Friday, August 6, 2010

From Quebec City to New Brunswick...Part 3

We have now arrived at our first actual vacation destination. The past couple of days and nights were necessary to get to Fundy National Park near Alma, New Brunswick. The only real accomodations (other than camping...and I DON'T camp) are cabins on the top of a little mountain with an absolutely gorgeous view of the Bay of Fundy. You could really just sit on the porch and let the stress melt away. Something about water with me makes me so relaxed! Our plans while we are here are simple...find some moose and go kayaking in the bay.

The kayaking part was easy. We went out with Fresh Air Adventures on a very windy day. We were afraid that it would be cancelled because of the harsh wind, but we went out as far as we could go and then turned back a little early. The wind was not so bad when it was blocked by big cliffs, but pretty rough otherwise. Our trip out, we saw a bald eagle in a tree and a harbor seal playing off to the side. Once we docked our kayaks and got out for a snack, one of the guides gave a lesson on tides. I really wished I had had my flip video recorder. She did a beautiful job. There were lots of kids in our group of 23 and she played right to them. Of course, it was us adults with the questions at the end of the lecture. I would love to teach that just like she did. With a little memory jogging, I bet I can do it! After our snack of canteloupe and granola bars...oh and dolse, which they recommended we eat first and then enjoy a drink quickly. The dolse was not good. Yucky even! It is very salty dried seaweed...a delicacy and we saw it everywhere after that! Not good...try it for yourself....but NOT GOOD!

As far as moose go...we used every trick that we knew. Look for them in meadows in the early morning or late right before sunset. There were NO moose in Fundy National Park. The problem really was that there are so many trees, it is hard to find open areas. We went to a couple of ideal spots and waited and moose. The moose didn't get the memo about being in meadows in the early morning or later right before sunset. We had three days in Fundy and then it was time to move on to Grand Manan Island. We did see lots of birds here in the park...more eagles and some hawks. We even got lucky and saw one deer...just as Joe was taking pictures of the sunset. "We'll see tons of moose in Maine later", I kept saying. So we packed up and checked out and were on our way.

On the drive out of the park, there was one lone moose crossing the road in front of us!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

From Quebec to New Brunswick...Part 2

The next stop on our journey was Mirimachi, New Brunswick. This was a precious little town! We arrived on Sunday. We checked into our fabulous accomodations. It was an inn right on the Mirimachi River. The view was a beautiful sight...very calm with beautiful houses right across the way. So, we check in and go to town to find some dinner because the restaurant at the inn was closed. They had had a wedding on Saturday and were out of food! It had been a very long drive from QC to Mirimachi, and Joe and I were wiped out. So once again, we turn to my trusty GPS (I would just sit in the condo in Ottawa if not for her...she is THE BEST!). Joe simply hits restaurants and chooses one called The Tide because doesn't that sound like a delicious seafood restaurant? We follow her directions to a T. I should probably tell you now that there has to be an APB out for my car after the driving I did in QC. The GPS was taking me in circles in Quebec City, and I would have to stop and pull over and try to figure out what's what. On the way into the city, I had to turn the driving over to Joe and I HATE for Joe to drive. He scares me. Then leaving Quebec City...the same driving in circles, but it was early and not much traffic so I was comfortable driving again. At a redlight, I promise you it turned green, so I took off. Listening to the honks behind me and the fact that no other car had moved behind me let me know that I did not see correctly. back to Mirimachi...following the GPS directions perfectly to The Tides. GPS girl takes me the wrong way down a one way street...again BEEPING. It seems for one block this street goes from two way traffic to one way and then back again to two way. I saw no sign indicating this...but you know I am not seeing well lately. I am sure that the man beeping at me was just concerned for my safety and not at all aggitated by me. Have I mentioned that Canadians are THE nicest people on the planet until they get behind the wheel of a car, then...not so much? Speed limits are pretty conservative...but no one but me seems to follow them. So where was I? Oh yeah...wrong way on a one way street. We finally get to The Tides, but it is now called something Cowboy and it is closed because after all, it is 7:30 on a Sunday night. We did end up finally having a lovely dinner at a nice restaurant that we just said...hey, that one's open, we're going there. Our waiter was extremely nice and gave us tips for the rest of our trip and talked about the heat wave happening and about us being from the States. Not sure how he knew we weren't local? I am sure that he was absolutely fine behind the wheel of his car. Back to the inn for a nice walk and SLEEP zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

The next morning, we took a long walk early and had breakfast at the inn with the managers, who were from Holland. We enjoyed that lovely view and talked of other travels yet to be for us and for them. Then we were off to Fundy National Park!

From Quebec City to New Brunswick...part 1

Everyone says, "You HAVE to go to Quebec City while you're in Canada!" So we did. Quebec City was our stop the first night of our holiday. I can't really call it a vacation since I am currently unemployed...

The city is gorgeous and very old with very old buildings. But...the buildings are all full of touristy shops or restaurants. Don't get me wrong, I love a good shop and a good restaurant, but there was nothing really left of the old. If that makes sense. The buildings are in great shape for being built in the 1600's but I would have like to have seen some history of the buildings somewhere. There was no celebration of what used to be. At least we did not see it. We saw tie-dyed t-shirts and even adult themed items for sale. Oh, and my GPS was ssssssssoooooooo confused by the layout of the city. Roads on top of roads really freaked her out. It was difficult for me to get around and about in my car.

We did have a FABULOUS Ghost Tour in QC. Camilla was our tour guide and had a really wonderful Scottish accent. She was so animated and into every single story she told, you would think that she had been there throughout the events of which she told. This is where we got tons of history! My favorite story is about a ship that sank only two years after the Titanic. It took only 20 minutes for the Empress of Ireland to sink completely and over a thousand people were killed. How long did the Titanic take? The Empress is still at the bottom of the St. Lawrence River. People have been diving to find what they can, but usually cannot get very far because of the roughness of the river. Some people have even died trying to find their treasure at the bottom of the river. I wondered why we never heard about this wreck...EVER. It seems that two weeks later, World War I began and the world was focused on something other than the sinking of the Empress of Ireland. I am definitely intrigued to do more research on this wreck. The ghostly part of the story is that the captain of the Empress had been cursed by a passenger on a previous voyage for turning him in for killing his wife. It is said that this same man is guarding the boat at the bottom of the river and this is why no one can retrieve much from the wreckage.

Quebec City is a quaint old town and I am glad that we went, but it is not one of those places that I feel the need to go back. Been there...done that. And if you are wondering, I did make a purchase at one of those cheesy touristy shops...not tie-dyed and not adult themed, but...still! Remember...I do love a good shop!