Okay. Woah. That was quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever done. Apologies in advance for the nonsensical rambling that is sure to take place below – jet lag is a bitch and I’m still a little awestruck at the whole thing – but rest assured it is all very good-natured rambling. Y’see I’ve just got back from a two-week holiday around Eastern Canada with B and my family and it was absolutely take-my-hat-off-and-eat-it fantastic (I don’t think that is a legit expression?).
Before I dive in to the nitty gritty, I just want to take a moment to appreciate how fortunate I am to have had this trip. Sure, it was all paid for by us and everything, but growing up we didn’t really do big trips. Our holidays were usually a long weekend somewhere in UK, partly because I was terrified of planes – seriously the sight of one and I’d burst into tears #funchild – and also because we just didn’t really have the funds to do the cushy thing. Don’t get me wrong we would go abroad every 3-4 years to somewhere like Cyprus, and of course i recognise that that’s way more than a lot of families get, but the fact remans that going to somewhere long-haul like Canada for a full 2 weeks is a pretty special – and so far a once-in-a-lifetime – occasion.
And because it was such a special trip, we really wanted to do it right. Realistically looking at it I don’t think we’ll get too many more (if any) opportunities to do such a big and expensive trip as a family again, so it was really important to us to see as much as possible, and to see the really good stuff. So we booked ourselves on a tour, the downside of which was that B, my brother and I were by far and away the youngest people on the tour by about 20 years or so. The upswing, however, was that we got to see the really good stuff; even now, I truly believe that we would never have seen or done as much if left to our devices. Also on these tours you do get a lot of time to yourself, so most of the time it didn’t even feel like we were on an organised tour or moving to somebody else’s schedule.
So, without further ado, let’s do this. Keeping it short otherwise we’d be here for absolute years, but trying to concentrate it down to the real highlights. Apologies in advance.
A city of firsts. Blown away by my first ever skyscrapers. Underground city. Saw my first baseball game, supporting the Blue Jays (they won). Had my first foot long. Quite liked it. Finally lost my Bath and Body Works virginity. Bought a cherry candle after about an hour and a half of sniffing every candle with B and brother. Went back with a headache. Had an amazing burger. Walked until my feet hurt. Discovered Canadian supermarkets and lost my mind a little.
Bigger than I imagined. More gawp-worthy. Spent hours watching the water cascade over the edge and trying to capture my awe in a photo. Failed. Went on the Hornblower cruise and had a good giggle at the sight of my dad in a bright pink poncho. Got pretty wet. Loved it.
Did the Thousand Island Cruise and couldn’t believe the scale of the landscape – quite different from the canals of Amsterdam. Travelled onto the country’s capital and fell in love with its charm. Sat in a pub’s garden as the sun set, laughing and falling in love with my family that little bit more. Watched an amazing light show on the parliament building about the history of Canada. Observed the city’s famous locks and candles in action. Learned a lot, remember nothing. Ate at an amazing smokehouse and discovered that I quite like cornbread. Had my first beavertail. Unconvinced. Got confused at an AWATTO sign before I realised holiday brain had set in and I was just looking at it from behind. How we laughed.
A one night pitstop. Rediscovered my love of the French language. Dodged the showers and sudden downpours in the underground city. Marvelled at the inventiveness of the Canadians. Ate parmigiana in the ruins of a chateau in the old town near a live jazz band. A visit to the Notre Dame of Montreal a real highlight. A visit to the Olympic stadium another.
Beautiful. Just beautiful. Had poutine in the home of poutine and spent a pleasant day trotting around the red brick buildings. Got my family to pose for Instagram pictures and now they’ll never forgive me. Hummed la vie en rose pretty much the entire day. Had a waiter explain how tipping and bill work in Canada. Turns out they have a much better system than us, classic Canadians. He did not like my knitted guinea pig (don’t ask). Ate a croissant at a famous roadside bakery. Went whale watching. Saw a humpback whale and my mind was blown. Tried to get a picture of the tail. Failed. Nature you win again.
Got on an overnight sleeper train. Amusement at the tininess of the cabins soon wore off when it was time to sleep. Had breakfast in a carriage with a view of the coast. Felt very sophisticated despite the 1.5 hours sleep and the fact that I did my makeup in a moving box the size of a shower cubicle. Marvelled once again at the beauty of Canada’s natural landscape.
Arrived in Moncton. Pretty small, pretty cute. Basically just one street stretching from supermarket to station with shops on either side. Also a chocolate river. Whiled away the evening in a beer garden with an outdoor smoker. Said we wouldn’t have yet another burger. But we did. Went to the Bay of Fundy to see the power of the tide. Went to the Medieval role-play town of King’s Landing for a whole 45 minutes. Wasn’t particularly worth it. Finally got my pasta fix.
Our final destination. Stopped off at Peggy’s Cove to breath in the sea salt air. Travelled on to Lunenberg, a World Heritage Site and a slice of Scandinavia. Ate the best fish and chips of my life. Took thousands of pictures of colourful houses on top of hills and fell in love with small town living. Wandered around Halifax in unseasonal 30 degree heat. Got a tan (read: sunburn). Bought a souvenir hat. Got on a ferry and ate a lobster dinner. Challenged a waiter that I could eat all of the bread he could bring me. I lost. Made room for dessert.