Category Archives: Travel

The Biking

In an attempt to be more active and get vaguely into shape I’ve taken up biking again. I used to bike to work, but it’s a little bit too far now and I’m afraid of having another bike stolen.  So as I get a fair amount of time off in the summer I’ve opted for leisure biking.

My first couple of rides were along the canal, one as far as our old Condo, about 10km, and one to Parc René-Lévesque, about 20km.

My next ride took me to Dorval, which was 30km with a strong headwind on the way out there. That was on St Jean Baptiste day so I saw all the celebratory events being set up and got myself a Fleur de Lis flag.

For my last ride I decided to head in a different direction. Out on Nun’s Island there’s an entrance on a bike path that goes out onto the “Ice Control Structure” in the St Lawrence. It’s a long straight path, and despite crazy swarms of bugs I managed to make it a 40km ride. I stopped about halfway around the structure and found a nice log by the river to sit on and rest before heading back.

My next destination will probably be Beaconsfield and I’m hoping to get up to 100km by the end of the summer. Looking around for somewhere 50km away I came across Oka, so that’s where I hope to end up.

The Vacation – Part Four

After our week in PEI, it was time to hit the road for the second week. We drove east along the south coast of PEI to Wood Island which is where the ferry to Nova Scotia leaves from. We had reservations for the 1pm ferry, and got there in plenty of time. Dan and Susan were supposed to get the next ferry, but they ended up on ours, giving Aidan a bit of a surprise. We settled down for the 75 minute journey, listening to a newfie guy singing depressing sea shanties. They even depressed Aidan:

Aidan on the boat

Once we arrived in Caribou, Nova Scotia it was time to drive again, heading south to Halifax. After driving around the city for a while looking for a decent hotel, we ended up at the Waverly, an old and unique hotel decorated in the brothel style:

Waverly Hotel

We dumped our stuff and went out wandering. From the drive in I already knew I liked the city, but walking showed me its full charm. It feels cozy, vibrant and cosmopolitan, like a smaller version of Montreal. There are now three Canadian cities I would be very happy living in. I’m looking forward to having a longer vacation there.

Walking around the waterfront we spotted one of Aidan’s favourite TV celebrities, so we had to take advantage of the photo opportunity:

Theodore Tugboat

After that we went for a seafood dinner at Salty’s Restaurant with an old friend of Jen’s before retiring for the evening.

Sadly we had to leave Halifax the next day to embark on the long journey to Maine. The state is not only a shortcut back to Montreal, it’s also a shopping mecca, which is why Jen wanted to go there. We drove back up through Nova Scotia into New Brunswick and through Saint John to the border then down to Bangor, Maine.

The choice of hotels in Bangor is limited to say the least, and because it was getting late we ended up at a very crappy Comfort Inn, which became our base as we spent the next two days exploring the huge mall complex. Jen bought lots of scrapbooking stuff, I bought The Dangerous Book For Boys and Aidan got some clothes and books out of the deal.

Aidan got sick in Maine, and gave the cold to me when we got home, so not the perfect end to a vacation, but the rest of it made it all worthwhile.

The Vacation – Part Three

Our stay at the cottage in PEI was fun because of the three children and relaxing despite them. We played a lot, we read a lot, we ate a lot. We hardly used computers, we hardly watched TV. We were outside as much as possible.

We were mere steps from the beach:

To the beach  The bridge Steps to the beach

So we spent a lot of time there, enjoying the views:

View of the big bridge

Frolicking in the water:

Me frolicking

And building artistic sand castles (Dan’s job):

Castles

When we weren’t at the beach, we were back at the cottage, relaxing in the comfy sitting area:

The cottage

Enjoying the fabulous sunsets:

Sunset 1  Sunset 2

Or preparing and eating yummy food:

Me delivering dinner  Elisabeth’s sandcastle birthday cake

The Vacation – Part Two

Aidan probably enjoyed himself more than anyone else during our week in PEI. He loved the beach and became most indignant if we tried to take him away from it. He also loved the garden around the cottage and running around in the cottage itself. He loved spending time with his grandma (“Bama”) and grandpa (“Ricky”) and even warmed to his cousins (“Limon” and “Aladar”).

He loved hunting for crabs and snails:

Aidan crab hunting

He loved playing in the sand:

Aidan in the sand Aidan sitting in the sand

He loved UFO spotting:

Aidan and the UFO Aidan pointing

He enjoyed shopping for second hand clothes at Frenchies:

Aidan shopping

He also liked taking naps in unusual places:

Aidan in a cupboard

The Vacation – Part One

Having returned from a very pleasurable vacation, it’s time to bore anyone reading this with all the intimate details. This week will be all vacation blogging, so you’re pre-warned and can hit that ‘Mark all as read’ button without thinking.

The first week of our vacation was to be spent at a cottage on Prince Edward Island. We would be staying there with Jen’s mum and stepdad and her brother and his family. We were all driving there, in three different cars, us with Aidan in the back, Jen’s brother with a three year old and a five month old in the back, and Jen’s parents with a big pile of food and alcohol in the back.

Because we had no idea how Aidan would cope with 12 hours of driving, we decided to split it over two days. He fared surprisingly well on the first day and we made it to Fredericton before he started getting really cranky. We found a very reasonable Comfort Inn and settled down for the night. The next morning we got our first sign that we were in the Maritimes:

McLobster

The second day of driving was much shorter, which made Aidan very happy:

Aidan Happy

At around lunchtime we reached Confederation Bridge, a 12.9km bridge across the Northumberland Strait between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. It’s an amazing thing to see, photos just don’t do it justice:

Confederation Bridge

After crossing the bridge it was less than ten minutes to our cottage. We were first to arrive, greeted by the property manager who showed us around the property and introduced us to our beach. Everyone else showed up shortly after that and our vacation began.

The Cottage

Travel By Proxy

The joys of becoming a parent are immeasurable, but it does have a few small downsides. One of those is that we haven’t been on any trips for a couple of years. I have to admit that I’ve travelled more than my wife, but only because of a business trip to Florida and a trip to France which was not a happy one.

So until we can travel again (hopefully next year), I’m doing my travelling vicariously by reading travel books. I started with Bill Bryson’s Notes From a Small Island, documenting in hilarious fashion his travels around Britain, followed by Notes From a Big Country, The Lost Continent and A Walk in the Woods, also by Mr Bryson.

Having exhausted my Bryson collection (apart from the Australia one, I wasn’t in the mood for Australia), I’ve now started re-reading The Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux, another amusing trip around the coast of Britain. Theroux’s writing pulls one along at such a speed that I expect to finish the book very quickly, which exhausts my travel book collection.

So my fair readers, can you recommend some travel books that I can feed to my travel bug?