Looking for dinosaurs in the Badlands, AB Kayaking in Caliper Lake Provincial ParkMining for Amethyst in Thunder Bay, ONThe amazing sunsets in Sleeping Giant NPExploring Beautiful MontrealSwimming and Sunbathing in Shediac, NBLighthouse trail on Gaspiesie PeninsulaExploring the Maritimes in Nova ScotiaDriving the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton IsExploring Grassy Point in North SydneySeeint Whales and exploring St John’s, NFTracing heritage and hiking on Fogo IslandExploring Gros Morne National Park Ancient Pictographs in Lake Superior.Passing the centre of CanadaThe beautiful Prairies of SK & Manitoba
Slept in again and made bacon butties for breakfast….again. Wandered into central Sydney to find the library so I could print out my boarding passes for my return flight to Canada should I have any issues on my arrival at Gatwick. It was closed on Mondays, typical of a small town and very annoying. Walked along the boardwalk beside the inlet to the Big Fiddle, I’m not sure why Sydney has a big fiddle, I guess it’s due to the Celtic culture of the island but the town doesn’t offer much else so why not build a ‘big thing’ to attract people? It has been done many times before in other towns around the globe.Spoke to a lovely lady in a gift shop beside the information centre and Fergus bought some soap, out of guilt for being in there so long chatting to her I think. I don’t think many people visited the store so we were happy to chat.
Wandered through town which was not the nicest, yet another high street with boarded up shops, restaurants with nobody in them and office buildings, ruined due to cheaper chain supermarkets and fast food restaurants built on the outskirts of town. We had seen a lot of this in small town Canada.
Headed back to our Air B&B house. Our host, Will had gone to work so didn’t get to say goodbye, he was a very nice chap. Grabbed our gear and headed up towards North Sydney. Left Sydney at 2pm and our ferry didn’t leave until 11:45pm so we had hours to fill in. Drove the coast route past small villages, inlets and small lakes. Stopped briefly for a walk around Petersfield Provincial Park. Walked along the stony beach and through forest for about an hour and a half. Carried on to North Sydney and printed out my boarding passes and ferry ticket at the library, visited the information centre and Tim Hortons to use the wi-fi.
Drove up the coast to waste time and as we were going through Sydney Mines we could see some sort of concrete structure out on the point. We had already noticed some battlements on the cliffs below us so got as close as we could to it and parked the car.
Walked down to the large structure which turned out to be part of the Chapel Point Battery Site. The main building was 4 stories high but you weren’t able to get above the ground floor which was just a series of graffitied, littered, dark rooms. A few meters from it, towards the cliff edge were 2 identical gun battlements and you could see where a gun of some sort once sat. The rails it would have sat upon were still there and there were various rooms and cubbies around it i’m guessing were used to store ammunition and other defensive material.There was one more area that was a large, very dark room that had steps from both ends leading to a lower level and then a second pair of staircases leading down to what looked like a door or doorway to another room. It was pitch black down there and even though I really wanted to go down the steps to investigate, I didn’t and chickened out. I will always wonder what is down that dark, dirty staircase….Decided to go to the ferry terminal and check in and leave the car in the queue while we went to get dinner. The man in the kiosk took the printout of our tickets, cave us real tickets and told us to go in row 9. There were about 15 rows full of cars, campervans, lorries and motorbikes all waiting patiently to board the huge ferry.Went to a local pizza shop and ordered a pizza and garlic bread and ate slowly while chatting and trying to pass the time. Sat in the terminal for a while, I bought a travel pillow then sat in the car for the last hour and a half.
It didn’t take us long to get on the ferry once boarding began, we boarded from the back and parked on the 3rd level, right at the front. Went and got a comfy seat in front of 3 large tv screens on level 8. It wasn’t overly busy, a few seats were taken but most people slept on the carpet between the seats, although the safety video had mentioned this was frowned upon, I guess they do the journey often.It took at least an hour to actually start moving and by then it was dark so I could only watch the lights of North Sydney pass as we left the inlet when I ventured up onto the sun deck. Watched a bit of The History Channel and the News before heading off the sleep.
Today was a day for relaxation.
- No driving (well not hours and hours at least)
- No map reading
- No cooking on our camp cooker
- No arguing
- No worries about finding a place to stay
I woke up early as usual but lay in bed for a few more hours before getting up and having bacon butties for breakfast.
It was another hot day, I even burnt my feet on the black mat as I was getting in our washing. It was hot but there was a breeze to so we decided to hit the beach. Dominion Beach Provincial Park is the closest to the house so we headed up there, it’s only 20 minutes out of town and offers a 1.5-km sandy beach, with boardwalks providing access to the beach and protecting the dunes. Other amenities include change houses, salt rinse showers, flush toilets and two large parking lots.We lay on the grass between the washrooms and the lagoon as the beach was so windy and a little cold. Had some pasta salad and sandwhiches, did crosswords, read the paper and relaxed.
Went for a walk down the beach after a few hours of sunbathing and then around the lagoon. Found some great skimming stones too so did that for a while.In the evening we decided to go to the cinema. Fergus had wanted to go and see either the new Batman movie or Drive Baby for a while so we decided to go as we were in a city and there was a Cineplex close by. Good movie, not quite what I expected but it was enjoyable.
We are both so tired. Tired of waking up early, Fergus is tired of driving, tired of living out of the car, tired of the heat.
This has been a trip of a lifetime but to do it in a month has been really draining, we are on the road almost every day and haven’t had a lot of chill out time so we decided to head straight to Sydney to relax before catching the ferry to Newfoundland, driving 9+ hours across it and flying to London. Had some very watery Walmart vege soup for breakfast and got on our way around the Cape Breton peninsula.
Past Ingonish the terrain turned to steeper and more scenic as we climbed the coastal road to the Highlands.The skywas blue, the Atlantic was calm, the flora varying and the road wasn’t too busy, the road surface was still horrible though. Canadian roads are the worst due to the extreme weather, Manitoba and Quebec were the worst.
Headed through the cantre of the Cape to the West side past a lot of roadworks, small towns and highland plains. (still no Moose) The West was even more dramatic and we twixted and turned down the windy roads and had amazing views of the now very choppy ocean. Stopped briefly at Lone Shieling, a tribute to Donald. S. MacIntosh who gave a lot of land to the province upon his death and asked that a small area be set aside and on it build a cabin in the same design as the Lone Shieling on the Isle of Skye. Stopped for lunch at an area overlooking the ocean and had chicken, coleslaw, mask and macaroni cheese rolls. After finding out yet another friend is pregnant we went on to discuss marriage and babies and what we want out of life. It’s hard to choose when you have chosen a life of adventure and travel so far, my freedom to travel is very important to me. Carried on along the Cabot Trail and eventually arrived back at the turnoff we had taken the previous day. Headed back to Baddeck for an ice cream and a rest before crossing the impressive Seal Island Bridge onto Boulardeire Is and then on to North Sydney and Sydney. Arrived at our Air B&B host’s house and had a good chat before being showed to our room and doing some laundry (we had both run out of clean clothes!)
Ordered Chinese for dinner and chilled out.
Woke up feeling 100% better and cooked scrambled eggs and ravioli for breakfast.
Went to have a look around the small village of Pictou. The town has significant historical importance due to it being the site where the first Scottish settlers, fleeing the highland clearances, landed in 1773.
We visited Hector’s Heritage Quay, a neat little Museam on the jetty which also insludes a full size replica of The Hector, the Dutch barque that carried the first 179 passengers from Loch Broom. Wandered around the Museam, read about life in Scotland, on the ship and life in Nova Scotia, then we had a look around the ship. What aweful conditions they lived in, and for all those months. Went and got a yummy orange/pineapple ice cream and continued on our way.
Headed up past New Glasgow, Antigonish and onto the Trans Canada to Cape Breton Island. Stopped briefly at the Tourist information centre where I bought my Stepfather’s sister, Lyn a Nova Scotian flag.
