Kat in Canada travel blog

Welcome Village PEI

Historic Charlottetown

Charlottetown waterfront

Hostel Games Room

Squeaky beach

Lavendar fields

Greenwich Sand Dunes

Greenwich

Walk to the Beach Kouchibouguac

View towards Gaspe from New Brunswick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I wake when Zak points out that the lights are on so I jump back on the chair as sleeping on the floor was not permitted. People are still snoring as I pack up my things and write up the last of my Newfoundland log. Today we are heading to Prince Edward Island. We are the last to unload off the ferry again and head straight to North Sydney. We find a Robins for Zak then McDonalds for me and I sit and use the Wi-Fi for a bit and charge my electronics. Plus I drink coffee, which helps. We head to Walmart but again no grocery section so we start driving. There is not a great deal more to say. It is around four hours driving to get to the Nova Scotia / New Brunswick border and the scenery is nothing we have not already seen. Zak is asleep and sleeps the whole way. I stop for coffee and rest once but other than that we power on. At the border we stop at the Nova Scotia welcome centre so Zak can buy his stickers and flags. New Brunswick has nothing marking its border, just a flag. The difference is incredible. I have mentally decided against doing Hopwell Rocks today. It will be a two-hour detour out of our way for something I already drove past and decided not to do. It is already three and I am shattered, there is two more hours to Charlottetown so the detour would be just about more than I am capable of. Luckily Zak agrees to go straight to Charlottetown. We head to PEI and find the Confederation Bridge. It is 7km long and a really impressive structure. It is so long and I look forward to amazing scenery on it but the walls are so high you actually cannot see a thing. It is a bit of a shock to find out that they want $46 for the crossing which you pay on the way back, not the we thought it was. There is a Welcome Village, not just a Visitor Information Centre but an actual Welcome Village. It reminds me of the entrance to Alton Towers, the part with the shops and sweets at the very beginning. We go into the Information Centre and I get a map and information on the island. There are essentially three loops, I was only planning on doing two but each should take a half to full day to do so it is realistic. I am tired though so I just want to head to the hostel. I track Zak down buying stickers and finding Pokémon. We drive on to the hostel. I was meaning to take the scenic road but miss the sign. My first impression of Prince Edward Island is that is has money. The highways are well maintained, everything is in good condition, it feels like a province that has money and spends it on tourism and infrastructure. My second thought is about the colours. The sand is that blood red sand that you see in the Northern Territory in Australia but the fields and water ways that grow on top of it are a multitude of bright colours. It is like a child has been let loose on a colouring book, the fields are every shade of green, yellow, red, gold. A bit like Holland with its flower fields. It is very beautiful and the buildings are a real mix of quaint, old and modern, new. We drive into Charlotte town and first impressions are of a small, immaculate city. We find the hostel okay and it looks like an old Colonial style house next to a park. There is a red pickup truck, old fashioned style outside and red chairs in the yard. The Kiwi girl who checks us in is lovely and first impressions are that it is clean with plenty of places to hang out. We are advised to move the car so we grab our stuff out and I move it. First stop is the shower which is lovely, hot and powerful. Absolutely perfect. After shower we need to do laundry. They don’t have one on site but there is one just down the street so we head there. It takes 45 minutes. Zak wants to chill for a bit so he sets an alarm to come back and move it to the dryer. I am planning to explore for a bit and will come back to collect it later. I am so tired I know that when I stop I will not come out again and I want to see some of Charlottetown. I power walk around taking pictures and my opinion does not change. This is a city that really cares. It feels incredibly well maintained, thought out, nothing is by accident. Signs adorn historical buildings and everything seems planned for tourism. It reminds me a little of Canberra in that it is almost like it has been designed and created but it has much more character and atmosphere. There are heaps of breweries and places to eat; seafood and especially lobster seems to be the main attraction. I add it to my list of cities to come back to. I wander around taking pictures, see plenty of old buildings, the harbour and waterfront and the parks. Everywhere is really beautiful. It is time to head back and collect clothes but they are not yet dry so I put them in again and head back. In the hostel I start talking to a few people. Everyone is super friendly here. Zak finds a fellow Pokémon friend and they head off to buy beer and play pool. I chat to a Canadian teacher here for a conference, a Canadian girl who is solo cycling across Canada and two Australian girls visiting from Banff. It is a really chilled night and we talk easily until the guy announces it is quiet time at eleven. By quiet time he means silence so we all go to bed.

