Monday, August 28, 2017

Canada trip - what I learned

Acadian flag
It's been two weeks since my trip to Nova Scotia and I've hardly had a chance to blog since returning thanks to my 2-week French intensive class which started right when I got back, and other things.

So now that I have a moment, here are some things I got out of my second foray into Canada:

  • I drove 400 miles around Nova Scotia and I literally did not see a single police car. 
  • The roads in Nova Scotia are scary - they only have highways into and out of big cities like Halifax. Everywhere else it's two lane roads, which is a nightmare if you don't want to drive much over the speed limit and there is no-passing. Those Canadian drivers will drive right up your ass, well above the speed limit including at night in dense fog. Which I unfortunately did drive in. I assume this speed-limit scofflaw situation is associated somehow with the scarcity of state troopers (or I guess province troopers.)
  • Nova Scotia is not really Frenchy except for the south-west section I drove through where I saw many homes flying the Acadian flag.   
  • Nova Scotia wine is ah-maze-ing. More about that in the next blog post. 
  • Thank god for funky college town coffee houses - in the US and Canada. Starbucks is OK, but college town coffee houses have a better vibe, are usually larger and much more relaxed. You can sit in a coffee house charging your cell phone for hours while drinking a single cup of cappuccino and the kids at the counter don't care the least little bit. The coffee houses I hung out in during my trip:

Coffee by Design on India Street  in Portland Maine - I hung out here while waiting several hours between my train from Boston and the ferry to Nova Scotia. They had tiny lil bagels but the prices were reasonable.

I neglected to take a photo so I used the one from their web site.

 Just Us Coffee in Wolfville Nova Scotia - I had breakfast here on Sunday before my drive from Wolfville to Halifax. The window looking out onto the street isn't actually a window, it's just a big opening. It looks like the coffee house was once a garage.

You have to walk through Just Us Coffee to get into the Acadia theater which of course is a great idea since theater-goers can get stuff before or after the show.

Just Us! Coffee House and Acadia theater from across the street.

Humanit-T in Downtown Halifax - may be the greatest coffee house I've ever charged my cellphone in. Just look at this - it has all the best things about a college town coffee house but takes it to the next level.

It has the standard painting by a local but it's actually a pretty good painting. It has a comfy canapé sofa with throw pillow and serviceable coffee table in front - beat up so that if you spill any coffee you don't feel guilty. And an outlet - right there above the sofa.

This is the perfect coffee house set-up especially for a traveller. I was there on a Sunday afternoon while it rained for a couple of hours and although it was somewhat busy I always had a place to sit - this spot opened up during hour two and I was ecstatic. It's the little things when you've driven 200 miles in the last 24 hours on crazy scary Nova Scotia roads.

Humani-T in downtown Halifax -  center of the college town coffee house universe

The exterior of the mighty Humani-T Cafe.

The Works, Portland Maine - I wasn't here very long, it was a quick stop between the Portland ferry and the bus station on my way home - yes I had to take a bus instead of a train between Portland and Boston. But I got to spend a little time in this cozy spot so they fully deserve to be on this list. Much better than being forced to hang out in a Dunkin' Donuts across the street.