Stopped in Baddeck and got some ready meals of cold ham, mash and coleslaw and sat of the riverside and ate lunch. Went for a paddle in the bay and considered getting the kayak out but had some way still to go so got on our way.Headed North up the Cape Breton peninsula passing tiny coastal villages, many with signs outside the houses letting tourists know their craft, glass blowing, quilt making, pottery, it was all there in amongst the holiday homes and fishermans houses. Once we reached Cape Breton Highlands National Park we visited the Parks Canada office to get some info and then came across a Parks Canada campground so pulled in and got their last spot!
It was a busy camp compared to the other ones we had camped at and the next door neighbours were mere feet away. We were close to the toilet/shower block, the dishwashing area and the wifi hut. (yes, there are such things in campgrounds these days!)
Went to explore the beach, freshwater lake and drove up to Keltic Lodge for a look before returning to camp for dinner.That night we were woken by a terrific storm. Loud, banging thunder and fork lightning cracking against the sky. I was glad I was in the car instead of in a tent!
Got up late and had noodles for brunch (it’s all we had) and packed up the car. Gave Serena and the kittens a ride to the vets in Dartmouth which is across the bridge from Halifax.
Drove East to Lawrencetown to check out the surfing beach. A pretty beach but the waves were 2 ft at best. It was so great to be on a beach again though, an actual beach with waves and sand. The water was freezing but the salt air and sea breeze bought back wonderful childhood memories of the sand and surf. How I miss living by the ocean.Carried on up the 357 inland from Musquodoboit Harbour looking for a place to eat. The route was windy, forest lines roads and the towns, it you could call them that, were just a couple of houses and no shops or anything. It was hit and muggy and we were hungover and very tired so stopped by a river for a sleep.
Carried on and decided to just find a cheap motel as we needed a proper bed, somewhere to relax and air conditioning. Fergus booked a cheap last minute motel in Pictou called Dolen’s Inn. Upon arrival we got a choice of 3 rooms (we picked the one that had been renevated) and had a chat to the lovely lady at the desk. Settled in and watched crap tv, did my blog, ate our Burger King meals (plus another meal I accidentally took thinking it was mine!) and had a bath. It was so nice just to vege.
Made spam and egg rolls for breakfast and were on our way around 11. Such a lovely place to stay, if you are ever in the area see if the Rustic Cabin in Hubbards is available on Air B&B. I highly recommend it.Headed to Blue Rocks which is just outside Lunenburg for a look first thing. My manager at Brewster’s Mountain Lodge in Banff grew up in Lunenburg so very kindly wrote out some recommendations for us which we basically planned our day around!
Blue Rocks is a small fishing village but various artists live there too due to its beauty. It’s a great spot for kayaking and just like Peggy’s cove the day before, thick coastal fog rolled in while we were there, you can see it in the pictures below.Lunenberg was our next stop and lunch was on the cards! It was a bit of a nightmare getting parking as town was so busy, found a spot on a residential street a few streets away from the Main Street after about 30 minutes of circling. Lunenburg is another fishing village located on the Fairhaven Peninsula at the western side of Mahone Bay. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Its won most beautiful small town in Canada, Prettiest Painted Places in Canada and Port City of the Year so it worth going for a visit I’d say!
The buildings were all neatly and colourfully painted and had lush green lawns and gardens or flower boxes adorning thei windows. The streets were clean and contained cute shop signs enticing you in to the many gift shops and clothing stores. We headed down to the jetty for a look at the boats moored up. They say, Lunenburg is a holiday destination for the wealthy and by the look of some of the yachts moored there is say that us very true! There were some beautiful saitboays there full of deckhands cleaning and getting prepared for he next voyage.Didnt have much trouble finding the Grand Banker, the building is bright Aqua and overlooks the docks. This place was also recommended by Adam and it was started by a Lunenburger is 1996 and is now also run by Lunenburger so that was an attraction too, keep it local I always say. The menu is great and it’s always a good thing when you have a lot of trouble deciding. We both went for the Po Boy fish sandwich which was amazing! I could have had a second one for dinner it was so good!
Went to a few gift shops and wandered around town before heading off to Ovens Natural Park. Ovens is a 190 acre privately owned park that contains a camping ground, restaurant, shop, petting zoo, cliff trail and gold panning. It was also the site of a gold rush over a century ago.
We paid $23 to get in and did the cave and cliff self guided tour.
