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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Good day, Bad day!

Last night we stayed in a best western in Moncton New Brunswick which was very nice, excellent in fact! We woke about 7:30 and decided to do some laundry before leaving for PEI.  We had no trouble finding a Starbucks in the old town area so we were off to a good start. I think the barista thought I as American but after we chatted about where I was from she became friendlier and as I left she said to me she really liked my outfit! This gave me a lift! Traveling for days on end one certainly doesn’t feel very put together.
The day was fine and not having been to PEI before we were quite looking forward to seeing something brand new. Jeff had camped somewhere in PEI as a kid but had no recollection of where.  We are still hoping to see more red colour in the leaves and we did see bursts of it today. A few days ago in Quebec a local told us the red leaves were the first to fall and we missed them........๐Ÿ˜ก but we say lots of red going toward Shediac.
We came up to  confederation bridge to cross into PEI and discovered it is toll bridge, which is paid as you leave the island. All far.  They say it takes 15minutes to drive across this very long bridge. I timed it at 90km it took us 12minutes......the speed limit is 80km.
Driving to Charlottetown the scenery is very rural, Little farms, rolling hills and neat well kept homes. It looks idyllic.  Not having had breakfast I prepared some crackers, cheese, pate and fruit as we drove along. We soon arrived  in Charlottetown and were surprised to find it busy with traffic and all manner of shops, H&M, Winners, and Walmart.
We were driving towards the waterfront when I discovered my sunglasses were missing.....NOT GOOD! Searching the car thoroughly, backtracking our day in our head we couldn’t come up with them.....not your ordinary drug store sunglasses! We decided to find accommodation and them make some phone calls to last nights hotel, this morning Starbucks etc.    .......we checked into a charming old house b&b called Eden Hall, I think they have 6 or 7 rooms.  Phone calls did not turn up the aglasses.  Forget about them.
We walked into town and visited the  St Dunstan,s basilica, originally built in 1816, burned to the ground in 1913, reconstructed by Scottish architect J.M. Hunter inspired by St Patrick’s cathedral in NYC. When it was completed in 1919 it was the largest and most fireproof in the maritimes.
Next we popped into a few of the local shops......a knitwear and garden shop where the ladies were busy at the back of the store on a some large looms making the sweaters scarves, socks, mitts, hats that were sold in the front of the store. Jeff picked out a sweater put wanted some changes problem, long were we staying in town.? It could be done in a day. As we were planning to leave in less than a day it would have to be mailed to us. Meanwhile I found a stack of bonnets, or as my dad called them...Bunnets! I decided girls can wear them too and bought one for myself.
The clerks in the store were very chatty and we eventually had to say...we have to go!
It was time now to find a pub and that we did...The Churchill, an English pub. We sat at a small table and ordered beer, soon a gentlemen came in alone  and sat down next to us and said do you mind if I join you? Jeff replied sure as long as you talk to us!  Well what an interesting chat we had for a good little while, he turned out to have spent most of his career as a banker and later as an investment manager (which nicely allowed me to brag about our son and the awards he won just yesterday) we chatted about family, Cape Breton, what to do, where to go, where to stay. Jeff had a second beer, our new friend had a big plate of bangers and mash. Soon he was off and we said our goodbyes. There were a lot of people waiting for tables and we asked our server for our bill.....our new friend had paid our bill too! We were touched but dismayed we couldn’t thank him......the server said he came in about once a week for bangers and mash and she would thank him for us!  So that was the GOOD THING that happened today.
We walked back to our b&b feeling grateful and good about humanity, and decided we would pay it forward soon.
We asked at our b & b for a dinner recommend and right away were told of a seafood place The Corner Shop at Water and Prince (streets) .  We had a reservation for 7pm. I had delicious lobster and a small bowl of seafood chowder, Jeff had halibut, we shared a slice of coconut cream pie, homemade.
Walking back we stopped at a bar for a cleansing ale., a good day.
Tomorrow will be another good day as we move on.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Long day on the road

