Finally.* Day five of my trip and finally I think I’m there.* Not there - I have been there since Thursday evening - but there.* At this time yesterday I was felling a little stressed, worked up and worried that I had bitten off more than I could chew with this trip but, as I sit here in the rather lovely*Bayview Pines Country Inn in Mahone Bay Nova Scotia, I finally feel at home.* I’m not sure if it was some sort of jetlag, being in the car on my own for so long - constantly driving - or if it really was the scenery not living up to my expectations but - whatever -*I’m a happier boy this evening.
One thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve travelled down through Quebec and New Brunswick has been the absense of a certain - I will choose my words carefully here - amount of enthusiasm from the people who I’ve spoken to.** Prior to this trip*I have mainly travelled in the Southern United States*where*the people who you bump into are falling over themselves to treat you as*if you were their best friends.* It’s charming up to a point but sometimes it can be a little too much so, initally, I was pleased to discover that*Canadians are a little more reserved.* However, after a couple of days, I started to long for the openess of the South so it was with great delight that I met the good people of Nova Scotia.
The day started with a walk through the rather charming watefront*town of Annapolis Royal before I hopped back in the car and headed south along the Kejimkujik Scenic Drive to the national park of the same name.* Whilst the Scenic Drive wasn’t all that scenic the welcome I received from the park rangers - particularly Trina who sold me my parks pass and who couldn’t have been any friendlier - and I left the visitor centre with a big smile on my face even before I had stepped foot on any of the parks trails.*
I have got to say that I like Kejimkujik.* It is a small park and tricky to get to but maybe that’s part of its attraction.* It was fully open - something, that I am discovering, is quite rare at this time of year - but I had the place almost to myself (with the exception of the swarms of black fly which Trina had warned me about).* As someone ‘bought up’ on the parks south of the border I have grown used to huge RVs roaring through the parks and huge fat people sweating their way up the trails so I am feeling somewhat spoiled with this latest development.*
From there I headed south to a town called Liverpool - well, I just had to, didn’t I? - which I liked enormously.* From Liverpool I followed the ‘Lighthouse Route’ along the coast toward my next destination - Lunenburg.* I have to say that this*leg of the journey was exactly what I*had expected from*Nova Scotia; rocky coastline, rain, fog and the smell of salt.* It was absolutely fantastic and I enjoyed every minute of the drive, stopping regularly*for photos.* I took the ferry across the LaHave River and, before I knew it, I was in*Lunenburg.*
I spent several hours walking around Lunenburg and the welcome -*like*everywhere else*I’d stopped today -*was very,**erm, welcoming.* I have to say that I liked Lunenburg a lot.* As the literature will tell you it is like stepping back in time and I found the mix of historic old building, the fascinating story of the place and the working docks a fantastic mix.* I will quite often stop by a war memorial when I see one - I think they tell a fascinating story - but I was particularly moved that Lunenburg had a memorial to all the men lost whilst working in the local fishing industry over the years.* Some of the stories it told were quite tragic; there was one family whose name that cropped up numerous times - over the course of over 80 years -*and then there was the story of one night*in 1927 when*over 80 men perished in a storm.*
I had planned to stop in Lunenburg*overnight, expecting numerous old bars with roaring open fires and old sailors telling stories of the sea to anyone who’d listen, but was surprised to discover it was actually quite a quiet little place.* Maybe it was shut for winter?
After pondering the idea of stopping on a local campground, whilst sitting on the dockside eating pizza in the rain, I decided I’d really rather spend the evening in a warm dry bed and so decided to head onwards towards Halifax.* I was quite taken with the town of Mahone Bay a short distance down the road and, spotting a sign for a local inn from the main road, I decided that this would be a most agreeable place to spend the evening.* I like it here a lot and feel quite at home: maybe it’s because my hosts are fellow Brits who are treating me exceptionally well or maybe I just got over whatever it was I was feeling yesterday.* I could see myself staying here for a couple of days…