Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Chasing Moose Tour - Day 11

We arrived early in the morning in Sunny North Sydney, since I had a good sleep on the ferry, I started driving and Eric went to sleep. I drove through Nova Scotia, and then we switched drivers, and he drove through half of New Brunswick, and then I drove the other half of New Brunswick and into Quebec...we switched drivers just outside Quebec City, and Eric drove home.

Before starting the drive home, we decided that we would only drive the 16 hours if we really felt like we could do it, otherwise, we would stop and stay over somewhere in New Brunswick. The drive went well and we were feeling good, so we decided that we would drive home.

The majority of the drive was uneventful, it wasn't until we got just outside of Quebec City where we hit a storm, and the rain was coming down so hard I thought that we may have to sleep there for the night. Thankfully though we pushed through and we only hit a couple of spots with really bad rain.

We were so glad to arrive home safely and to be able to sleep in our own bed! However, we're dreaming of...Newfoundland...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Chasing Moose Tour - Day 10

Today, our plan was to drive to Port-aux-Basques and tour around the area. Our Ferry wasn't until midnight, so we knew that it would be a long day, and the only day of our trip where we could "stop and smell the roses" whenever we wanted to.

While we were touring around Newfoundland, we had passed many Brooks, and each time, I wanted to stop and take a picture, today was the day where I would do just that, we stopped and took pictures whenever we wanted to. We took our time driving to Port-aux-Basques.

We stopped at the Wreckhouse site - the most windy spot in Newfoundland. It was a stunning site!

En route to the Rose Blanche Lighthouse, we came upon the Barachois Falls...there was a boardwalk like path that was in bad need of repair, but that only added to the adventure. We walked right up to the pool at the base of the falls. It was stunning! I loved the landscape on this side of Newfoundland. After the little hike to the falls and back, we made our way to the Lighthouse.

It was a really beautiful site, and while we were there, we witnessed a marriage and a baptism.

We headed back to the Port-aux-Basques area for supper. We ate COD...Yummy! Afterwards, we walked along the boardwalk, while there, we saw a ferry come in and an older man came by to ask us if we wanted to buy and old fishing boat....I wish I would have taken a picture of the was awful...the old man said the price was good, but that the boat needed work. We could see that the boat needed a lot of work, and he informed us that there had been some homeless people who had been living in the boat for a while. We thanked him for telling us about the boat for sale, but told him that we weren't interested in buying a boat.

We still had a long while to wait for our ferry, so we decided to tour around. We stopped to buy some gifts. Then we drove around and ended up at Grand Bay Beach. Grand Bay is the home of a Piping Plover Reserve. We were lucky enough to see a couple of them...but they're small and they move really quickly, so both photos we took are blurry. There was a lovely boardwalk on the ocean. There were lots of rocky beaches and we saw our first sand beach in Newfoundland there. We stopped at two rocky one, there were many Inukshuk's and Eric decided to add to the collection. And at the other, we went down to the beach to throw some stones in the water and to check out the temperature of the water (it was turn your skin red kind of cold!). We continued walking along the boardwalk until sunset, unfortunately there were too many clouds for it to be a spectacular show.

I'm so glad that the last moments we had on the Rock were spent walking along the ocean...I LOVE Newfoundland...and I already know I'm going to miss this place...and we haven't even left yet!

Once it was dark outside, (around 10pm) we headed over to the Marine Atlantic terminal to wait for our ferry home. The ferry was a little late leaving Newfoundland. Once we boarded the ferry, we headed for the air seats. We were lucky enough to have found them again, and I had a good sleep (on the floor - the chairs are not so comfy after sitting in a car all day).

I guess since we're leaving the province tonight that the offical Moose count for our trip was just 2! I know we could have seen more if we had chosen to drive more at night, but we thought it would be safer to drive during the day (and we could see more of this beautiful province....Good bye for now Newfoundland...we'll be back one day!

