The long bridge
Today was actually pretty full; almost two days in one. We started off in Charlottetown, wandering around the downtown and harbour area, then we drove to Moncton and spent some time there. Actually quite a lot happened, but I`m pretty tired and it’s kind of late (11:00 local time; just finished watching the House season premiere), so we’ll see how energetic I am…
So, we got up at the not-unreasonable time of around 8:00, had breakfast, checked out of our hotel, and drove into Charlottetown’s “historic downtown” to see what there was to see. What there was to see was:
- A variety of nice old buildings
- Province House, Charlottetown’s legislature, birthplace of Confederation, and site of that famous photo
- A nice harbour district with some gift shops and restaurants
Province House wasn’t half-bad. They showed us a little video explaining the significance of the Confederation discussions in Charlottetown, we poked our head into the legislative chambers, and then we actually met the Speaker, who was wandering around introducing herself to random tourists. Unexpected but neat.
Overall, we all quite liked Charlottetown. It was…quaint, for lack of a better work. Tourist-friendly without being too touristy, and a nice place to walk around and relax. Very friendly people, too. The most negative thing I can say about it is, there seems to be an obsession with Anne Of Green Gables…or, more specifically, they seem to believe that all tourists are obsessed with Anne Of Green Gables. Get past that, though, and it’s a nice place.
Oh, also, there’s this ice cream place called Cows that seems to sell more t-shirts than ice cream. We had the ice cream (excellent), and enjoyed the t-shirts, which are all spoofs of pop culture (Super Moorio Bros, Hannah Moontanah, MooTube, etc. They should be eye-rollingly stupid, but actually manage to be pretty funny).
We then drove west to Confederation Bridge, which I can safely describe as “a large bridge”. We drove over it, and had a couple complete conversations before we reached the other side, which is in New Brunswick. Having done this, I’ve now been in every province in Canada except Newfoundland.
It’s interesting to see how the different Maritime provinces are all distinct, even though they’re fairly small and close together. There’s definitely different terrain and culture in each one. New Brunswick has a much stronger Acadian/French contingent, and the terrain is very farm-oriented (unlike Nova Scotia, which had almost no farming at all). The countryside actually looks not unlike parts of Saskatchewan, except with the ocean in the background.
We know this, because we decided to take a non-major highway, and if we didn’t have the maps and GPS to prove otherwise, we would have been sure we took a wrong turn. This was a beat-up, narrow road, with no shoulders, and along most of it, no painted lines. It really seemed like a road to nowhere. But it took us exactly where we epected it too, and along the way, we stopped at a closed-for-the-season roadside snack shack, pulled a couple drinks out of the cooler, and drank them by the oceanside. Dad and I climbed down the ~3-metre embankment and walked along the “beach”, and collected a bunch of seashells (why not?).
Once we got to Moncton, we checked into our hotel, and then decided to go to Moncton’s downtown and wander around it. It’s not nearly as nice as Charlottetown’s was — there’s not as much to see and do, the historic buildings aren’t as well-presented, and there are a lot of locals (which we quickly labeled “hoodlums”) hanging around and giving the whole area a sort of unwelcoming vibe.
Oh, wait, I forgot about Magnetic Hill. We went to Magnetic Hill, couldn’t figure out how it was supposed to work, were unimpressed, got caught in the massive tourist trap road that makes it difficutlt to get back to the highway, and then had a hard time finding our hotel. So yeah. At least the toll booth was closed, so we didn’t have to pay $5 for the experience.
Anyway, we had dinner at The Pumphouse, a local pub, and now we’re back at the hotel. Tomorrow we’ll do the Bay of Fundy, primarily Hopewell Rocks. That promises to be an interesting visit, and should provide some nice photo opportunities…