I love the moments before departure because of this feeling of excitement and anticipation of the days ahead. Funny I should say that since I was almost reduced to tears at work the day before because of the immense pile of stuff I had to clear before I leave. I don’t even know why there were so much stuff to begin with… I was only taking 3 DAYS off work! Cruising along the 401 to the airport that morning, with my brother on the wheels, I thought about how this particular trip is going to unfold. Would we get along? What is the east coast like? How different will it be? I’ve never ventured further than Quebec City on this great country of ours. Are we in for a surprise? That is always the case, isn’t it? To travel is like to watch a magician performs – you never really know what he’s going to pull out next.
Our flights were both smooth and very quick – 1 hour to Ottawa, a 60-minute layover, and another hour to Moncton. I looked outside the window once we landed and was greeted by a grey and cloudy sky with droplets of rain pelting down to the ground. BAH. It never occurred to me to check the forecast before I left, I just assumed it would be sunny and beautiful, definitely not this – grey skies, spitting rains, and (very) cold winds!
After a quick lunch at the Pumphouse Brewery on Orange Lane, we went ahead with our plans and officially started our road trip around the Maritime Provinces.
This is the description written on the information brochure given to us upon our entry:
“Ever since the area had been settled in the early 1800’s, there were recurring stories of wagons running up on the heels of startled horses and of barrels and bales of dry goods rolling mysteriously ‘uphill’!”
While it seems very strange, Wikipedia tells me that it is apparently only an optical illusion that is created by the layout of the surrounding lands. Nevertheless, it was a fun experience to coast the car backwards to the “top of the hill”. The $5 entrance fee per car allows you to do this as many times as you want.
Hopewell Rocks, Bay of Fundy
Deemed to be the home of the world’s highest tides, the Bay of Fundy is truly a fascinating sight. Gravitational pull of the moon forces the water to flow in and out of the Bay, within approximately 6 hours and 13 minutes, making an impressive difference of up to 15 m (or 50 ft. or the height of a four-story building, for those of you who are more visual)! That’s going from being able to kayak in the Bay to being able to walk the ocean floors and take pictures with the eroded rocks!
The best way of seeing this phenomenon is to visit the Bay twice a day – that way, you get to see it both in the low and high tides. Since the National Park is approximately 1 hour away from Moncton, we decided to go that evening to see the high tide and would return the next day to see the low tide.
For your information, the entrance ticket ($9/adult) permits entry for a 24-hour duration, thus giving visitors the flexibility to check both low and high tides. Be sure to check the Tide Tables and plan your day accordingly.
There is also a shuttle service available to take you to the gateway to the ocean floor. Normally, I’d be totally against this. I mean, why pay when you can use your own 2 feet to walk down? But, considering it was raining when we came back to see low tides and because I didn’t have proper rain-proof attire, I was more than happy to pay $4 to get us down and back up.
We did walk the path the evening before though, so I can tell you it’s a little bit strenuous, but an enjoyable walk. It is well-marked and there are signs everywhere to give you directions.
Shediac, New Brunswick
Its claim to fame is its possession of the largest lobster sculpture in the world. That’s it. I’m sure it’s a nice town to explore on a nice summer day, but given that we were there during a very cold, windy, and stormy morning, I’m not going to sugar-coat our experience for you. It was terrible and It’s overrated.
Sure, the souvenir store is cute, but other than that, there really was nothing else to do. We booted out of town within 30-minutes of arriving.
To be honest, I wasn’t all that excited to land in Moncton. I mean, we only chose to arrive there because plane tickets were much cheaper (up to $200 difference) compared to flying into Halifax. In hindsight, though, Moncton actually turned out to be the perfect city to start our trip. Its central location made it so much easier for us to plan our route and we stumbled upon many other unexpected, yet pleasant, surprises along the way. How about that as a lesson on not judging a book by its cover, huh?