We left Paspebiac (how do you pronounce that anyway! Just after 9am......on our usual hunt for coffee which we did locate after about an hour on the road! We continued to enjoy the French countryside with its colourful and well kept homes....we particularly like the tiny ones making us think about space and just how much does one really need. They are not all tiny, some are large and all without exception have lovely green lawns and coordinating decor on their porches. Lots of Halloween decorations, some very elaborate, and many with lots of pumpkins. So many town that have no visible means of commerce causes us to wonder what do they do!!!! We speculate they are artists, potters, sculptors, writers, b&b hosts, restaurateurs.....all servicing the tourist industry.
Today we traveled around the Chaleur Bay, which goes around the bottom of the Gaspe peninsula.
The towns, New Carlisle, Caplin, New Richmond, Carlton sur Mer, Dalhousie, Point Verte, Beresford, Bathurst, Caraquet, Miramichi, Baei St Anne, Shediac and finally into Moncton New Brunswick. We checked into a best western and did a short walk to a nearby bar where we watched the Vancouver Ottawa hockey game while eating dinner.
Today was all about driving, tomorrow we will do some laundry and have a look around Moncton before leaving for Charlottetown PEI which is less than two hours away.
Nite nite all,
Murielle (still frenchified)
Ps.....congrats to our middle son, Travis who won two big awards in his profession today #veryproudmum

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Fun Continues!

We left St. Anne Des Monts this morning in pretty nice weather, compared to last nights storm. We had a quick walk on the beach before leaving our hotel but it was still cold, cold but clear.
First on each days agenda is to find "good" coffee. A little drive around town and I spotted a red sign for a Cafe Bistro.....yay. I ran in to check if they were equipped with the "right" kind of machines! Second yay! They were! The Cafe was also a very nice looking store with lots of interesting items.....but there was no storekeeper in sight, then I noticed it was a bit dim. We eventually ordered our very good coffees and got back in the car.....only to hear the door click locked behind us! They actually were not open for the day yet. A sign on the door said ouvert 10am and it was just gone 9.
The drive today was as beautiful as yesterday but better because it wasn't raining. St Lawerence on one side and adorable, colourful little houses scattered on the beach above. Most houses have stacks of firewood neatly lined up beside the house. We passed many with signs signifying there was an artist in residence.....alas none appeared to be open. We know we are traveling in the off season, there are perks to that but also drawbacks. From St Anne's we passed through, Cap au Reynard, Riviรจre la Madeleine, Grand Valley, Gaspe, Perce, Chandler and our final stop Paspebiac.
Of course there were many more towns not mentioned, it seemed like we came upon one every 10km.
We stopped for an hour in Gaspe for coffee (me) jeff (beer) and a walk around the Main Street, we could see it would attract a lot of summer visitors, there are always lots of motels in every town, many closed.  The town of Perce was most stunning as the cliffs were enormous dropping what seemed like hundreds of meters into the seaway. Picturesque just does not describe it. I will post photos of it on my fb page. One of these days I will learn to post photos here! ( note to son Terry) Today we have traveled 400 plus km.
Our stay tonight in Parpebiac is at the Auberge Du Parc Inn, it is a 200 year old grand lady of a house, beautifully restored to glory. The house (inn) is managed by a lady who grew up in the house, it is also a full spa, treatments take place in the house itself while guests stay on the grounds in a row of rooms. The grounds are peaceful green with many groves of trees, deer in the yard.
Dinner at the house is a set menu for a set price in a delightful small dining rooms, which there were several. We had our tea in one of the drawing rooms and then looked at some photo books. Lastly we went to the game room where Jeff beat me at two games of pool.
Bon nuit xo

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Montmagny to St Anne Des Mont Quebec Oct. 15/17

We left Montmagny this morning in a rainstorm.......not a Starbucks in sight. Our plan was to drive a little and hopefully hit a private little cafe. Right away we spotted a Macdonalds and then a Tim Hortens.....not for us! Further on down the coast we finally succumbed to macdonalds! Surprisingly decent coffee. I don't think Starbucks has come to small town Quebec.
Our drive took us along the coast beside the st Lawrence river, or better known as the st. Lawerence seaway. There are many little towns, very well kept houses and gardens, painted in lots of different colours, red, yellow, white, grey, brilliant greens too!
We purchased some cheeses, pate, salami, &  fruit which we will have for lunch for a couple of days
The leaves are changing but I'd say not finished yet.....colours are yellow, apricot, orange, some green and some red. The weather is very wet so a bit difficult for taking photos or strolling about. This is also Sunday which means most places are closed. We saw lots of cars parked in churchyards.
We are staying in a "motel" right on the Seaway which at this point looks like the ocean. It is blustery and wet out there, fun to see the seagulls hanging in the wind currents and hear the sound of the water. Our abode will close for the season tomorrow!
Tonight we will go out for a meal as we have been told there are a couple of options.
Hoping for better weather tomorrow as we will make our way to Gaspe and beyond.
Au revoir
Murielle (frenchified) xo

