Cavendish - Part 2

Trip Start Sep 12, 2007
Trip End Sep 11, 2008

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Flag of Canada  , Prince Edward Island,
Monday, September 17, 2007

Having pretty much exhausted Avonlea's attractions, I wandered back to the cordial emporium to enquire on how to get to the beach. Allegedly it was quite easy cross-country so I hopped over a few fences as instructed and sidled down a track through a wood. And very creepy it was too - athough I saw an amazing bird that seemed to be sunbathing on a log. It was a bright blue colour and had spread it's wings out, reclining without a care in the world. Lots of noises and stirrings in the wood later, and it ocurred to me that no-one in the entire universe knew where I was. I hurried along the track and arrived in a clearing made of mud that had a few JCBs driving around on it and a couple of private land signs for good measure. Hmm. Flashback to childhood spent walking along disused railway lines (sometimes disused in the last 5 minutes and about to be used again in the next 10).

The drivers of the JCBs took no notice of me so I carried on and climbed through the hedges to a track on the other side where I was the first one to see the sea, by default as no-one else was around (I also had the longest chip for the same reason). After getting giddy over poison ivy (they have that in books!) which came complete with little signs telling you not to touch it, I came across a group of big deserted buildings close to the beach. Story of my life - closed for the season, although the bathrooms (or even toilets - clearly the lingo is seeping in...) were open. Fair play to them!

A charming exhibition of display boards were set up, explaining how the dunes had been made and why the sand was...sandy coloured... even though all the soil was red. Very interesting but pretty obvious if you think about it - it's because it's been bashed around much more at the coast. You can't actually go on the dunes because of the delicate ecosystem so it was more of the ace boardwalks through them. Was pretty cool though - practically deserted and the sun was still beating down as I ambled along them.  Because people weren't allowed through the dunes, which lined the coast for a few miles, wildlife carried on undisturbed and you could see tracks of birds and other creatures in the sand. A heron was standing around in the stream and didn't seem to mind my quiet 'oh!' and  subsequent staring for 10 minutes.

A quick pause here to laugh hysterically at headline I noticed today on BBC news website - Gordon Brown wanting Britain to lead the way in saving the environment. In Canada ALL litter bins are divided into at least 3: paper, organic and rubbish. Even in remote areas, in shopping malls, in houses. Everywhere. Not just in a half hearted way like they've started to do in Leeds, one side for tins and one for everything else (but not labelled the two halves...).

Anyway - I only mention that because of the industrial sized waste disposal areas that passed for litter bins on Cavendish beach. Quite amazing - 4 wheelie bins, each colour coded with huge poster boarding outlining what could go in each. I gratefully read the signs (abusing their shade as I did so...) and spent 10 minutes trying to work out which one to put my crisp packet in. Hmm. This could take some getting used to I feel.

By now I was too hot and getting tired, so I found a map showing I could walk back to the remote crossroads and the tourist information where I planned to spend the next two hours on the free internet... I found I was relieved I hadn't bothered to book any overnight acommodation in Cavendish. Very charming it is, but without your own transport, only for about 4 hours.

The path back crossed a lake (which turned out to be The Lake of Shining Waters) on more boardwalk - which wasn't actually anchored to the bottom - just floating - and each section was joined to the next by a little chain. VERY wobbly and precarious. Beautiful view though and very amusing to watch people get on at each end and see their faces as it moved away from underneath them.

Eventually the path came out onto very red cliffs with not a soul about apart from one man staring out to sea. I approached to ask him to take a photo and it turned out to be the owner of the Chinese Restaurant. Perhaps he was investigating why all these 'tourists' seem to keep invading his town. Quite bizarre to run into someone I sort of knew. And when the nearest person you know is thousands of miles away, you find yourself clutching at straws.

The cliff path ended at the carpark so I dragged my self onto the shimmering tarmac of a wide road which abruptly started at the beach and curved off into the distance. An empty coach drove past with the driver staring curiously at me. Nobody walks round here clearly. The coach came back past me 10 minutes later with about 5 elderly people on it and I muttered under my breath, thanking him for the lift. Oops - bad mood?

Somewhere north of Siberia I came across a deserted toll both randomly in the middle of the road which had widened to 6 lanes. There's nowhere weirder than a place designed for millions of people, with just yourself around. I peered in the window and puzzled to myself. The booth looked quite modern and had an empty safe in it and looked quite well kept. Why would you be charged to go along 1 mile of road? You couldn't get any further because it stopped at the beach. All very odd. The lack of shade and refreshments forced me to abandon my investigations and I trudged on up the hill past a golf course and eventually the tourist information centre creeped into view. From this angle I realised that the other half of the building was the local RCMP station (Mounties to you and me), but of course, as we all know they don't actually exist, there weren't any around.

Back inside the tourist information the Japanese girl was still asleep across the sofas. I'm not sure why she bothered - couldn't she sleep for free back at the hostel? Clearly I'd missed out on a good night out though. I still had an hour to kill and as sleeping beauty wasn't volunteering any fascinating conversation I decided to go and have a look at the 4 other buildings that make up Cavendish village. Which turned out to be an excellent move. Lucy Maud Montgomery's grave was in the tiny cemetary at the crossroads - so I went and paid homage to her. Next door was the Post Office (if Cavenish with it's 5 buildings can support a Post Office - why can't Oakhill?) which my helpful map said was where Lucy Maud used to live. Sure that no self-respecting tourist attraction dweller would fail to take take full advantage of my willingness to part with cash, I wandered on in and found a little museum that was spectacular. It told the journey of Lucy Maud's manuscript, cleverly weaving Anne of Green Gables and the postal service into one museum.

Back on the shuttle to Charlottetown, I sparked up a conversation with the Edwardian gentleman and as he looked like the type to frequent pubs, I asked him about the Churchill Arms and he confirmed that it didn't open on Sundays... Random small world moment too - he went on holiday to Weston-Super-Mare (?)(that's in the UK - Canadian fact fans) a couple of years ago and was in a restaurant where the waitress recognised his accent and asked if he was from Prince Edward Island - she was from Moncton! (which is two hours from PEI - UK fact fans). Why anyone would move from Moncton to Weston-Super-Mare is slightly beyond my reasoning but anyway... In fact - why would you go on holiday to Weston if you live on PEI?!

Across the road, the theatre was just opening it's doors for that evenings' performance of the Anne of Green Gables musical. Having previously scorned such cheesiness I decided to heed Megan's advice and go and see it anyway. Good move - it was excellent. It's Canada's longest running musical and they update it every year. It was actually pretty funny and I really liked the scenery - very cartoonish. They even mentioned Home Children - Rachel Lynde suggested Marilla get one to help on the farm. I couldn't take a picture of the actual show so here's one of the curtains a la school play. Not sure about theatres here - I'm more of a chandalier kind of girl.

Ooh and PS - the toll booth was the entrance point to Prince Edward Island National Park. You have to pay in the summer to take your car in.

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sarahandaimee on

Bill Bryson has nothing on you!!!!!!!
Yeay for blog!!!!!!!! Keep it up only 5 months to go!!!! :o)

Keep up the Mountie search, you've got till July . . .

Miss u

S x

sarahandaimee on

What do you mean?
No Mounties, I'm crushed ;-( Surely there must be some somewhere musn't there?

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