The Chasing Moose Tour - Day 9

Today we are leaving St.John's and heading to Grand Falls/Windsor. We packed up our room and headed out...we stopped at The Rooms on our way out of town. The Rooms is a museum, art gallery and archive in the heart of St.John's, we enjoyed our visit, it took us about two hours to go through, but at the end we were rushing (there's a 2 hour maximum for the free parking). We probably could have spent all day there! We stopped at some stores on the way out of town and then we were on our way to Grand Falls/Windsor.

We stopped at Blue Mountain in the Terra Nova National Park.

We stayed at the Carriage House Inn B&B it was the most modern of all the B&B’s that we stayed at. We loved the decor of the room, the king sized bed and the bath with jets! We were pretty tired so we decided to stay in and relax - we didn't even have dinner. We started watching a movie, but we were so tired that we didn’t finish watching it.

Of all of the days of our vacation, this day was the one where we took the least photos and it was the day that we rested the most.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Chasing Moose Tour - Day 8

This morning, we headed over to Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America. It is a lovely site with a working lighthouse and the whales came to give us another show – not nearly as spectacular as the one on Quirpon, but neat to see either way! We walked around the site and watched the whales which took us about an hour and a half.

(That's Eric under the flower)

On our way back to St. John’s, we stopped in Petty Harbour. It was a pretty little town, The harbour was different than any other we’d seen.

After taking some pictures, we headed back to downtown St. John’s (One of Eric’s favourite spots). We did some shopping and then we went to Kelly’s Pub for Fish and chips. It was recommended by Joy, our hostess at the B&B and we were not disappointed. It may have been the best fish and chips we had while we were in Newfoundland. Their coleslaw was amazing!

It was incredibly hot that day, and we headed back to the B&B to shower before dinner. We were a little early for dinner, but we didn’t want to get all sweaty again, so we decided to tour around a little in the car. We drove up to Signal Hill, and got out of the car for just long enough to take a couple of pictures and then we got back in the car and drove around a little more and then headed out to Torbay for dinner at Renee and Brian’s.

When we arrived, we were greeted outside by Renee and Sid (their dog). I was so excited to meet Sid, but as it turned out he didn't like me – at all, but he did like Eric. I even tried to woo him with a bone from dinner, but he would have none of it! Dinner was wonderful....Eric especially liked the warm blueberry crisp for dessert!

I think we were all a little nervous at first, but we soon found out that we had lots to talk about! We were supposed to go for a walk, but we got to talking and it looked like rain, after awhile though, we decided to go for a walk. We headed to Signal Hill to get some pictures of downtown at night.

We headed back to Renee & Brian’s and we chatted a little more, and I didn’t realize the was midnight when we left! Renee gets up super early and we kept her up super late! (sorry Renee!) Thanks so much for everything! Our visit with you was one of the highlights of our trip and we hope that you’ll come and visit us in Montreal really soon!!

21 months

As with each passing month, we can hardly believe that we have reached this benchmark - well we say that, but then again it seems to have taken forever to get here... and since we don't know when the end of our wait will be... it seems like we'll be waiting forever to get that elusive CALL. We know that the key is to keep busy so time passes more quickly, and so we have been, but that doesn't change that longing to finally see the face of our Little One!

This month has mostly been about vacation. The first week of the month was spent planning the final details for our vacation, and preparing for our trip. We were away for 11 days. We watched our niece for one week, and my mom watched my niece and my nephew for one week. So to say that this month was busy is probably an understatement!

Mom is still on vacation so we have another week of vacation activities planned and then we'll be getting back to work.

We are very anxious to get the call... we thought that being on vacation would help us to not think quite so much about the adoption, but we found that we were thinking more about our Little One, thinking about how different our vacation would have been with our Little One in tow.

We have also through the month still been dealing with the passing away of our dog, Hobbes. We miss him a lot.

