Change of plans…

We slept in. And figured we’d do the shorter road trip today, so we headed off to see the Fortress of Louisbourg. We stopped en route at the giant fiddle (photo opp!) and at the Marconi Museum. We got to the Fortress in time to see the fusiliers set off the big canons from the top of the King’s Bastion! Complete with drums and fife…very cool! Then we headed out on a guided hike that took us both inside and outside the walls, as well as through a wall! Led by a soldier who told us about life at Louisbourg during the 1750’s. What an unpleasant time to live there as a soldier!

We got back to Sydney in time to shower and clean up for dinner and a concert by a fiddler and piano duet, playing lively Cape Breton fiddle music. They’re from Boston, but you’d never know it-they sounded just like locals to us! And the kids got to chat with them both after the show, which was pretty awesome too. Tomorrow, it’s the Cabot. Promise.

From NB to NS

We opted to shorten our stay in Saint John and extend our stay on Cape Breton Island, so we checked out this morning and hit the Trans Canada for another long drive. We stopped at Magnetic Hill – a tourist “must see” – en route. 

We enjoyed lunch at a cafe in Moncton that played vinyl records, and then drove across the border into Nova Scotia. 

We crossed into Cape Breton Island, and it’s as beautiful as we remember from our honeymoon here many (18!) years ago. Jamie and I are really looking forward to sharing this beautiful part of Canada with Mara and Cameron over the next few days. We arrived to a lovely hotel, sans basketball teams and with plenty of pillows. And a local restaurant across the parking lot with local beers. Tomorrow we hit the Cabot Trail!! Yahoo!!

Bay of Fundy & Hopewell Rocks

Turns out a hotel filled with 6 basketball teams is not the most conducive to a good night’s sleep. But we found a Starbucks in a nearby plaza, so all was not lost 🙂

We headed out along the “Fundy Bay Trail” to visit Fundy Bay National Park and to see the Hopewell Rocks. Our timing worked out well, as we got there about an hour before full low tide, so we got to walk along the ocean floor and explore some of the open caves. It was overcast and rainy, but our spirits were not dampened in the slightest.

We enjoyed our first lobster for lunch too, and there were no allergy issues at all…cue sigh of relief. 

From QC to NB

Day 4 had us facing our longest drive, from Quebec City to Saint John, NB. We stopped a few times along the route, most notable at the Grand Falls Gorge. What an amazing water fall to behold! We took some photos, admired the brave zip liners that crossed the gorge, and tasted our first ever lobster-flavoured potato chip! There’s a local chip company here called “Covered Bridge Chips”, and they have some interesting flavours- loaded hot dog, donair, and lobster among them!

We got into Saint John rather late. The last hour or so of the drive (from Fredericton, really) was rainy and foggy and a little stressful. Ready for a good night’s sleep!

Our fancy soirée

We got all dressed up and headed up to the revolving restaurant called “Ciel” at the top of our hotel. We had an amazing meal, and even got to see a beautiful sunset over Quebec City. We ended our evening with a stroll on the Plains of Abraham, listening to the Duran Duran concert that was happening at the other end of the park. We’ve had fun in QC! Tomorrow, it’s off to New Brunswick we go.

Adventures in Quebec City

We began our day in QC with a hike up to the Citadelle to see the changing of the guard. Very cool, complete with the military marching band and Batiste, the goat, the official mascot of the Royal 22e RĂ©giment. 

The rain held off long enough for us to enjoy a picnic in the square, entertained by a local busker.

Then the rain hit hard, and we took shelter in a nearby church, admiring the history and beauty in the Cathedral Basilica de Notre Dame de Québec, founded in 1647.

When the rain let up, we continued our way down into the Basse Ville, opting to climb down the steps and the take the Funiculaire back up. The trip down was fun, full of photo opps and cute shops. Coming back up was not as smooth, as the Funiculaire stopped unexpectedly halfway up. We were stuck in a glass box with about a dozen other people, not knowing what was going on. After about 5-10 minutes, they sent another car up to stop beside us. Then they removed side panels, put down a kind of bridge, and we walked across to the working car. We rode up in the 2nd car with no problems. And our adventures were captured by many tourists who were watching us from down below! 

Quebec City at night

It turns out that we’ve arrived in Quebec City in the middle of a major festival called Le Festival d’ÉtĂ©. The tour books and sites did not convey how busy this event is, and our hotel is in the heart of all the action. It was a stressful arrival, but once we parked our car and were able to travel on foot, it was much better. Enjoying a beer at a local pub and some good music helped too!

Tomorrow we are up and out early (sorry Mara!) and heading to the Citadel in time to see the changing of the guard. 

Day 2

Today, we drive through the rain from Ottawa to Quebec City. It was a good day to not be walking around Old Quebec, but those huge trucks can really kick up done spray on the TransCanada! The kids enjoyed their first movie in the van:)

We stopped in Alexandria for lunch at a little diner, and our hostess recommended that we walk across the street and visit the local glass making studio. Was it ever cool! The artists were very gracious and answered all of our questions. Such beautiful work!