Road Trip Continues October 15/2017

Just arrived in a very small Quebec town Montmagny.....motel called Sympathetic! Spellings are correct! It's clean but old. We wanted to stop in daylight for a change. This morning we had coffee and croissants at niece Shainas and got on the road. They,  Shaina and Greg put us up for the night and cooked us a delicious dinner. 
We haven't hit the pretty little villages yet but expect to tomorrow . English is not common anywhere  which is ok and expected , wish I had brought my French dictionary. 
           Getting my day a bit garbled here......before leaving Ottawa we went to a garden exhibit right near the patliament buildings......called the Mosaicanada150/207 many sculptures that look like topiaries but are sculpted structures filed with live plants......they were to be dismantled this weekend.
Yesterday in Ottawa we went to the national gallery museum.....we were there about 2 1/2 hours, not long enough to take it all in properly but we were weary. I bought a massive tome on the group of seven so will enjoy that.
Bon Nuit ,
Murielle (frenchified)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Vancouver to Newfoundland October 8/2017

We left Vancouver less than 24 hours after I returned from NYC and jeff returned from Arizona........
Driving south into the states where the gas prices are half of that in Canada.
Our days were long as the objective was to get to Toronto on the weekend while ainsley was off work.
We traveled through Washington, Montana, Idaho, Wisconsin, Michigan.  Early one morning we left the town of Bismarck and drove into low cloud, it was like a science fiction movie. Lots of small town America, cute little homes lining main streets, many flying the Stars and Stripes. Sadly many were run down as well.  Pumpkins were everywhere and many places were already decorated for Halloween. Getting way ahead of the season, we saw our first fully decorated and lit Christmas tree in an American legion!!
We arrived in Toronto late and went to pick up ainsley at Adrian's place.....and Arrow! We went in for drinks, met the fellows and two more doggies.
Happy to be here and sleep in tomorrow. Terry's big birthday ❤️๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽ‚๐Ÿพ๐ŸŽ‰
Nite nite

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Last Day in New York City

We had a few hours left and decided to visit Grand Central iconic landmark. Joanie, Sandy, Jan and myself opted to do this, the other three went shopping.
We took the subway to Park and 42nd street.
The building outside is impressive  with a large iron eagle on one corner and a magnificent Tiffany clock with Greek sculpture over the main entrance. The clock is the largest in the world and weighs 1500tons! When you enter you can't help but look upwards in the main hall and stare at the zodiac art on the ceiling, it is a pale greenish turquoise colour and the constellations of the crab, Milky Way, Perseus, etc are etched in white.  Interestingly the constellations are backwards, the Vanderbilt insist this was done purposefully with a divine perspective rather than a human one. The ceiling is now clean but before its restoration it was grimy and dirty, with 70% of the grime being from would have expected it to be soot and ash from the trains.
There is one area called the Whispering Gallery, it is an acoustical anomaly in that sound travels across the chamber,  if you stand in opposite corners against the wall and whisper a greeting to someone on the other wall they will hear you. It is not known if this was planned or random.
If you look high up at the many panes windows on each end of the main hall you can see the odd person silhouetted walking across a walkway....the windows are double panes with a narrow walkway built between. This was done to allow office workers on the adjoining buildings to walk between. It is quite a sight to see! Unfortunately not for us to experience.
There is so much more to this place than trains, restaurants, markets, little shops and beautiful architecture, marble and on and on.
The station now only has commuter trains and trains to other towns in NYC state., now the cross country trains depart from  Penn  Station. I arrived at Grand Central in December 1954 as a child with my mother, brother and baby sister.......I remember being told by mum to sit still on a bench with my brother and to behave ouselves.!!!! Today I sat on one of these  same benches and behaved myself. What a great way to finish our vacation. We returned to our hotel and relaxed on the rooftop deck until our transport to the airport arrived. Judy, Marion and Joan returned as well after a successful shopping trip.
Goodbye New York, till the next time xo