We have a long list of things that need to get done in the house. We've (re)started the debate on the paint colour in the play room... We're pretty much settled on not painting it black - otherswise it could go so many different ways - at this point Eric is campainging for red and I'm thinking brown...and once we know if it's a boy or girl...we can accent with gender appropriate colors...i.e brown and blue...brown and pink...brown and get the idea...we'll keep you all posted about what we decide...feel free to weigh in on the debate!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Chasing Moose Tour - Day 7

We left Twillingatethis morning, it was a beautiful sunny morning, we packed up our things, packed the car and since it was such a beautiful morning, we decided to head out to the Lighthouse/Lookout one last time to take some pictures of the lighthouse and of my favorite house in Twillingate.

As we left Twillingate, we stopped to pick up a sandwich for the road at The Cozy Tea Room - where we had toutons yesterday...oh so yummy! We headed towards Gander. Along the road, we came to a 16km stretch of highway that they called rough roads. It was 16km of dirt, gravel and pot holes! While we were driving that stretch of road, from Twillingate to Gander, we saw a horse tied to a tree with just a rope and we nearly hit a dog, he jumped in front of our car...I guess he wanted to play!

The drive was beautiful from Twillingate to Gander, but between Gander and Mount Pearl, there was thick fog, and rain.

Arriving in the Mount Pearl/St.John's area felt kind of surreal, after seeing all of the quaint fishing villages along our way, it was weird to see the housing development filled suburbs. It was very obvious that there were a lot more people living in this part of Newfoundland. Have I mentioned before that I don't like crowds very much?

We drove in to St. John’s, found our B&B and checked ourselves in. We unloaded the car just in time before the rain! We called Renee to let her know that we had arrived in St. John’s and then we rested a little. While talking to Renee, we made plans to get together for dinner tomorrow evening(July 14th). We decided to go and explore downtown St. John’s and to see if our friend Matt was free. Matt had plans with his family for dinner but told us that he would be free after dinner for coffee. We walked around downtown, on Duckworth and Water Streets. There are lots of neat shops, but we didn’t do any shopping, we went to dinner at a pub/brewery called Yellowbelly’s. The food was ok...but the service not so much. After dinner we walked around a bit more while Eric was exchanging texts with Matt. We decided to meet up at a coffee shop near our B&B called Coffee Matters. It was a nice little shop with a few tables outside, and since it was hot out, it was nice to sit out and enjoy the breeze. We sat and chatted for awhile and then we walked around downtown again but this time from a different route, and in a more residential area, where they have all the “Row” houses. I love them all. I love the colors and how each owner has made their own house unique! I took a lot of pictures of those houses.

On the way we stopped for Ice cream at Moo Moo’s, where they make homemade ice cream. After walking around downtown, we headed back to the B&B...I was so tired! So we said goodbye to our friend Matt, and went to bed...there was no air conditioning, but Joy, our hostess was kind enough to find us a fan. Eric said to me as he was lying in bed while I was working on the blog "I don't know if I'll be able to sleep in this heat" I looked over about 3 minutes later...and he was out like a light!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Chasing Moose Tour - Day 6

We woke up to another rainy morning. We ate a nice breakfast of French toast with fruit, and fresh coconut scones and partridge berry muffins. We had to change rooms in the B&B, so we packed up and moved rooms. Our host was kind enough to take care of doing a load of laundry for us.

We headed out around 9 and we decided that today would be mostly a museum day since it was raining so much. We stopped at the Durrell museum, it was an interesting place, and there were lots of neat old things to look at, including a stuffed polar bear! There was also a craft shop in the museum so we were able to get some shopping in. There are lots of affordable handmade items in the craft shops. Then we went to the Twillingate Museum, again there were lots of nice and interesting things to look at and there was a craft shop there too.

We then headed over to the Auk Island Winery. We sampled almost every wine they make...and we went on a tour of the was neat to see since we make our own wine at home. We went for lunch at a little tea room where I had toutons for the first time! Toutons is fried bread that is served with molasses. Oh My!! It was so good. Eric had beef soup and a ham sandwich.

We then headed to the Prime Berth, a fishing heritage museum dedicated to the cod fishing industry that was. After that, we were pretty tired and we headed back to the B&B for a little nap.

