I finally had a long-awaited vacation. And of course I spent it
on a couch drinking beer on the road! I have always wanted to see a different Canada, something that is not huge and crazy Quebec or Ontario. And in addition, I really miss the ocean. So there was a perfect destination for me – Canada’s Ocean Playground!
I have been studying interesting destinations in Nova Scotia for a couple of weeks. There are several amazing websites that can really help, for example http://www.novascotia.com/ or http://www.explorenovascotia.com/. NS has something to offer to everyone. So I set Halifax to be my destination for the vacation and hit the road!
Day 1. Montreal – Moncton. 980 km.
My first destination is Moncton, the third-largest city in Atlantic Canada. First, a very familiar Highway 20 to Quebec City. Then – the unknown land! I have been on the other side of the river last year when I drove to Tadoussac, but never past Quebec on the Eastern shore. The area of lower St. Lawrence river is stunning. I was driving on a highway but could not stop staring to my left. The scenery is unbelievable – a big valley with wide St. Lawrence river, farms, and snow-peaked mountains on horizon!
The road was heading North-East all the time until I reached the town of Rivière-du-Loup, about 450 km north of Montreal. Here I take the South-East bound section of the Trans-Canada highway that takes me over a gradual mountain pass and to the New Brunswick border.
The information bureau was closed, but there is other interesting thing to see. There is the Edmundston airport right at the border (actually part of it is in Quebec). The airport is really small, just a landing strip and a small building. I have not seen a single person there. But there is something interesting to see. The Avro Lancaster, the WWII bomber! It is only one of three aircrafts of this type that still exist in the world! This one has dropped bombs on nazis during over 10 successful missions.
After taking a break and admiring the aircraft I continue driving. First pleasant thing in New Brunswick is the speed limit on a highway. It is 110 km/h, not 100 as in Quebec. 10 km/h does not seem like a lot, but actually it makes a lot of difference on long distances. I like the Trans-Canada highway in New Brunswick. It is wide, the traffic is very light, road surface is good, and it goes over spectacular Appalachian mountains. There are hills and forests everywhere. And it feels quite deserted, much less towns compared to Quebec, less gas stations, etc. I really liked this section!
I got to Moncton just before sunset, had time to find my hotel, had supper and called it a night.
Day 2. Moncton – Confederation Bridge – Halifax. 360 km.
On the second day first I explored Moncton a bit. It was early Sunday and the city was really sleepy. Deserted streets, almost no cars… However I don’t imagine Moncton being a busy place. It is a kind of town where the main street is called “Main Street”. With less then 70,000 people it feels super small after Montreal. But there are some really nice areas along Main Street and I believe a lot of things to do on a busy day.
But exploring Moncton was not my goal for the day. I was heading to the Confederation Bridge! I was driving North-East of Moncton on some local roads. I don’t know maybe it was the weather or something else, but this area felt like the most depressive area I have seen in Canada so far. Abandoned houses with boarded up windows in a middle of nowhere, roads that long need repairs. I was wondering what do people do for living in this area?
The Confederation Bridge is an amazing structure that links Prince Edward Island to mainlaind Canada. It was completed in 1997 and has a length of almost 13 km (8mi)! It has a huge effect on PEI, facilitating movement of people of goods.
When I arrived to the bridge, here the weather was in my favor! There was a mist over Northumberland Strait limiting visibility to only a few hundred meters. It allowed to make some interesting photos of the bridge.
Unfortunately early May is not a tourist season in this area, so the gift shops, restrooms and other services were closed so after exploring the area I continued my way to Nova Scotia.
My first impression of Nova Scotia was amazing! Their welcome sign on a side of the road is the most amazing I have ever seen! A beautiful composition of a lighthouse, pine trees, ocean rocks is just awesome! It gives a clear idea of what lies ahead! Moreover, right at the border they have amazing tourist information center. Several people are occupied with providing tourists with any information they might need, selling souvenirs and maintaining the rest area. It is beautifully located and offers amazing services. Definitely a must-stop place. I was given all the information I needed, a tourist guide of Nova Scotia and a huge roadmap!
Another two hours and I drive into Halifax on the beautiful A. Murray MacKay bridge. The skies were bright and clear, no sign of a morning mist and it gave a spectacular view of Halifax harbor. And there was it… The Atlantic Ocean!!! I found my way to hotel, checked in and dropped my bags, and run to explore the city!
To be continued…