THIS IS A SHORT POST OF ONLY ONE DAY. INSTEAD IT HAS LOTS OF PHOTOS.
Friday 18th May
We were on our way almost exactly on time. When you consider 4 adults plus one 7 year old all wanting breakfast and showers and preparing lunch to get away on time is a miracle.
We drove to Wood Island on the south east corner of PEI to catch the Northumberland Ferries Limited car ferry CONFEDERATION to Nova Scotia.
https://www.ferries.ca/ns-pei-ferry/ Of course we are all rugged up the same as if we were on an Alaskan dog sled expedition.
Is it cold?
The trip over the Northumberland Strait was straight forward, no rough water and 75 minutes later we were on Nova Scotia which by the way is Latin for New Scotland. That should explain why there are places called Hallifax, New Glasgow, Sunnybrae and a bunch of other Scottish names.
We drove from Caribou Harbour to the town of Pictou where we are spending the night at a bed and breakfast called The Willow House Inn http://www.willowhouseinn.com/ which is 178 years old.
I was told by other guests breakfast is something special so there is no way we are leaving early.
The name Pictou derives from the language of a First Nations Tribe, the Mi’Kmaq who lived and still live in the area. The name means “explosive place” a reference to the troubled tidal waters against wind found in the area.
During the evening I met a couple from England. They wanted to sell their house and buy elsewhere but UK prices are so out of control they could not afford to move anywhere else in the UK. They have sold their house and have 200,000 UK Pounds to spend. They are in Pictou looking at real estate. She is a office specialist and will look for work. He is studying management for two years at the local university. She can work while he is on a student visa. They both plan to apply for citizenship or resident status. In the meantime they are looking at real estate. For between $80,000 to $90,000 they can buy a 3 or 4 bedroom home near the centre of town. They will budget $10,000 for any renovations or improvements and will buy a new car. At current exchange rates they should have near CAN$500,000. They plan to move here permamently. I looked at the 5 houses they have looked at so far and am impressed by what they can buy for CAN$80,000. Of course you would have to put up with lots of cold and snow and businesses which are closed most of the year. I wish them the Best of British Luck.
It seems the nearby town of New Glasgow is larger and there is more likelihood of finding somewhere for dinner. So we traipsed over to NG and had dinner at The Dock Irish Pub before traipsing back to Pictou.
The Irish specialty was Bangers and Mash and lots of Irish and local beer.
New Glasgow does not have the benefit of a nice view across a harbour like Pictou does. However Pictou has a view of a wood pulp mill across the bay. It is not so good to look at.
Walking around NG it was apparent that many of the businesses are struggling financially or have given up entirely. Perhaps the downtown businesses have moved to a nearby shopping centre. NG is also hampered, traffic wise, by a railway line which runs through the centre of town. Every few minutes traffic is backed up at the crossing and then have to navigate very narrow streets which were designed for horse and buggy traffic. It was strange to be having a cold beer at the pub when a train came shunting beside the building.
A walk around Pictou shows much the same redundant business struggle.
Also the number of eateries which are still closed for the season meant we may have struggled finding a place to eat but the Chinese Restaurant like Chinese Restaurants everywhere were open and doing well. There is a lesson here for the locals and the locals everywhere. The Chinese are willing to work even when the going gets tough.
A thought occurred to me during the walk. Often rural towns in Australia were described as having a pub on every corner. Here in PEI, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton you could say that they have a church on every corner. Of course that also includes a cemetery.
Our room is on the third floor. Walking up and down creates an appetite and ensures you get enough exercise to sleep well. There are two sets of stairs for each floor and depending on which set you choose you end at the opposite end to your room. That creates a few moments of disorientation.
Tomorrow begins our Cabot Trail adventure on the island of Cape Breton.