We woke up at 8pm! We went for a quick dinner (at R&J’s – we had a hamburger and their wedge fries!), another tour of the town, we went back to see the lighthouse on the cliff, and then we headed back to R&J’s for dessert...partridgeberry pie with ice cream and coffee.

We toured the town again. I have been playing around with my camera to try to get it to take some pictures at night, and I think I have finally figured it out! We took some pictures around the town and then headed back to the B&B.

We’re heading to St. John’s tomorrow..but first...
Here's a picture of the house that is on the Kleen.ex Box this summer...Highlighting some of the most beautiful places in Canada...except the picture on the Kleen.ex box has three huge icebergs...and it's a beautiful sunny day...Oh well...we loved Twillingate anyway!

The Chasing Moose Tour - Day 5

I woke up at 5:00AM. I don’t know why, I just couldn’t sleep. I got up and showered and got ready and then headed out to take some photos around the b&b. We packed our things and after we had eaten, we were on our way.
A little house beside Hillside b&b

The view out our window at Hillside b&b.

We drove to Roddickton to drop off some things and have a quick visit with my friend Ruthie’s parents. It was a nice drive on secondary highways, so the roads were not as nice, but there were hardly any other drivers out there! We were about 40 minutes outside of Roddickton when we finally saw our first Moose! Actually there were two moose in a clearing on the side of the road. I stopped to take a few photos. Eric was extremely nervous, he didn’t want me to stop, I think he thought the moose were going to charge us! After a few pictures, the moose went back into the woods and we were on our way.

Once in Roddickton we had coffee with Ruthie’s parents. It was nice to get to know them a little, I’ve been friends with Ruthie for about 12 years now, but had only met her parents a few times, but it was always just a quick visit. After our visit, we headed out and began the long drive from Roddickton to Twillingate. The first third of the drive was nice, it was a nice clear day, and then when we got to the coast it was foggy! We couldn’t see the coast for all the fog. Once we got to Deer Lake it had cleared up and there was no rain for the rest of the drive. Driving through central Newfoundland reminded us of driving through northern New Hampshire or Vermont. We arrived in Twillingate at about 7:00pm We drove to the Lighthouse at the very edge of the island before heading back to our b&b.

After checking in we asked where to get some decent food on a Sunday night our host told us only one restaurant would be open – R&J’s... We were both a little nervous about going to R&J’s because the outside looked like a truck stop, but we were pleasantly surprised when we entered. The inside was nicely decorated with an amazing view of the wharf, and the food was delicious! We had cod (again!) and this was the best cod that we’ve had to date! After dinner it looked like it was going to be a beautiful sunset evening, so we headed out to find some places where we could take some pictures. We were not disappointed, the sunset was one of the most beautiful that we have ever seen and coupled with the quaint fishing village, it was perfect.

We headed back to the b&b to get some rest. I was happy to be able to connect to the internet and chat with my mom, my sis-in-law, and my friend, and to upload some pictures to the computer and catch up on some blogging.

Moose Count : 2

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Chasing Moose Tour - Day 4

When the alarm went off this morning, and I looked out the bedroom window and all I saw was fog...I was disappointed. This was not turning out as I had planned.

Breakfast, was an omelette with eggs, sausage, mushrooms and tomato which was served with toast made using homemade bread, and there were five different kinds of jam (bake apple, partridge berry, rhubarb, apple, and strawberry) – all homemade of course and all delicious!

After breakfast, we packed up our things. We then read for a little while and around 9:30 we headed out for a walk. We were pleasantly surprised when we got outside to see that we could see the ocean! We started walking along the path, but we were quickly distracted by the sights and the sounds of the ocean. The rugged, natural beauty of the place is breathtaking.