Tour explanation: Experience the Park’s fascinating gold rush history, unique geology and diverse coastal environment as you enjoy our self-guided tour along the beautiful sea cliff trail that leads to the famous Ovens Sea caves. High points of the tour are the visits to Tucker’s Tunnel, the overlook at Indian Cave and finally, spectacular Cannon Cave, where you will be able to hear the resounding boom created as the waves enter the cavern.
The trail was pretty cool and it was so nice to feel the ocean breeze and spray from the water rushing in and out of the caves on your face, it was such a hot day.Avter visiting the caves we hotfooted it to Halifax to our Couchsurfing host’s flat.
Serena is a 21 year old uni student. Her flatmate was away in Toronto so we had her room. There are also 2 kittens in the flat, Tilda and Bear. The house is big and in a lovely street about a 30 minute walk to town.We all went out to a bar called Freemans and had some drinks with Serena and a bunch of her uni friends. They were all lovely and liked to tell us about Halifax and what to see & do.Fergus and I carried on to an Irish pub in town called The Halifax Alehouse. Met locals, drank and danced until about 4am. It was fun but spent way too much money and it was definately a night to remember!
Today was a definatately a highlight for me, I had really been looking forward to Nova Scotia. 1, because it’s in the heart of the maritimes and having grown up on the coast, boating and fishing were a big part of my life, 2, my manager at work, Adam, grew up here and has shown my incredible photos of his hometown on the internet during many a long night shift. 3, surfing, I wasn’t to see Fergus surf finally, and maybe I’ll get out on a board too.
Awoke early again due to it being light, freshened up in Walmart and bought some bits (I always feel guilty staying there and using their facilities without at least buying some food) and headed on our way about 9:30am.
Decided to head to Prince Edward Island for lunch but when we arrived at Confederation Bridge there was a sign saying the toll is $46. $46!! No way, not for a few hours, so we decided to visit on our way back and instead cooked our breakfast of spam, scrambled egg and avacago rolls in the information centre car park. Carried on into Nova Scotia and stopped at the information centre for maps and pamphlets. The car is starting to get bogged down with pamphlets I’ve collected! Got a photo with the sign, it’s pretty neat and you can drive to it.Drove the Glooscap Trail South to Parrsborro, a small town on the Bay of Fundy famous for its fossil and rock hounding attractions. The Bay of Fundy has the world’s biggest tides, 14 metres in places and due to this you can scowl the beaches for coloured rocks and fossils.From Parrsboro we travelled East into Truro then South again, through lush rolling hills and small rural towns and turned South West to head down to Peggy’s Cove. Peggy’s Cove is one of the most visited sites in Canada and I had read about it in my Lonely Planet. It’s most famous for its lighthouse but the surrounding fishing villages, beaches, calm bays and ornate houses are just as stunning. The huge bayside mansions kind of ruin the vibe as well as the huge tour buses parked near the lighthouse. I actually say one woman climbing the rocks with high-heeled wedge sandals on! Crazy! The fog had rolled in as we arrived and was quite a sight, how quickly, bright blue sky had turned grey and damp was astounding. Seeing a storm out here must be interesting. It was a lovely place, not a lot to do for young locals I’d imagine but plenty to entertain older, retired folk.It was getting late by then so we headed offf and drove another 45 minutes to our Air B&B accomatoon in Hubbards. Fergus had found someone offering a Rustic cabin on a pond for $32, sounded right up our street so we booked it immediately. Arrived at Joel & April’s beautiful home around 7:30 and had a chat with them before settling in. The cabin is beautiful, just like you’d see in a movie, actually thinking about it, it looks like a smaller version of Johnny’s cabin in Dirty Dancing, although, Fergus and I did not try ‘the lift’ in the pond outside! The cabin is mostly made up of screens so you can hear the birds, frogs and insects outside so if you are not a nature lover it’s perhaps not the place for you but I think it’s very soothing. The cool, ocean air on your skin as you sleep is nice and refreshing too.Wandered around the pond for a look at the path and deck before making a dinner of sausages, veges and cous cous. Watched Game of Thrones, season 7, episode 1 (so excited to finally see it) and went to bed after murdering a few mozzies around 11pm.