Irene and I got back home yesterday (Monday) somewhat before noon local time. The vacation was great and I enjoyed seeing Nova Scotia, but it is probably somewhat telling that both Irene and I slept for nearly 16 hours when we got home.
The main things I would change for next time would be to stay longer, and more importantly to stay longer in each hotel.
During our 11 day vacation I drove well over 2,000 kilometres and we stayed in eight different hotels. I found packing up every day to be tiring and stressful in itself. If I were to do the exact same trip over, I would probably try to reduce the hotel count by half. I’d split the area we want to see into “zones” and pick a hotel/B&B/resort such that everything you want to see is within a 200 km drive. Each lodging would be more of a home base for a duration.
That said, our trip gave a ton of memories, and that’s what counts. I have a huge log of photos I still have to upload, more or less the entire second half of our trip. Nova Scotia and PEI are definitely worth visiting. The land and the ocean are different, and there is a great amount of history there that I was only vaguely familiar with before. The time of year when we were there was close to ideal: the leaves were just starting to turn, most tourists were gone for the year, and the kids were back in school. And the way we saw it, although tiring, gave us a taste of many different communities and lodgings.
Must see things from our trip (aka things I’d like to see again/spend more time with):
- Lunenburg, the Maritime museum there, and the Bluenose II
- Halls Harbour + Bay of Fundy tides
- Annapolis Valley, and Annapolis Royal
- The Confederation Bridge
- Stanhope Resort, PEI
- Baddeck, and the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton
- Marine Drive
- The Citadel and Halifax in general
The area we had the least time for and I would have most liked to have had more: Cape Breton/Cabot Trail. We had one day in Baddeck, and basically missed the whole trail. I think at least three or four days based in Baddeck would have been wise.
The second area I most wished we had time for was Marine Drive- we drove along that route for about three hours before turning off/backtracking to the main highway. It probably needs closer to three days to complete this twisty and low-speed route from Cape Breton to Halifax without feeling rushed. I felt similarly rushed when we were in the Bay of Fundy region: we never actually saw the tide come in, which was disappointing.
One “funny” incident from the trip. During the last two days of our vacation my credit card was rejected. I’ve had this happen before with my CitiBank MasterCard- they monitor for “unusual” spending patterns, then block the card if such are detected. I tried calling their 7×24 customer service line on Sunday to get this corrected, and after entering my card number as greeted with a “our business hours are 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday” message. My reaction was less than pleasant since I was expecting 7×24 service: I called their ombudsman line and left a scathing message there. We received a return call yesterday while Irene and I were deep in our nap, and I was scathing once again to the customer service representative. They claimed my account was overdue, which is nonsense: I had paid it in full a few days before we left.
Well, I had paid *someone* in full a few days before we left. Actually, instead of CitiBank Mastercard, I had selected CitiFinancial Retail services from my online payee list. A year ago we had one of those “no interest for six month” things for our washer and dryer, and I had added that payee to my online banking list. In my pre-trip state, I had selected the wrong payee.
So now I get to navigate the murky waters of the banking community to try to get my several thousand dollars returned to me from one CitiCorp division so I can pay another CitiCorp arm. Hurray! I’m sure it will all work out, but something tells me it won’t be nice and simple.