As we were walking, Eric heard something and headed towards the edge of the cliffs. There were two whales swimming by! What a sight to see. We continued walking along the edge of the cliffs...I almost lost my shoe when I stepped in a wet marshy spot! We walked for about an hour and a half, and as we did, the fog lifted a little...but only to make room for the rain, by the time we got back,we were drenched! There is a whale watching room (a little house with 2 glass walls) on the edge of the cliffs, so we went there to read for a while and to try to spot more whales. We did see some whales, but not too many. After awhile, I was still cold...there’s something about the foggy rain and the wind up there that the cold just gets into your bones! We went back to the Inn and read for a bit before lunch. We ate homemade soup for lunch with fresh bread and carrot cake for dessert. It was delicious! Just after lunch we were told that the whales were feeding just off the point. So if we were very careful, we could walk down the cliff at the point of the island and see the whales feeding.

We headed down there and we were not disappointed!! The whales put on a spectacular show just in front of us...we could see them coming up to the surface with their mouths open and see the fish scrambling to try to get away...and then the whale closed it’s mouth and went back under! There were schools of seals...probably more than 50 in each one...and in the air, Gannetts flew overhead...the ocean’s waves were crashing up on the rocks just in front of truly was spectacular! We were there for at least an hour and a half and there was whale after whale feeding and jumping and rolling over...I think there may have been 3 different kinds...minke, humpback and maybe another we're not too sure...and there easily could have been more, we just couldn’t keep track anymore. We took lots of pictures, but the action happens so quickly that you just want to stand back and watch it all unfold. We could see the water begin to move and then we saw the fish literally jump out of the water to try to get away from the whales, then we saw the humpbacks jump out of the water and open their mouths to eat the fish!

We headed back up to the Inn and it was time to leave. We said our good-byes to our new friends and made our way down to the dock.

We had a quick ride back down the island. When we came around the point of the island, there was a whale that we surprised and he had come up for air as we passed. At first it was just Eric and I in the boat, and then we picked up some extra passengers who had walked the whole length of the island.

We were dropped off at the wharf. We then headed to our b&b (Hillsview) in Gunner’s Cove. We passed it by accident, so we kept going to the next town (I was hoping to find a little road that headed out to the coast so that we could try to see the icebergs in town). We weren’t successful, so we headed back to the b&b. We checked in and then downloaded all our pictures onto our computer (we ran out of room on one of our cameras!).

We then went back to the Norseman for dinner...I again had the was delicious...again! Eric had a steak which was also good. He had a chocolate terrine served with bake apples and I had the partridge berry pie! We arrived back at the b&b at 10pm, hoping for an early night...but I started writing and Eric was reading...he’s been asleep for an hour or so he’ll be driving the first leg of our long day of driving tomorrow.

We’ll be driving to Roddickton to drop off some gifts to my friend Ruthie’s parents. We tried to call Ruthie’s parents to let them know that we’re planning to arrive tomorrow at around 10am, but my cell phone doesn’t work out here...hopefully by the time we reach St-Anthony tomorrow I’ll be able to call to let them know when we’ll arrive. After Roddickton, we’ll head to Twillingate where we’ll be for two nights...what a luxury! I’m off now to see what I can plan for us while we’re in the Twillingate area. Then I’ll be off to bed myself.

Moose Count – 0

The Chasing Moose Tour - Day 3

We left Rocky Harbour at 7:30am. The drive to L’Anse-aux-Meadows was nice, it was another foggy and rainy day, but the landscape is beautiful and the drive along the coast is breathtaking. There are many small villages along the way and I wanted to stop in each one! We saw quite a few men fishing by the side of the road wherever there was a brook...I have to find out the definition of a brook. I always thought it was a small river...the brooks here are huge!

We arrived in the l’Anse-aux-Meadows area around 11:30am and we were both really hungry. We decided to eat at a restaurant called “The Norseman”, we had read some reviews about the restaurant and we were not disappointed! The food was amazing! I had pan fried cod and Eric ate a caribou burger. Both were delicious! The plates looked so nice I wanted to take a picture, but I was too shy.

