A Travellerspoint blog

On the Road to Cape Breton

Antigonish, Cabot Trail, and Bay St. Lawrence

sunny 25 °C

After a quick stop to buy a mattress to pick up later, we were on our way out to Cape Breton! We had originally planned to go to Cape Breton last April, but due to the weather we had cancelled. The much awaited trip was finally at hand!

The trip started in the familiar territory of Marine Drive. Our first excitement was the town of Antigonish where we stopped for lunch and coffee. It was a really cute town and just like Halifax, seemed to run on students. Soon enough, we were crossing the bridge to Cape Breton.

We started around the Cabot Trail by heading towards Ingonish. The scenery was beautiful and we stopped constantly to take pictures and gawk at the view.

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It was kind of nice to have the fancy car for this portion of the trip. We could zip on and off the highway really quickly!

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We are staying at an eco-campground on the very tip of Cape Breton in a town called Bay Saint Lawrence. It's a pretty crazy location, so you should look on Google maps.

We made it to our new home on Cape Breton just as the sun was setting. The scene was literally breathtaking. I don't think I had ever experienced something so beautiful in my life.

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Our accommodations consists of a little cabin right on the ocean, with no power, water, or services... just the most amazing view!

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Posted by Kristy_pj 10:55 Archived in Canada Tagged camping cape_breton cabot_trail Comments (0)

The Move to Halifax

Halifax, Nova Scotia

sunny 23 °C

Nathan is starting his Masters in Urban Planning this fall at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

I joined him for a quick trip out to Nova Scotia to do a bit of camping, but also to get him settled into an apartment. I found him an apartment online (because that's what I do) a few months ago and he signed a 1 year lease based on the pictures... pretty scary!

We arrived in Halifax very early Friday morning. We picked up our rental car, but they didn't have any of the ones we reserved so they gave us a huge upgrade. They made me choose between a Ford Mustang and a Lincoln MKS. Because we were planning on moving things in the vehicle, I went with the Lincoln and it is NICE!

We got to the new apartment to meet the landlord right on time. Luckily, the apartment was better than we imagined! It's in a character building, so it has hardwood floors and built-in shelving everywhere.

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It's a basement suite but has amazing windows everywhere because it's a corner unit. You don't even need to use the lights because it has such good natural lighting! It has such a cool, urban feel. (I think I will try and make a video to show people, since most people will never make it out here).

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To furnish the apartment, I went out to various thrift stores around the city and scored some great deals... all in my Lincoln.

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We were supposed to get a delivery from Sears of a davenport sofa so we could have something to sleep on for the night. However, Sears sucks and called halfway through the day to say they weren't coming (even though we bought it 2 months prior and had confirmed delivery 3 times). This sent us into a frenzy to find Nathan a mattress but nothing was working out and it was getting late. We ended up having to sleep on a blanket on the floor in the corner.

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Nathan's new neighborhood is awesome! I would say it's comparable to Whyte Ave in Edmonton, although Whyte Ave 10 years ago when it was still cool... Lots of cool ethnic restaurants, coffee shops, and foodie hangouts. Cute places to shop, beautiful old houses, loads of green space and the University campus complete the street.

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The Public Gardens right across from his place:

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Because we were so successful with getting Nathan stuff on the first day, and then got stuck with the mattress and the couch, we decided to head out to Cape Breton early to spend the long weekend out there. When we get back, we will figure out those very important items.

Posted by Kristy_pj 09:20 Archived in Canada Tagged halifax Comments (0)

The Trip That Never Was

Stranded in Valemount, BC

sunny 22 °C

We left bright and early on Saturday for an amazing adventure out on Vancouver Island. We were traveling in my 1975 Volkswagen Westfalia camper van and brought Nathan's younger siblings with us! (to prepare for such a journey, we had the van completely inspected by a Volkswagen mechanic) We left Edmonton singing songs and playing games, very excited for our journey.

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We crossed the border into British Columbia at around noon. We got gas in Valemount but we decided to go a bit further before stopping for lunch. About 25kms outside of Valemount we pulled over and ate a relaxing lunch. I had a nap. We remarked how well the van was driving and how we were making really good time.

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Just after leaving our lunch spot, the van started to smell funny and I could tell something was wrong. It's really hard to tell though because the motor is in the back. At the next roadside pull off, we pulled over and Nathan and I got out and looked at the motor. It was really hot and seemed like it was overheating... Understandable from the steep mountain drive. We waited a bit but decided we needed to carry on until we had cell phone reception and then we would call someone.

Well, we drove out of the pullout and the engine started to make a weird noise. We went for about 2 kms and then the engine just stopped. We were stuck on the side of the road with no idea what was wrong and with no cell service.

I checked all the things I knew to check but there was an oil spill in the middle of the highway so we knew we needed a mechanic. After a quick conference, we decided that Nathan needed to hitch hike back to Valemount to get a tow truck. We also decided that we needed to get the van back to the pullout where we would be safe.

