Hi friends! I just got back from a much needed vacation and if I am being honest, am still in vacation mode! Which means that I haven't bothered to upload the photos from my other camera, but truth be told, I took more photos with my iPhone anyway!
Mark needed to be in Canada to renew his work visa, and since my other travel plans fell through, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to see new places with one of my favourite's. So I flew to Chicago and Mark met me there with the rental car, and we began our road trip! First, we headed north into Michigan and stayed on Mackinac Island. It is accessible by ferry, and no car are allowed on the island! We brought our bikes, and explored everywhere we could. There is an 8.1 mile path that encompasses the island, so the first thing we did after checking into our hotel was take a lap on the loop. We lucked out and misses the major holiday crowds, but even still, it was quite busy! I took quite a few more photos on my camera, and will post those later! We had a blast biking everywhere, taking in the sites and sounds and horses! The island is most famous for the Grand Hotel, which was featured in the movie "Somewhere in Time," with Christopher Reeves. It was a little (or a lot) out of our budget, but it was still fun to check out the grounds!
After Mackinac, we headed onward into Canada. We stopped at Algonquin Provincial Park, and hiked the French River. Let me tell you one thing about Canada: They have the WORST biting insects I have ever encountered. Mark was bit on the thumb by a horsefly, and the swelling was so bad, we made a stop at the local hospital. Thankfully everything turned out ok, and with a lot of Benadryl, his clown like thumb and hand returned to normal size within the next couple of days. We spent one night in Parry Sound, and the next night we camped out in a Yurt! While it wasn't nearly as exciting as it sounds, I can now check that one off my list!
We continued on into Quebec, which as you may know, is mainly French speaking. They speak English too, but we really wanted to try out speaking French, and didn't do half bad! Our first stop was Mont Tremblant, which is this amazing, European ski chalet style town NW of Montreal. We stayed in a quaint B&B, and our host Pierre was full of fun stories (but mainly wanted to talk Mark's ear off about Australia) Once settled, we headed into town and began to explore. We hiked a grueling trail up to the top of the ski slopes, and while the view was beautiful, the biting insects had Mark's legs covered in blood. They are vicious! But that evening, nature made up for it by giving us one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen! The colors were unreal! From there we headed into Montreal, and just in time for an international Jazz festival. It was taking place at the base of our hotel, so of course we had to partake in a little music and dancing!
Leaving Montreal, we continued on to Shediac, which is where my Aunt Linda is from. She was awesome enough to get us in touch with her parents, and we spent the next couple nights in their GORGEOUS guest house right on the water! It was also Mark and I first Canada day! We celebrated by biking all over Shediac, taking in the sights and sounds. It is also home to the worlds largest lobester statue, so playing around on that was a must! We rolled up to a lighthouse point, and there was free cake and music! They were also giving away Canadian flags, pins, facepaiting, etc. The sailboats were out, proudly flying their flags, and in general, I think Canadians give Americans a run for their money when in comes to patriotism! We sat on the pier, watching all the jellyfish swim by! They were everywhere! No swimming for me. In the evening we dined on delicious food and wine and watched the fireworks from the pier. At this point, I was also kind of over taking photos, and really just wanted to be present and enjoy myself, so there are not as many photos from this part of the trip.
We continued on into the Cape Breton Highlands. This area was stunning! It reminded me of the cliffs of Ireland or Scotland. We also began to see a lot more signs warning us about the moose. Apparently, cars and moose dont mix ;)
We did see a moose, but the motorcycle in front of us scared her, so the only photo we got was of her backside bounding into the woods. We also did a hike down to a private beach, and watched the seals playing in the water. They were too far away to take photos. Sorry!
Also random, but if there are any Simpson fans reading this, drive to Cape Breton to see a front yard entirely devoted to that show!
Our last stop was Halifax. This adorable city was so much fun! I spent most of my time walking the city, enjoying the local shops and loving on Theodore Tugboat! He is the cutest boat ever! Not to mention that there is beautiful art everywhere in that city. We also headed out to Peggy's Cove, where this gorgeous old lighthouse sits amongst granite rocks. Back in 1998, there was a tragic plane crash 5 miles off her coast. SwissAir Flight 111 went into the sea, taking all 229 passengers along with it. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with plane crashes, so obviously this site was morbidly fascinating to me. But besides that, it was a gorgeous fishing village! The fog quickly set in, which gave it even more of a "frozen in time" feel. Also random, there was an old whale skull sitting on the side of the road!
And just like that, my trip came to a close! Mark has a couple more weeks to explore, but I'm so grateful for this trip I was able to take :D