My sister in law lives in the Rocky Mountains in a town called Fernie. We’ve visited her twice before, once for her wedding and once to go skiing. Unfortunately, the latter trip was a complete disaster as we had our 15 month old son with us. The flight was an abhorration as he didn’t get his own seat and wriggled and squirmed on our laps for the better part of 10 hours. It was -32C most days and so going out side was near enough impossible with a toddler. Frozen nostril hairs is a particularly fond memory I have of that trip. We only managed to get two and a half days on the slopes for a variety of reasons despite having my mother in law with us as on-tap baby sitting. To top it off we had a 23 hour delay on the way home and the icing on the cake… the airline lost our bags.
So, understandably, we didn’t want a repeat of that. Instead we decided to meet her half way and picked Nova Scotia as the location for a rendezvous – mid summer. We arranged to have a week Prince Edward Island with them and bookend the trip with some nuclear family time. As the East Coast of Canada is completely new to me, I thought I’d document our travels on the Blog. So here goes…
Flights – Glasgow to Halifax direct with Westjet.
Essentially this was the Canadian version of Ryanair. Cheap and (sort of) cheerful. We couldn’t book our seats until 24h before the flight so I had to do this in the middle of a busy clinic at work so we could get three together. Also we had a to pay extra to take our bags. That said, the overall price was completely worth it. I’d recommend you download the Westjet Connect App in advance so you can use your device for entertainment throughout the flight. We had some pre-downloaded Netflix TV shows and Movies for the boy which was also good idea. Baby didn’t get a seat but she was stoic and actually slept on me for about an hour. We took a load of sandwiches etc from departure lounge as meals were not included.
Halifax Airport was great (the USA could learn a lot from Canada). You walk into customs over a bridge with waterfalls on each side of you. The customs officers are courteous and efficient and they have auto-customs terminals which were fun and easy to use. My wife was looking at her feet when it took her photo and she looked a little like she was having a stroke so we all got a laugh out of the. The bags were on the carousel immediately and a nice Westjet agent went and collected out car seats for us (while the gang were in the loo) with a smile and an “enjoy your stay”.
All in all a lovely, manageable and stress free trip. Most importantly, there was no sign of me getting taken away to “check some details” which essentially results in overbearing customs people threatening to turn my anus into a punched blood orange after asking me completely irrelevant questions for an hour (yes, America. I’m talking about you).
Car Hire – Avis (Halifax Airport Branch)
Also was a complete doddle. The girl that served us was well versed at her job and extremely efficient. She asked where we were headed (Parrsboro via Truro) and she told us she was from Truro and proceeded to write down a list of places she recommended we stop en route. She tried to get us to upgrade from the “mid-size” SUV which turned out to be a Kia Sorento so we were like, “no thanks, we’ll just slum it in that”. Also, it only had 14km on the clock and we were the first people to hire it. So disappointing! Most important of all, there was no queue whatsoever; really unusual for an airport car hire branch. A little more expensive than a town branch but well worth the convenience.
Boston Pizza – Truro
Our first stop (of course). I have to say, the menu looked amazing but the actual food was a bit disappointing. I had the wings (I always have wings) and they just weren’t Buffalo-y enough for me and seemed a poor imitation to the real deal. My wife didn’t finish her pizza as it was overloaded with the taste of sundried tomato oil. However, my son loved his mocktail and margarita pizza and my daughter gorged on pizza crusts, cucumber and humus. Quite expensive and most certainly hasn’t knocked Pizza Express off our top slot.
Sobeys – Truro
The was next to Boston Pizza and a necessary stop for some self-catering num nums. Thankfully they had a toilet in there as my son decided he needed an emergency poo stop (like father, like son). That was about the only saving grace. The prices in this shop are UNBELIEVABLE. $36.99 for a tub of baby formula (as we do mixed breast / bottle) which was about £22. F**k sake! It’s about £9 in Scotland.
After this tear-jerkingly expensive shop we hit the Highway and headed onto the first night’s Air B&B accommodation.
Ocean Song Cottage – Green Hill near Parrsboro
A lovely cottage on a cliff top with bedrooms and bathroom downstairs and an open plan upstairs with an awesome conservatory that looks out south over the Bay of Funday and Blomidon Provincial Park. A very peaceful spot and a well appointed property. Perhaps not the best for two young kids but otherwise a great location with lots to do in the surrounding area. The owners were super helpful and very friendly and we’d definitely think about staying here again in the future when the kids were older.
And so to bed…