I've come to realise that this trip is so much more about winging it and seeing what happens than having any kind of real plan. So on leaving The Smoke, I had a flight to Halifax (way out East) so I could see the maritimes (finally!) and just knew that at some point soonish, I needed to be in Vancouver (way out West). Vancouver because that's where I figured I'd settle and do that whole working thing again...
Because trying to work out when or how to get back to Vancouver was giving me a headache, I decided to delay it a little.
I had three top to-dos on my maritimes list. This included seeing Cape Breton, eating cheap and tasty lobster and seeing Newfoundland. I didn't manage to do any of those... Part of winging it means seeing what opportunities come up and well - making the most of them! It can also (for me anyway) involve a hell of a lot of dithering. What if I go with something and something else comes along that I'd rather do. Or what if I don't organise anything and end up with nowt to do but stroll around the city as a billy?!
Roadtripping along the South Shore
Okay, so I did manage to get something organised before I left London. I found myself two couchsurfers who were up for a multi-day hiking trip around Cape Chignecto. I did also nearly dive straight into a roadtrip to Cape Breton with a potential couch host in Halifax but decided against as there was the possibility of being late for the start of Cape Chignecto. Having not met the two couchsurfers yet and knowing I'd be spending 5 days hiking and camping with them, I thought it not a good idea to piss them off before I met them. After all that dithering, I managed to get myself a last minute couch host in Halifax where I'd spend a couple of nights. You know I love couchsurfing - primarily for all the wonderful and sometimes weirdly wonderful people you meet. You can however click with some folk more quickly than others. My couch host in Halifax was perhaps someone that I'd need a little more time for the clicking to happen but it was still all good. He had the cutest dog and I actually got a bed to sleep on (my own). And because it was a little awkward with him, I was very relieved he'd also offered to put another couch surfer up last minute... who I clicked with straightaway.
Doreen is from Texas and had driven all the way to Halifax from there. Not only that, she was planning to carry on roadtripping all the way to Newfoundland before driving back home. Now that's a roadtrip! And a hell of a lot of mileage under her belt! (Tho' I realise now that it's fairly normal for north americans to drive for hours and hours - no wonder they love automatic cars). If I hadn't already organised anything, I'd have been seriously tempted to join her for the whole trip (apart from the Texas bit of course - that might have been a detour from Vancouver too far). I did, however, join Doreen on a roadtrip along the South Shore. Stop offs included Peggy's Cove (NS is full of lighthouses but the one here is the one to see - plus there are the spectacular waves), Mahone Bay and Lunenberg (both very cute fishing towns). Anyway, here's some of what we saw along the way...
Lobster traps (sadly, nobody selling any cheap lobster out of their minivan)
Chilling out in the sunshine - we saw lots of these fabulously colourful deck chairs.
(photo c/o Doreen - check out her fabulous photos of Nova Scotia and New Foundland here)
Side trip to the pet cemetary (photo c/o Doreen)
photo c/o Doreen
My roadtrip buddy, Doreen
Word of advice
We got chatting to this guy and his wife (both from Newfoundland) had come to re-visit the church above. He's a new painter and very kindly showed us some of his work.
One of the locations where TV programme, Haven, is set. We got talking to the guy who owned the boat and he played it all down but you can tell he loved regaling people with filming stories :o)
Doreen, thank you for letting me join you for part of your roadtrip - already looking forward to seeing some of your Texas!
As well as the roadtrip above, I did also get the chance to explore some of Halifax with my couch host and his lovely dog.
The Old Farmer's Market
NS is also the birthplace of Alexander Keith's - Canada actually has quite a few great beers and this is one.
I don't know what this building is but I just liked it.
The Public Gardens
Whilst I waited for my ride to meet my fellow hikers, I wandered around this beautiful park.