Trip Start Jan 16, 2011
12Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
As far as day to day life is concerned I'm enjoying working in the hostel and glad be to be surrounded by a really great team of people. Amanda is experiencing life as a Veterinary Technician, or a Vet Nurse, as it known back home. Apparently in Canada the human nurses don't like the animal nurses being called nurses so they have to be called technicians, but more importantly it's great for Amanda to be employed in her trained field, as most people who come to Canada find it hard to get employment in their professions so it's a credit to her that she has.
With regards getting to see some more of the country, we're doing little by little on days off
Peggy's Cove and Lunenberg are two places that are big on the tourism map in Maritime Canada. Peggy's Cove because it has one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world sitting out and proudly keeping watch over it's own little portion of the Atlantic Ocean. Besides this though, it is also a picture perfect fishing village with only a handful of residents and just a few cafés and bars to keep the tourists entertained.
We made the trip out to Lunenberg using one of the tour operators that we recommend to guests in the Hostel and our guide Ryan also brought us on a leisurely three hour hike to nearby Gaff Point, spending some time in an almost untouched deserted beach which looked like it could have been the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe. Stunning.
The town of Lunenberg itself, apart from being very pretty, is also very unique in that it was founded and built entirely by immigrants of Britain, Germany, Switzerland and France, and, as is usually the case, all of these people had different religions and they all wanted somewhere to worship
Our last trip was to somewhere both of us have wanted to visit since we arrived in Canada, and that was St. John's in Newfoundland, or The Rock, as it is more well known as. Ideally we'd loved to have spent more time here and visited some more of the province, but time was not on our side so we made the most of the few days in the provincial capital.
Where Nova Scotia has quite a strong Scottish and Acadian influence, St. John's most definitely has a definite waft of Irishness about it, and you don't have to look too far to find it. Within an hour of arriving there we were being given a fantastic tour of the city and surrounds by Dennis, a local with close Irish heritage who was like a walking talking version of Wikipedia
While Newfoundland and Labrador are twinned together in Canadian provincial terms, Newfoundland is very much it's own entity when it comes to identity. The province is one of the oldest pieces of land in North America yet it is the newest piece of Canada, only joining the Commonwealth in 1949. As the majority of the original inhabitants came from Catholic Ireland and Britain, they were opposed to the joining and being part of the Queen's rule which lead to a very strong sense of identity which is displayed in flag created especially for the "Republic." On first glances the flag looks like a faded Irish or Italian flag as it is an almost exact replica of the famous tri-colours. Whilst it borrows the first two colours of green and white it replaces the orange (or red in the case of Italy), with pink. The origins of why pink was chosen aren't entirely known but it is thought that it signifies the British religious influence with possibly a bit of tongue-in-cheek thrown in to the bargain.
The other, and possibly more noticeable sign of it's huge immigrant history is the local accent. At first it make you stop and look in surprise a little, but once you get used to it, it's very pleasing on the ear. I can only describe it as a mix of Irish, southern English (think Cornwall or Devon) with a little bit of deep down south Mississippi thrown into the mix. Whatever it is, it's certainly unique.
We had hoped to see some of the incredible sights and wildlife that the province is famous for like icebergs, dolphins and of course, whales but we appeared to be about a week too late in making our trip as the majority of the sea life had travelled further north, with the icebergs going south
Aside from the nature and wildlife, St. John's has a great history and culture, and the houses that dot the skyline, nicknamed Jellybean Row due to their colourful design make it a very photo friendly town. Its only downside is probably the cost of living there. Dining out proved to be a very costly experience, which is mainly due to the fact that the province imports a whopping 90% of all its food. However, I don't think this clouded our opinions too much as it was definitely a very pleasant trip and left us with some very enjoyable memories of the most eastern point in North America.
We're now back in Halifax and planning for the next few months, summer is coming to an end, but the sun is still shining most days so we can't complain too much, even if it is almost 100% humidity at night
For now though it's a case of just trying to decide the next major step to take once January comes around my visa expires. There's a lot of questions and doubt in our minds as to what or where we will go, however, like most things in life it's best to leave these things to fate and deal with whatever hand were dealt. Sunny side up, as they say.