Walk The Battery in St. John's, Nfld.
Colourful, ramshackle wooden homes clutching the side of a steep, rocky cliff. One of the world’s most striking harbours. And fog rolling in off the Atlantic. A walk along the paved path that winds its way through the Battery neighbourhood of St. John’s, Newfoundland, is one of the best urban walks in the world -- a treasure of sights and sounds mixed with the smell of fresh sea air and a stiff breeze off the ocean.
One of the things I love most about the walk (it only takes a few minutes) is how casual it is, with hand-painted signs pointing the way and a real sense of “what’s around the next corner” adventure. Homes and front porches are often set up right against the pavement.
There are a few artists’ residences/galleries scattered along the way, giving you more time to linger. But given the beauty of the natural setting, the rainbow-coloured houses and the friendly locals (Newfoundlanders are so welcoming they make the Irish look mean), you’ll already be taking plenty of time along the way.
As you reach the end of the residential area, you’ll find a wooden boardwalk that takes you along the harbour and up a trail to Signal Hill, where you’ll find an old military fort that commands a wonderful view of the city.
On a clear day you can see for miles down the coast toward Cape Spear, the easternmost point of North America.
Take your time. Bring lots of memory cards for your camera. And don’t be shy about engaging the locals. Chances are you’ll be invited in for coffee and a long chat.