Nova Scotia

The final leg of our Maritimes road trip featured three places in Nova Scotia. First up was the rugged natural beauty of the Atlantic coast and crashing waves at Peggy’s Cove. Next was some man-made prettiness in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Lunenburg (and lovely sea food at the Salt Shaker Deli). Our final day was in urbane but relaxed Halifax. After so many outdoor activities, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic gave our brains a good workout, and then we had a fantastic dinner at the oddly named, but superb, Wooden Monkey. Their special that evening was “Vegan Poutine”, which sounded a bit trashy but was actually quite sophisticated, and very tasty.

New Brunswick

After Prince Edward Island we traveled into New Brunswick to explore the Bay of Fundy. This is famous for having the highest tidal range in the world, causing the unique reversing rapids in Saint John. The photographs do not really do justice to this phenomenon where the tide from the Bay is strong enough to reverse the flow of the river, creating whirlpools and tumultuous rapids. I also have some short videos of both high and low tides which I will post in the future.

Whistler Magic

Flying ten hours to a ski resort when there are so many within a couple of hours seems like a bit of an odd thing to do, but Whistler has something of a reputation for being superior to the best Europe can offer and I was keen to find out what all the fuss was about.

Downtown Vancouver from the Lions Gate Bridge

So was it worth the flight time? Undoubtedly the answer is “yes”, for many, many reasons. The first thing that strikes you that everything is incredibly well organised—from the hotel shuttle buses, to the lift queuing systems which all have dedicated lines for ski schools and single riders to ensure no seats go unused during busy times. The next thing you notice is that while the resort is pleasantly small—everything you need is within easy walking distance—the ski area is huge with nearly 200 varied trails including tree runs and glaciers. The runs are divided between two mountains (Whistler and Blackcomb) but both are accessible from Whistler village so transferring between the two is quick and easy; next year there will also be a gondola linking the two mountains.

Other highlights include the general friendliness and welcoming nature of everyone we met (although the majority of the resort staff seemed to be British or Australian, Canadians were a minority!), the free mountain tours (really useful given the sheer number of pistes!) and those of us taking lessons universally agreed that the ski instruction was superb. Although the brochure indicated that groups could be as big as 10 people during busy times, we were lucky enough to never be in a group of more than five, all of very similar ability. Highly recommended.