Road trip to Québec!

On July 19th my sister Josephine, her boyfriend Matt, and I packed our stuff into Matt’s car and left my grandmother’s home in East Ship Harbour, Nova Scotia to make our way to Gatineau, Québec (across the river from Ottawa, Ontario). It was a tight squeeze with all our stuff and my bicycle packed in the trunk, but it all worked out quite well.

The drive was quite tiring, especially for Matt as the driver, so we stopped at a rest stop somewhere in New Brunswick for a nap in the car and then some morning coffee. This massive sign (for the huuuge trucks that park at the rest stop) was quite neat:

After eating breakfast at a Macdonald’s (yes, it’s true) in the francophone part of New Brunswick, where they call a drink “un breuvage” instead of “une boisson,” we entered the Province of Québec. It’s amazing what photos can be taken from a moving car with a cheapish point-and-shoot camera and a little bit of luck:

The flag of Québec:

Entering St. Louis of the Ha! Ha!

A field of canola in bloom:

On our route, we passed through Québec City, the provincial capital and quite an old city, by Canadian standards. Matt had been there before, so he was able to drive us to the area by the old fort ruins where all the tourists go to look at the St. Lawrence River:

We soon hit the road again, and on the way we passed a crazy school bus lot of some sort. We were driving full-speed but luckily I managed a couple shots, and I must say this is one of my favourite photos ever taken from a car. I’ll probably edit it in Lightroom later to make the yellow in the buses a bit more vivid, but I’m really happy with the luck of this one:

We reached our destination in the afternoon on the 20th, about 20 hours after we started. Our destination was Matt’s brother’s apartment in Gatineau, where we helped him and his assistant assemble a TV stand and mount his new flatscreen in the living room (which doubled as my bedroom for a couple nights). It really did take 5 university-educated people over half an hour to put together a simple TV stand:

The perfect picture of relaxation after a long night/day of driving, complete with a refreshing and well-deserved beer:

On the 21st I got an important phone call from London, England. It was a phone interview with Medical Emergency Relief International (Merlin), for a humanitarian logistics internship. I felt it went well, and not long after I was accepted to join the internship programme beginning September 1st!

The rest of the day we all just chilled out, did laundry, and I met up with my friend Dennis (with whom I studied in England way back in 2002-03) and his fiancée for dinner in Ottawa and a long conversation. On the 22nd, Matt and Jos and I took a drive into Ottawa to run a few errands and walk around a bit. Ottawa isn’t the most exciting city in Canada, so there tends to be a gravitational pull toward Parliament Hill every time I visit. As seen from the bridge coming from Gatineau:

The Peace Tower below a cloudy sky:

This bell has a neat history. I already posted a nearly identical photo on my blog three and a half years ago when I still had lots of hair on my head. So, if you want to read that tiny little plaque and find out why this bell is actually interesting (because, seriously, most bells are not very interesting) check out the old blog post here:

The RCMP have been wearing Stetson brand hats since the 1800s, but did you know how this came to be? It all started with this guy, George Brown, who fought ardently for Confederation for Canada. This close-up distinctly shows bird crap all over his head and dribbling down his face:

This second photo shows Mortimer Stetson, nephew of John Stetson (found of the famed Stetson hat company) offering a hat to protect George Brown from the birds.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police witnessed the offer, saw the practical application of this style of hat, and from this came the tradition for all mounties to wear a wide-brimmed Stetson hat while outdoors:

Josephine the Giant decided to scare the little tourist children by showing them how easily she could crush the Library of Parliament:

The next day, Matt drove us to Prescott, we took my bicycle out of the trunk, and I started off down the road to Toronto, only about 400km away. More on that in the next post, though.

Cycling from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia in 56 photos

With a bare minimum of words, here’s my one week journey in 56 photos. I landed in Fredericton, New Brunswick on June 30th, reassembled my bike in the airport parking lot, cycled into town and spent two nights there. Then on July 2nd I cycled 110km to St John. On July 3rd I took the ferry to Digby, Nova Scotia, and on July 4th I cycled 120km to Crescent Beach, just outside Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. On July 5th I cycled 95km from Mahone Bay to Halifax, and on July 6th I cycled 82km from Halifax to East Ship Harbour, where my grandmother lives. 4 full days of cycling + some cycling within cities = 440km total.

Leaving Toronto:

Fredericton, New Brunswick:

Late-night videogames at The 476, home of Emily and the rest of my hosts and hangout place for many randoms:

Canada Day fireworks:

En route to St John:

St John, New Brunswick:

Hayley, my host in St John, with her friend as we enjoyed an evening drink at a local pub:

The ferry trip from St John, New Brunswick to Digby, Nova Scotia:

Billy Baker, a friendly and entertaining off-duty Coast Guard worker with whom I spent the ferry trip laughing a lot:

Entering Digby as the fog began to lift:

Digby, Nova Scotia:

Dianne, the wife of my host in Digby, with the terrifically delicious meal she made for her husband and me:

Lawrence, my host in Digby, who showed me around town and with whom I had some great conversations:

Driving the first 43km out of Digby in a torrential downpour. Lawrence saved me from what would have been the worst three hours of cycling of my trip! I still did 120km on the bike after being dropped off.

Cycling across Nova Scotia toward Bridgewater:

An old Canadian Navy warship, docked in Bridgewater harbour for many years since being decommissioned, and removed only weeks after I saw it. See for more info.

On the wall of a bakery between Bridgewater and Crescent Beach:

My host’s home in Crescent Beach:

With Simone, another CouchSurfer, from Germany:

The barn!

Simone, who was also staying at the same house as me on July 4th, had a goal to visit a particular nearby restaurant owned by her mom’s former classmate, so our host drove us there, which included a short ferry trip!

With the friendly ferry guy!

A few of Lunenburg:

Lunenburg Academy, a local (and very old) primary school. Imagine going to school in this place!

David, our host, playing a good game of ping pong in his barn. He was better than Simone, and better than me, but he let each of us get a few points to be nice. It was really fun playing late-night ping pong in his vintage barn.

Made famous in a popular postcard, the three churches of Mahone Bay:

A loon:

In the home of my fun hosts in Halifax:< br />

Cycling from Halifax to East Ship Harbour, Nova Scotia: