Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 42: Moncton to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

260 kilometers, 2:34 hours

Peggy's Cove

From Moncton, a town that is sheltered on the north side of the Bay of Fundy, we drove around the east end of the bay to Dartmouth, a suburb of Halifax, on the weather-beaten south coast of Nova Scotia. 

Moncton, New Brunswick to Halifax, Nova Scotia
It was about 4 p.m. when we got settled into our hotel in Dartmouth. The clouds had been thickening and thinning all day, but there was pretty good sunshine right then; rain was predicted for tomorrow. So Captain Dan decided we should drive out to look around Peggy's Cove, a coastal town that was supposed to be picturesque. The only problem with that was that first we had to get through Halifax, one of the largest cities in Canada, at rush hour. And the problem with that was that after the freeway goes over the bridge from Dartmouth to Halifax, it ends abruptly, forcing the heavy traffic to work its way through narrow streets and copious stop signals to get to the next freeway. Traffic moved so slowly that I could just feel the drivers fuming, and there was no escape; we finally tried an alternate route, but it was just as clogged.

Anyway, after a tense hour and a half to cross the city, then a half hour of pleasant driving on a narrow country road lined with trees and ponds, suddenly we emerged onto the coast at Peggy's Cove, a small fishing village. The problem with that was that it was foggy. Captain Dan's tour group whined and grumbled—anticipating a long, damp walk to see another stupid light-house and seriously in need of a latte after that stressful drive. 

We stopped first at the Visitor Center, but there we learned that we could park up the hill near the light house. That cheered me, but Dan started carping about the fog to the guide. She replied, "Actually, the weather is better than it has been all day, and I think the fog may even lift." Sure enough, the fog was lifting as she spoke. That was cheery, and when we parked in the upper lot, I noticed an "espresso" sign on the restaurant/gift shop there. Alright!

The Atlantic slams right into the south coast of Nova Scotia, but the coast is well armed, being built of solid granite—slabs, and sheets, and boulders of granite. The ocean would find it hard to carve any fancy formations out of this stuff, though it had succeeded in creating 
cracks and fissures. What would it look like if the tide withdrew and revealed the granite wall of the continent? 

Rocky Coast at Peggy's Cove

The light-house there is the archetypical light-house— a single, shapely white tower with a light on top, and no buildings attached. It was conveniently perched on a granite plateau allowing tourists to walk far enough away to take photos of each other in front of the tower.

The Light at Peggy's Cove
The little fishing village is very picturesque. Dan raced around and bagged his shots in the setting sun; I hung around the shore. We had about 45 wonderful minutes before the fog re-gathered.

Sunset in Peggy's Cove
We soon drove out of the fog and had a pleasant drive through the woods back to Halifax. The city was empty at 8 p.m. and we crossed quickly, using my iPad mapper to guide us through the strange city. It doesn't give directions, because I was unable to buy a data plan, but it still shows maps and there is still a blue ball marking our location. That's enough. In fact, when I am able to use wi-fi to get directions, frequently the directions include some step that is completely useless. A mapper can only use algorithms; it doesn't actually know what's happening on the ground, so to speak.

Once again our Best Western reservation has been upgraded to an executive suite. This time that means a very large room with no more furniture than necessary, leaving lots of empty space for our copious luggage. The walls are light tan, instead of the mud color of the previous room. Both of us feel very comfortable here. Fortunately, the hotel has a restaurant called Trendz CafĂ© & Wine Bar, where Dan had a great dinner.