Arriving in Halifax I have completed the 6 days and 3781 mile journey across Canada arriving at the Atlantic Ocean. And while it seems entirely out of sync with the rest of the trip it seems essential to hire a car. Shuttles and bus services are limited and expensive so I will bite the bullet and learn to drive on the wrong side of the road. There is too much to see and too much time to spend here not to.
Priority is the Cabot trail, the 185 mile round trip of Cape Breton for the most beautiful coastline that does not seem to ever end. The tourist season is not yet in full swing and it feels as though I (almost) have the place to myself. The biggest and warmest welcome I have received anywhere greets me at Whycocomagh and a place where I have felt at home, making firm friends with people I have since met up with again on the remainder of my journey (and with future plans for Vienna).
Watching humming birds feed while overlooking the incredible Bras d’Or Lake (UNESCO Biosphere Reserve) over breakfast was just for starters. The Cabot Trail takes in Pleasant Bay, one of the best places in the world to see whales from land, the cute town of Baddeck and the wonderful Ingonish beach, with opportunities for walking and eating as well as endlessly stopping for photographs. On the last stretch the highlight was seeing a moose, tentatively at first dipping her toes in the water and then wading in for a swim in the lake to cool off after a gorgeous summers day.
Leaving Cape Breton with heavy boots, I headed to the ferry for Prince Edward Island stopping at soothing Cape Prim where the gentle waters were hypnotic and the beaches and rocks are red, even more stunning against the blue of the ocean. Charlottetown is a popular next stop and another pretty town with markets and harbour front. My journey then continued back across the immense Confederation Bridge (8 miles long!) into New Brunswick and across to Nova Scotia for more endless coastline beauty.
Driving was not a chore, so much to see, forever a pretty cove or harbour, nestle of boats and glorious sunset. Heading south to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg (where the whole town is UNESCO listed) I was very pleased to still have a few days for exploring. Another tiny ferry across the couple of hundred yards of water from one side to the other, reaching my destination of La Have. On arrival there is a wonderful bakery with an even more wonderful artists co-op on the waters edge. Talking to one of the artists who makes glass teardrops of ocean (a favourite and most treasured souvenir) she told me of the incredible museum with a necklace and a story that lies just beyond La Have. A museum dedicated to just about everything and anything remotely related to the area sits along from Crescent Beach. Treasures including a necklace found in a fish caught near by many years ago and donated by a small girl was the object I had visited to see. The necklace having won first prize for the most bizarre thing found in a fish, an annual competition I think.
A place of quaint nostalgia, of another earlier quieter time, yet also of hard working fishing communities who have suffered greatly in the elements and ravages of hurricanes and storms, not to mention the brutal never ending winters. I left just before Hurricane Arthur arrived, the first of the season.
A place of many layers, on the surface it could easily be mistaken for a beautiful and wild retreat or escape, but beyond the surface much more lies beneath, all the more captivating. The most incredible end to my journey across Canada. Another little piece of me was left in Nova Scotia.