After lunch we went to l’Anse-aux-Meadows. It is really a beautiful sight. You can see that great care was taken to decorate the site as it would have been. We walked around the four buildings, and then we walked on a path that took us up hills and around rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean. It was beyond beautiful. It was a grey, rainy, foggy day, but it didn’t matter.

We then went over to Norstead, a Viking village, where there was a festival going on. We toured the site, and talked to all of the “characters” at the village. While we were watching the ladies use a loom and knit, we decided to buy Eric a hat that was made on site by them. While he went back to the car, I stayed talking to the ladies, I had just started to talk to them about the surprise I had planned for him later when he came back and the ladies were making all kinds of noise (they didn’t realize that it was supposed to be a surprise), saying "Oh that's nice...oh you'll like that!". Eric was confused, and I told him that he had to go back outside so that I could finish telling my story. So by this point, he knew something was up. I asked him if he wanted to know what the surprise was, and he said no, so we finished our tour and it was almost time for us to catch the boat over to the surprise location. We got in the car and I drove to the little town of Quirpon (the people here pronounce it "Carpoon"), I told him that there were supposed to be some Icebergs there and I was hoping to catch a glimpse.

We drove down to the dock and when we saw the sign for the Quirpon Lighthouse Inn, I said here’s your surprise. At first, he thought that we were we were just going on a boat tour, so he was a little confused when I told him that we had to bring our back packs on the boat, I then explained that we would be staying at Quirpon for the night, and he was rather surprised afterall! We got our things together and waited for the boat to arrive to pick us and the other guests up. There was a couple from Germany, and a Mom with her daughter and her grandson from Pennsylvania and us. The waters were pretty rough and it took us almost an hour to get to the other side of the 6km island. We saw 2 icebergs on the way – they were pretty far in the distance, but they were icebergs! Eric enjoyed the boat ride and he spent most of the time talking to a local celebrity, Earl Pilgram, an author. He was standing on the edge of the little boat, with the spray splashing in his face...and he loved every minute. The fog was so thick that when we arrived, we could not even see the lighthouse! As we stepped off the boat, the inn keeper said to us “now just walk on up to the house beside the lighthouse”. We began walking on the path, but we couldn’t see the lighthouse, and we weren’t too sure about the path...but eventually the lighthouse came into view and we arrived at the house.

The lighthouse is on top of the hill on the right...what? can't you see it?!

Oh! There it is!

We were welcomed in by Madonna, she told us where we could find our room, and we headed up to find a cozy little room. It was perfect! It really felt like we were staying at a friend’s house! I had a little nap before dinner. We headed down to dinner at 6:30pm where our group was joined by a couple, who had been at the island for 2 days and had 2 days left before they were off on their tour of Newfoundland, Labrador (1 night) and then on to Nova Scotia. We ate Jiggs Dinner for supper (salt beef, peas pudding, dumplings with molasses (YUMMY) potatoes, turnip and carrots) – it was delicious!! With lemon pie for dessert...the pie crust that we have had in Newfoundland is quite different than any other that we've tried, it's not flaky, it has a cake-y texture. After dinner we joined the other guests in the living room to chat, then Eric and I went for a walk – since we were leaving in the morning I wanted to get the most out of our time on the island. We walked only so far because it was starting to get dark out, and it was so foggy that we couldn’t see anything. I was pretty disappointed about the weather – I realize that there’s nothing I could do about it, but since we were only going to be there for one night and the weather really wasn’t cooperating...I wanted it to be rainy...because at least then we would have been able to see the ocean...with the fog...we knew the ocean was there, but we couldn’t see it.

We headed back in to the Inn, where we had a glass of wine with the other guests before they all headed up to bed. We stayed up a little later and chatted, and had a little more wine. We asked Madonna if it would be possible for us to stay on the island until the afternoon, because we knew that there was a boat of people coming back to the island that night, she told us that it wouldn’t be a problem, we could stay on the island until 5pm. We were thrilled, I set the alarm for very early because I wanted to go for a walk and maybe watch the sunrise if the weather was going to cooperate.

Moose Count – 0