July 1: We spent our two days off watching the Saint John River empty in and empty out, empty in and empty out of the Bay of Fundy…the water against the pier, rising and falling, rising and falling. What an amazing force of nature it all is: this huge and powerful tidal river that was central in the building of Canada, being pulled back and forth. Before Canada was Canada, St John was the center of the British Empires shipbuilding industry. When Canada was officially formed in 1867, a third of the ships sailing in the British Fleet were built in St John’s (I may have made that figure up). The river that bears the town’s name runs straight through the heart of the province providing easy access to the enormous forests that were felled to create the giant wooden sailing ships of the 18th century. This city was one of the financial engines for the new country and it has a rich and long history….in any case, Happy Canada Day!
We celebrated the day by watching the final game of the Euro Cup; the tournament favourite Spain versus the upstart Italy. The first fifty or sixty minutes of the game were very exciting. And even though Spain was up 2 –0 by the end of the half, one felt that, if not for the brilliant play of Spain’s goalie Casillas, it could have easily been a tie game. Italy kept up the attack at the start of the second half but then Spain subbed in Fernando Torres and his fresh legs were no match for the tired Italian defenders (who were also down a man due to injuries). Torres quickly made it 3-0 and then set up the crushing fourth and final, goal. All four goals were feats of unbelievable athleticism and skill: “The Beautiful Game” indeed. All in all it was a very good tournament, with a handful of upsets, many contested games, lots of scream inducing plays and in the end, the best team one. We’re already looking forward to the World Cup in two years.
July 2: I watched the fireworks from my room last night and today I did nothing…the town was shut down for the Canada Day long-weekend and so I just lay in my bed and watched the river flow. A much needed day of recovery.