Day Seventeen: Sydney, Nova Scotia

 

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I did mention that I’m not a morning person, right? My partner took the risky step of buying me a coffee. My first. And I’m sad to report that it went down far too easily!

The early morning drive along the coast of Newfoundland to the ferry was just as stunning as every other we’ve taken on the island.

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Right to the end of the drive, mountains rose on either side as if saying a fond farewell.

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The ferry ride was smooth and we scored the best seats ever. We paid a bit extra for cushy reclining chairs in the reserved section. We overlooked the stern of the ferry, on the 9th level (the only thing above us was the observation deck) and windows all around.

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About an hour into the seven-hour crossing, Newfoundland became the suggestion of a pencil smudge on the gloomy horizon. After that we were cocooned in fog.

The rain and clouds finally began to lift as we approached Cape Breton.

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As we drove away from the ferry, my first impression of Nova Scotia was one of brilliant colour. Oh maple trees of orange, gold and red, how I have missed you! It was dusk and too dark to take photos but I know tomorrow’s drive will be spectacular!

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Day Ten: Newfoundland!

We started our day in Labrador with a long hike along the coast outside L’Anse-au-Clair. The trail took us to the remains of a house built by settlers from Jersey in the Channel Islands between Britain and France. They arrived in the 1800’s and settled along this barren coastline for the seal and cod fishing.  Beautiful as the area is, I can’t imagine coming here 200 years ago and creating a life from scratch.

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Then we drove a few minutes along the highway into Quebec at Blanc Sablon. The ferry to Newfoundland leaves from there.

It was a 1.5 hour ride across the Strait of Belle Isle. No whale sightings today.

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We meandered up the coast from St. Barbe, stopping to check out a couple of hiking trails.

The first one led to a series of unusual bun-shaped “rocks” that are actually among the earliest life forms on Earth. They are called thrombolites and are rare. The only other place they are found is in a place in Western Australia.

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After that we wandered through an area of limestone barrens where 118 of the 300 known rare plants in Newfoundland exist. Many of the low trees and shrubs are several  centuries old.

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I saw a stark contrast in the landscape between Labrador and Newfoundland. In Labrador, the terrain was mountainous with tall black spruce and tamarack. In Newfoundland, the land is very flat along the northwest shore and into the interior. The few trees tend to be scrub brush and you can see for miles.

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Further east, the land becomes hilly and mountainous and the trees grow a bit taller but the variety is different.

On our way to L’Anse-aux-Meadows, we stopped at The Daily Catch, the only restaurant that’s open in the area at this time of the year. The haddock had been freshly caught just off the coast of L’Anse-aux-Meadows and the partridge berry pie was delicious.

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I have it on good authority that the bread pudding with Screech rum sauce was good too 😉

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This is the sunset that greeted us as we turned into L’Anse-aux-Meadows where we will stay for two nights.

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We’re eager to explore the Viking archeological site tomorrow.