Nathan and his brother pushed the van backwards, uphill for about 2 kms while I drove and his little sister filmed the occasion.

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After we got safely into the pullout, Nathan started to look for a ride. We tried to get people to stop but they wouldn't. Eventually, he decided to walk towards Valemount and continue to get a ride.

Meanwhile, the kids and I hung out in the van and I tried to control my anxiety. We read books, played games, foraged for berries, wandered down to the little creek beside us, and did everything to keep our minds off the situation. We actually had quite a but of fun, besides the fact that Nathan's brother kept getting attacked by giant beatles which made his little sister scream.

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But then, Nathan was gone for four hours and it was getting to be around supper time. Finally, a guy stopped to see if we were ok. He said that he used to drive a VW van and so he always stops for VW people. He took a look at the motor and I explained that NAthan was walking. There wasn't anything he could do, so I suggested he pick up Nathan since he was heading that way anyways.

About half an hour later, a giant tow truck came to pick up the van! Yay!

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But, he didn't pick up Nathan because there wasn't room for him in the tow truck. By the time we drove back to Valemount, he was no longer walking.

When we got to the mechanic place (which is also uHaul, the tow company, the Purolator, and the Greyhound station) Nathan was sitting there. We had a mock dramatic reunion, although secretly I was really glad that he wasn't eaten by bears or by someone who picked him up.

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Nathan ended up walking just under 20 kms before the guy who stopped to talk to me picked him up. He guy remarked to Nathan that he probably won't get a ride this close to Alberta... Haha. Honestly though, I can't believe that in 4 hours, more than one person didn't stop to help us. In fact, as soon as we made eye contact they avoided us.

Anyways, no one works on Sundays in Valemount, so we had to wait at least two nights. They also said that the probably can't fix it anyways because they dont have Volkswagen expertise. We settled into a gross yet overpriced hotel.

By the next day, everyone in Valemount knew us and asked us how our van was. We walked around the entire town, played at the park and in the pool.

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On Monday, the had looked at the van by about 11 am and had said they couldn't fix it. So, we began to make new plans. We moved to a nice yet cheaper hotel with a waterside.

Yeah, that was the extent of our plans.

I made phone calls, canceled reservations and tried to figure out how to entertain kids in Valemount. We visited the tourist info booth and found out that the salmon were running. We made the little hike down to the river and watched the salmon. It was actually amazing and proved to be hours of enjoyment over multiple days.

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We also visited the little Valemount museum. For $8 for all of us, it was a pretty cool place. My favorite part was gathering awesome ideas of things to replicate and learning about the Sasquatch woman.

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On Tuesday morning, my dad called and he offered to come get us since he was working relatively near us. When he got there, I felt so relieved! I had been feeling really claustrophobic in the tiny mountain town. We had a nice drive home listening to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

We still have to go back Saturday to get the van.... So the adventure continues.

Even though we didn't make it out to the island, we had a ton of fun talking and being goofs together.

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The best part of the whole adventure is that today is my birthday and we are heading out to see my family at the lake. I get to spend my birthday with all the other weirdos that I love!

Posted by Kristy_pj 11:13 Archived in Canada Tagged road_trip british_columbia valemount Comments (0)

The Italian Centre and Little Italy

Edmonton, AB

sunny 24 °C

Edmonton has a cute Little Italy that borders on Chinatown. In the past few years it has become really vibrant and a great destination. Now that we live really close, only about a 15 minute bike ride, it's the perfect stop after work.

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The Italian Centre is right in the middle of Little Italy. There is also a south side location that we have often visited but this location is much more rooted in the community.

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The Italian Centre has the usual lovely Italian grocery items like beautiful bread, handmade pasta, and canned tomatoes.

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One of my favourite items to get there is the flavoured syrups, especially since we have a Soda Stream.

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We also picked up dolmades, wild rice, basil, cheese, and espresso. For supper, we picked out prosciutto to wrap around aspargus and then grill.

I can definitely see us making a Little Italy stop many nights after work, especially since there are many other cute shops to visit!

Posted by Kristy_pj 20:46 Archived in Canada Tagged food shopping canada edmonton little_italy Comments (0)

Summer? Is that you?

Spring has sprung in Edmonton

sunny 25 °C

It finally seems as if winter is gone and spring is here in Edmonton. In fact, the weather has been a lot like summer lately. It reminds me of why Edmonton is so great! Even though I have travelled to many different places around the world, there is no place that compares to summer in Edmonton. There is so much to see and do and the weather is amazing. It almost makes the winter worthwhile...

We just got some new herbs and flowers and the cat was very happy to see their arrival.

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Especially since this picture of her below was taken only weeks ago.

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Posted by Kristy_pj 20:57 Archived in Canada Tagged snow cat spring gardening Comments (0)

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