We started our journey in Halifax, the capital city and port of Nova Scotia. This is where our truck was shipped from Antwerp, Belgium.
We had a soft landing thanks to our friends Coleen and Ian MacNab that were very helpful and embracing since day 1.
We have been welcomed here with such a hospitality we didn’t expect, from customs authorities to regular people we would meet in the street. Politeness, patience in traffic, manners, kindness, generosity and smiles was the first impression about Canada and Canadians.
We simply fell in love not only with the landscapes, the fresh air, good water, good vibes and smiles, but with people’s good will and hospitality. You feel they really care about you, ready to give their first hand and best advise.
On our first day we had a city tour of Halifax and its surrounding bays and coast lines. The British founded Halifax in 1749 when they conquered the French naval base at Louisbourg.
Halifax is a natural deep water harbor and one of the Canadian strategic ports where once a big wave of immigrants came from Europe between the 1920s and 70s at Pier 21.
It has a beautiful waterfront boardwalk by the harbor, a maritime museum that exhibits the story of Titanic and the region’s maritime and military history and at Pier 21 the Immigration Museum.The old citadel fortress is star-shaped and atop of Halifax’ hill. The fort used to defend the harbor during colonial times and now is a much visited historic site in Canada.
The streets are networked with lots of cafe bars, pubs, local breweries, great music and fresh lobster which makes the place a charming seaport embedded with Gaelic and Scottish culture, but today a very multicultural and colorful city.
Canadians from Nova Scotia are not only genuine nice people, but they are also very talented.They like to spend they free time gathering with friends, playing instruments and sing. We were surprised how many talented singers we listened to whom we never heart of. Here it seems that almost every other guy enjoys and knows how to sing.
The picturesque South Shore
Just few miles from Halifax, you will find one of the most visited fishing villages in North America, Peggy’s Cove and this is because of its iconic lighthouse. We drove there and we couldn’t stop being amazed by the beautiful shores of the Atlantic coast and the coves that let the water enter inland forming one of the most spectacular ocean coast landscapes. Peggy’s Cove lighthouse seems to be the heart of this picturesque coast landscape and stays as a touristic attraction for people coming from all over America. For seafood lovers this is the spot to get the best fresh lobster.
On our way back and at the recommendation of our friend Colleen, we stopped and took a trail off the unbeaten coves at Lower Prospect.After 5 minutes walk through the pine forest we found a spectacular coastline scenery.
Thank you Colleen MacNab for sharing such a wonderful place with us!
Continue your road to Lunenburg which is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Here you will find a beautiful colonial town with multi colored houses , a happy atmosphere and the home of the famous tall sail boat, “Blue Nose”.
The town used to be as well a strategic port in the region for alcohol smuggling and because of this history with the West Indies, they produce now one of the best rum in the region, IronWorks.
We were very lucky to be invited by our friends Colleen and Ian to their summer cottage by sea in Brule and test for the first time our camping gear. It has been a wonderful time by the bay: we had sunny days, warm water, fresh oysters from the local farm across the bay, beer from the local brewery Tatamagouche and most important great company and lots of laughter.
Whales Watching, Bay of Fundy
One of my wishes for this road trip was to see whales. I read that at Fundy Bay in Nova Scotia you can see about 7 species of whales, amongst them the most friendly one, the humpback whale. Bay of Fundy waters are known to have one of the highest tides in the world, that can go up to 15m height, this is what attracts the richest resources of plankton, perfect food for whales. This is what brings the whales to Bay of Fundy all the way from the Caribbean Sea migrating during summertime for the much tasty food.
We embarked in a lobster fishing boat sailed by some marine researchers that are monitoring the whale behavior and migration in the Bay of Fundy. Soon after reaching 5 miles offshore, the weather was getting colder and we started to see the first signs of bio marine life: little dolphins, seals putting their head up the water and out of nowhere the majestic humpback whale. It was our lucky day. We couldn’t stop wondering how big, beautiful and so natural in their habitat they were.Very friendly mammals with an elegant swim, I felt we landed in a new world: quite, calm, vast, rich of life and energy.
We understood that there are about 2000 humpback whales visiting the Bay of Fundy every year and they are traveling every winter to the Caribbean Sea where the water is warm during winter time in Canada. They mate in the Caribbean waters and as soon as the summer is up in the shores of Bay of Fundy they travel for the much deserved plankton and krill after a long trip up the west coast of the Atlantic. Every baby whale stays with the mother whale for one year, time when he is taught all the surviving skills he needs to acquire: from learning how to bounce his tail out of the water to creating deepwater bubbles that will bring the right stream of plankton.
Bay of Fundy coastline is named “ Top 7 Natural Wonders of North America”. No wonder why.
The next few days we spent on the coast attending the festival and camping with our friends thanks to the generosity of Brenda and Jack that gave us their tickets for the festival.
Here we got the chance not only to emerge into the local culture, meet the locals, eat the typical hamburgers, drink the local beer, listen to their music and understand how they have fun during summertimes, but we assisted to one of the most beautiful sunsets and camping sites on our route.
Nova Scotia has been a warm welcoming to Canada and a good training center for 2 weeks that would prepare us for the big journey throughout the Americas.
We cannot be grateful enough to our friends that helped us organizing the last details of our adventure, gave us the best camping tips and embraced us into their life and family. Thank you Colleen and Ian MacNab, Jo and Ian Hugo, Brenda and Jack!