Thursday, 27 December 2012

Eric's Uninformed Travel Tips: Canada Edition

Another article you say!?!  A Canadian travel article you say?!?  Poppycock I say!

In the effort of continuing our monthly march through the countries, I have to include Canada in the list.  However, I am going to change up the method a bit on this one...I will mention a few travel highlights in Canada, but all in all, this article is going to be more about the rewards/punishments of traveling home from abroad.

Locations visited in June, 2012: NS, NB and PEI, Canada

Dates of trip: June 14th-July 4th, 2012
How did we get there: Flight (Duh): Paris - Montreal - Moncton on the way there, and Moncton - Toronto - Paris on the way back.  As a note, if you are entering Canada through Europe, go through Montreal over Toronto if possible...less traffic and customs are MUCH more lenient.  Also, flight prices for this trip usually vary from 700 - 1200 dollars depending on the season.
Where did we stay: We started off our trip by attending a friends wedding and stayed at the Pictou Lodge Beach Resort for about $150/night.  Later in the trip we also went to PEI for Canada Day and stayed at rental cabins on the island...I don't remember the name of the company (in my defense I didn't do the booking) but there are plenty of companies to choose from, so take a look...either way, it was on the south shore close to the bridge.  Oh, and for the rest of the trip we stayed with our families of course.

  As I said, I won't focus on the actual travel in this article but I will mention a few things and still do my top 5/ratings at the end.  So here we go!

Pictou: We were really only here for a wedding so it was a bit of a hurried visit to Pictou, however, I must say that the resort was really beautiful and I would highly recommend it for a weekend getaway.  Beyond a weekend it may start to wear, as if you are like me, you will want to be closer to Halifax.

PEI: I actually had not been to PEI since I was a child, so it was like a new province for me.  I must say, it didn't fail to impress...Sand, sun, golf, friendly is really a great location for a Canada Day getaway.  If, like me, you have kind of forgotten this little island exists, I recommend you remember and get out there, it really is a gem.

Now, onto the focus...a few thoughts on traveling home for a rest (you see what I did there?  Slick...)

For almost 7 years now, I have been traveling home to visit family from at least a 5 hour flight away, and I would like to think that it has enlightened me a hasn't, but denial is a hell of a drug...that and heroin.  Anyway, in that time, I have gathered what I believe to be an adequate sample size to make some hypotheses on the pluses and minuses of traveling home...So lets explore shall we.

1. Seeing your family: pretty self explanatory really.  Let's just say that absence really does make the heart grow fonder...I have truly found that real relationships between people grow stronger when they are separated geographically.  When you only see people once a year, you focus on the positives, and I think this makes the relationships ultimately stronger.

Kayaking...the tie that binds...
2.  English break:  I cannot stress how necessary this is when living in a foreign, non-English speaking just get worn out after a while...

3. Culture break:  Same as above, but I should also point out that even when we lived in Calgary we found the cultural differences enough that it was nice to get back to the East Coast way of life for a break.

4. Keeping in touch with friends:  It's always good to see friends, but it is harder and harder to do as the years go by.  Permit me to sound like my grandparents for a moment, I think we all rely on technology too much now a days, and put less effort into actually seeing and talking to friends.  When we go home we try to always dedicate at least a day to friends, but even that seems like it is not enough at times.

1.  There is never enough time:  As I eluded to in the last of the pluses, there is simply never enough time to do everything you want to...Is that definitely a bad thing...not sure...but I always feel like I am missing out on things.

2. Traveling between families:  This is a big one for Juls and I as her family live in Quispamsis, NB and mine live in Chester, NS...This means that every trip home we have at least a 5-6 hour drive to look forward to...It also means that we have to very clearly plan the sections of our trip and decide which family to visit at which time (this is a bitch at Christmas).

3. TRYING TO SEE EVERYONE:  Impossible, exhausting, frustrating and disappointing...this is the worst part of traveling home...Everyone wants you to visit them and you want to visit everyone but it is simply not possible...

4. Not getting to travel:  This is another big one...If you only have a limited amount of vacation time (not a problem in France, but a big one in Canada) and you spend it all visiting home, you never get to travel anywhere else.  This is always the part of visiting home that pains me as when we are planning trips home we are always making the decision not to go to other places we would love to visit.

In the end you could say that the pluses and minuses even out, but as evidenced by the number of flights we have taken to the Maritimes in the last 7 years, obviously family wins out.

The things you do for family...
 So, as promised, here are my top 5 from our trip in Canada...
1.  This is an obvious one...Visiting family
2.  Seeing old friends at the wedding...worth it every time.
3.  Driving South Shore Nova Scotia...I grew up there and I still enjoy this drive every time.
4.  Canada Day on the beach in PEI
5.  Golfing in PEI...great courses...I am a horrible golfer...but great courses...

The Maritimes (NS, NB, PEI):

Affordability: 9/10, gotta love the affordability of a depressed economy/workforce...also, staying with family/friends helps.
Entertainment: 7/10, you have to look a bit harder and travel a bit farther to get it, but the Maritimes do have everything available.
Ease of Travel: 5/10, unfortunately, like in my post on Norway, there is no short way to get around the Maritimes...there is a long and beautiful way though if you have the patience and time.
Overall: 10/10, do you really think I am going to give my home less that a 10/10?

Home sweet Home...
 Up next, Germany!

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