St. John inventor of the variable propeller, Wallace Turnbull.

My airplane

Part of the long walk in Toronto airport from local to international

An Emirates Airline A380 -- huge, and a bit ugly imho.


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