Friday, November 11, 2016

Hopewell Rocks and Other Adventures

This Friday, Canada celebrated Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day, to the Americans) and the national holiday granted us lucky UPEI students an extra two days off. Four friends and I decided to take full advantage of this long weekend and planned a trip to Saint John, New Brunswick to see the incredible Bay of Fundy and some other awesome sights.

One of the perks of being from the US while in Canada is that my driver's license is still valid, making it possible for me to rent a car and see more of this awesome country. So I began the day by picking up our vehicle from the rental car place (well, it actually began 2 hours before that when I woke up at 6:00...stress from the election has completely thrown off my schedule so that I was in bed before 10:00 the night before, something anyone who knows me can assure you never, ever happens). From there, I went back to campus and met up with my friends and we set out on our journey.

The first adventure of the day arrived in the form of the Confederation Bridge, as I've posted about before, this is an 8 mile long bridge that connects PEI to mainland Canada. The privilege of using this bridge requires a toll payment of $46 (!!!) or you'll never get off the island. After that unexpected expense was taken care of, we started across the strait. Our last experience with the bridge had been less than fun (see Halifax Day Three) so we were all a bit nervous, but the wind stayed low and I set the cruise control and in no time at all, we were entering New Brunswick.

Some of our riveting car-ride antics
(Photo Cred: Asano Wakana)

From there, we drove on to Moncton, NB where we stopped for lunch. After deciding on pizza but no specific restaurant, we stumbled across Piatto's Pizzeria and Enoctea in downtown Moncton and decided to give it a shot. Fancy Italian places, with their unreadable menus, are always a little intimidating but the food turned out to be excellent. I even got adventurous with my pizza and ordered the Dolce e Fumosos topped with a mixture of unpronounceable cheeses, bacon, and a drizzle of honey, yummmm.

After lunch, we headed to Hopewell Rocks. It is located on the Bay of Fundy where you can walk the ocean floor and admire the amazing sedimentary rock cliffs that have been slowly eroded by the never-ending tides.

Me, adventuring out across the, increasingly muddy, ocean floor, sans shoes and socks 
(Photo Cred: Asano Wakana)

Hopewell Rocks is truly astounding

There are a lot of tourist options, such as kayaking and guided tours, that are offered at Hopewell during the summer season, but most of these are closed down by the end of October. We were a little worried this meant the entirety of Hopewell would be closed, but happily, people are still free to explore the area...they just do so at their own risk. After a couple anxious glances at each other, we climbed past the 'warning' signs and joined some other off-season tourists on the ocean floor. A couple fortuitous events coincided to make our time there awesome- the sprinkling rain that had been falling since morning subsided, and we arrived almost exactly at low tide. We walked in and around and up and down the ocean floor for over an hour, taking pictures, being silly, and standing in awe of the natural surroundings- from the smallest strand of seaweed to the tallest of the cliffs.

We were only brave enough to try this after watching
 a French-speaking dad and his son do it first

Feeling small in the face of nature
(Photo Cred: Christine Min)

The awesome group from Halifax, reunited!

With most of our daylight drained away with this long detour, we didn't arrive in Saint John until after nightfall. Before heading to our hotel, we stopped downtown at the combined restaurants of Lemongrass Thai and Peppers Pub (a really nice atmosphere and not at all as sketch as 'combo' makes it sound). I convinced our table to order an appetizer of crab cakes as I am determined to get out of my comfort zone with food this trip. They were delicious. We had them devoured in only a couple of minutes and I couldn't even discern an overly seafoody taste. For the main course, I ordered Thai Fried Rice (one of my favorite dishes) and was given a giant portion of delectable food. Luckily, our hotel room comes with a fridge so I will be dining on more than just the continental breakfast's paltry offerings tomorrow.

That's all for this first day in New Brunswick. I will do my best to get a new post up tomorrow, but we've got a full day planned so I might be too exhausted!

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