When I wake up I feel ill. I am sniffy, my chest hurts again and I feel really run down. I go to breakfast which is fruit, toast, cereal, banana bread, it is an amazing selection and I eat plenty. Zak floats the idea of staying an extra night and to be honest it takes root. There is availability, everyone here is lovely, I am so tired and feel like crap plus I have not had a single day off from driving in three weeks. I check with reception and she helps me work through my itinerary and confirms that I have enough time and that it is all good to stay so I make the decision and inform Zak who is happy. I stream the Liverpool match and am able to chill and watch an amazing 4-3 win over Arsenal. Zak decides he is going to cook us jacket potatoes in the oven seeing as PEI potatoes are provided free here. The Australian girls are heading to the brewery to play board games and invite me to join them so I agree to catch them up. After the match I help Zak with planning his onward travel and eat the jacket potato he very proudly makes me, it is his first time ever cooking one and he is so proud of himself. I eat Ravioli with it and then shower and get ready. I head to the Brewery to join the girls. It is a really cool warehouse style craft brewery and I try a Pilsner which is super refreshing and just what I need. We drink a few more beers, play scrabble and a game I have never heard of which requires thinking of words under each category using a letter. Turns out our brains have turned to mush but it is a really fun afternoon. We are tipsy by the time we head back, with take away from the brewery. The girls have offered to cook me dinner which is amazing, fresh veggies, mash potato and a ton of spices from the free shelf. It is really tasty and filling and so nice to eat something different. We go and sit in the games room to drink our beer and chat. Zak is in there playing pool and when he heads off for a walk with the girl he is chatting to we play some pool. When they come and kick us out we head to bed. All in all, it has been an amazing day, just what I needed. The perfect chilled Sunday.

It is a slow start to the day as I am in no real hurry to go anywhere and Zak wants to play pool with the girl he has been talking to so I take advantage of the free breakfast by eating loads. I sit and chill for a while and chat to the Aussie girls until they leave for their bus. Once they have headed off I wait for Zak and his friend to get back from lunch then I drop her at the bus station and we stop at Walmart on the way out of town. With fruit bought it is back on the road. It is essentially a 600km route around the coast so a fair amount of driving considering it is already 1pm. I follow the route stopping which is marked by a starfish sign and very kindly numbers the attractions along the way. I have picked out a few, the first is a lighthouse which is pretty but nothing extraordinary and the weather is a little bit overcast plus you have to pay to climb it. Zak has stayed in the car. At the next stop I wander down to the beach which is meant to be a squeaky beach but it is a bit wet for the sand to squeak. Zak plays Pokémon while I take some pictures. It is a pretty enough beach, golden sand framed by red rocks and a really cool ocean. Kids are jumping off a Pier type structure observed by a lifeguard. I spend a while down there waiting for Zak but he doesn't head down so I wander back up and find him playing Pokémon because beaches have no interest for him. He sleeps for the next two hours of the drive and so misses the amazing, coastal scenery. The sand and cliffs are dramatic and really red, the fields are a myriad of different multi colours. My next stop is an island across a bridge but gravel road puts paid to it and I don't want to risk the car on a gravel track. I head to Greenwich which is meant to have really cool sand dunes. We walk through fields of lavender, colouring the grass lilac and coastal scenery until we reach a boardwalk across what looks like a marshland or wetland system. In reality it is a mixture of dunes and wetland and the rocky boardwalk over it is designed to protect it. It is really pretty and in the distance big, towering, sand dunes loom. The overcast day somehow makes it more atmospheric and as we climb the last hill the dunes give way to a long stretch of golden sand with waves breaking. It is as nice a beach as I have seen and perfectly isolated. I walk up the track to what is signposted as a lookout and after a short climb over sand you get a view across the valley between the dunes. They are beautiful, the sun casts just the right light and it is so calm and serene. Grass grows in between the sand and pretty much all the way up to it. I take time wandering back as it is so pretty. Back at the car the last stop for the evening is to find seafood. We are nearing the end of the loop and it is as close to drive to Charlottetown as to the next part of the loop so we head back to town. There is a great seafood place on the front which some people from the hostel had eaten at the night before so we have been recommended it. It is nearly nine when we arrive but I order us a seafood platter so Zak who has never had any seafood can try a mix of Lobster, mussels, oysters and Calamari. He takes an age to eat everything as he is busy snap chatting it all to his 'followers'. It is great seafood though and he likes everything except the Oysters. It is $40 each but for me well worth it to eat good seafood. I would much rather pay for that than McDonalds every night. Then it is back in the car to find somewhere to stop for the night. This is really difficult tonight as there are no pull in areas on PEI, the beaches and buildings are all lit up. Eventually I find a dark sector of a Gas Station and pull in for the night but it is nearly midnight and I am absolutely shattered.

I am awake early as sunlight streams through and I go for coffee and chill for a bit. There is a creepy guy who has pulled up in his truck next to us and keeps watching us so I wake Zak as he needs to buy the petrol and then we get driving. This loop is much smaller and we have already done part of it on the way in so we are done by around ten. The scenery is nice enough but unless you are an Anne of Green Gables fan there is nothing really remarkable. The whole loop is dedicated to her. We stop at the Visitor Welcome Centre again on the way out as I need to make a call then we cross over the bridge, pay the toll and head off the island. It was nice enough, very picturesque, well maintained and I liked Charlottetown; it is a great holiday destination I guess but there was nothing remarkable about it scenery wise when you compare to Newfoundland or Nova Scotia. Back in New Brunswick it is several hours of driving until we reach anything of note. The difference in upkeep is noticeable straight away. The roads are rougher, everything is a lot less well maintained than on PEI. I am almost at the National Park of Kouchibouguac having seen nowhere really to stop when Zak wakes up and decides he wants camp goodies meaning marshmallows and sausages so I drive following his directions on a 20 minute detour because the road is closed until we reach a supermarket where he can buy his marshmallows and sausages. He also wants beer but is of course too young so I have to go buy it for him. Twenty minutes later we are at the Visitors Centre and I ask the girl to recommend us a good site for the night. She tells us where to go and where the best trails are. Zak wants to hang out and use Wi-Fi but I have been driving for six hours and I want to get to camp and get settled. We find our campground, pay our money and head to the site. Zak buys firewood as he wants to cook his camp goodies. With the tent up and no more driving I decide to walk to the beach. My back is really sore so a long walk and a swim will do me good. Its definitely a long walk. I walk for around three hours without finding the track to the beach. Eventually I give up and head back, I'll drive down. We drive to the beach and you have to walk across boardwalks like at the Dunes. I am expecting a spectacular beach at the end, like Greenwich but in reality it is nothing special and incredibly busy with families. The water is freezing but the swim feels good once I am over the cold. We walk back to the car park and Zak somehow resists the urge to buy junk food. Back at camp we chill for a bit and I write and Zak plays with his fire. It is my night for sleeping in the tent which is a good thing with my back. At about 1pm it starts to rain. At first I sit it out because it is not coming through but it gets heavier and eventually starts coming through the tent so I race for the car. It is a good call as it only gets heavier from there in.

It has stopped by the morning but unfortunately we left our towels and swim stuff out and I also told Zak to put his boots outside the car because they stink. As a result they are all now drenched through. Oops. I wrap everything up in carrier bags as best as we can and we drive to the Laundromat but it is really busy. We decide to hit the road, thinking we will find one along the way. The rest of New Brunswick is highway until we get to Campbelltown, the first town on the New Brunswick border from Quebec. It is a pretty little town framed by hills and a Lake and we find the first Regional Visitors Centre I have seen in New Brunswick. I stretch my legs for a bit as it has been a long 4 hours or so driving so far.



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