Home again…

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.

6 thoughts on “Home again…”

  1. Especially since you were mean to them… now they will consign you to customer service help line hell πŸ˜‰ The 24/7 service line that is just a recording of their business hours is funny though … πŸ™‚

    Much like you I found my time in the Maritimes was too much in one trip. We spent 11 nights (5 hotels) in the Maritimes, and did without a car for the first 2 days and still put 2300km on the odometer. I did manage to stay 2 nights in most places, but even so there was a lot of getting in late and leaving early.

    I didn’t get to see the Maritime drive at all. But we did stay in Baddeck 2 nights so one day we could drive the Cabot trail and the next see Louisbourg. If I were to do it again I would spend a night on the trail itself and stay in Sydney to see the rest of Cape Breton. Baddeck itself, once you’ve done the Bell Museum, is interesting mostly for it’s insignificance … the town ( village really )that time forgot πŸ˜€

    We only had one day to see Lunenberg, Mahone Bay etc. though with the Blunose in Boston when we were there that seemed sufficient.

    PEI other than the bridge and a nice restaurant left me unmoved though. We stayed in Charlottetown and while the Bed and Breakfast was nice enough – even if Billie woke me up because she thought it was haunted – the town itself was full of yahoo’s roaring around in pick up trucks and spitting on the sidewalk. In fact my general impression of PEI was what you would get it you took a 100 mile strip if central Alberta around Red Deer, ripped it up and dropped it in the St Lawrence. But to be fair, I was there for just over 24 hours, so maybe I got the province on a bad day :p

    Of course now the places I want to see more of if I go back are Cape Breton in the north, Yarmouth in the south, and St John NB / Bay of Fundy in the east, all miles apart from one another. Oh well, I have to survive Hong Kong and Philippines before I think of another trip.

    Glad you had a good time, it’s been too long since you actually went anywhere!

  2. Regarding the credit card payment SNAFU- apparently, their automated system is smart enough that, when you enter your credit card number, it checks your account for certain types of problems. If you are “payment overdue”, it redirects you to that group. Unfortunately, it doesn’t direct you to their 7×24 hour desk: to get to them, you have to hit “0” (zero) and go through their operator. I learned this during a nice chat with one of their customer service reps today. She told me she had complained several times regarding the problem with the automated redirection, and hoped that this time it might get fixed.

    I’ve since gone in person to a local CitiFinancial branch, which provided me with a number for CitiFinancial Retail Services. I then contacted CitiFinancial Retail, and they tell me that they will write a cheque to credit me what I paid… but can’t process that until October 12 (one month after the date I made the incorrect payment). Good fun all around, and a learning experience.

    On PEI we stayed at the Stanhope Bay Resort, which was quite nice. It is about 15 minutes outside of Charlottetown,: we drove in to the city and had a nice evening of walking around there. I wouldn’t have minded a whole day in Charlottetown, but then I didn’t see any of the spitting, pickup driving cowboy yahoos: they must bring that out just for visiting Albertans πŸ˜‰

    I’m glad we took the trip: it is a part of the country I’ve wanted to see for a long time, and having been there I now know I want to see more.

  3. Hey Kelly,

    I work for Nova Scotia Tourism in social media and just came across your blog. We love to hear from our visitors. Great tips you have for other visitors. There is quite a bit of this province to explore, lots that I haven’t explored myself yet even. The Bay of Fundy is one…and even when I think of exploring it I want to do it so I can spend long enough to see the tide come and take my daughter out to see look for fossils.

    Anyway, I hope you get to come back again some time. Thanks for sharing Nova Scotia with all your readers. If you would like…of course only if you would like, we’d love if you share some of your pics with us on our flickr channel http://www.flickr.com/novascotiatourism when you finally get them all uploaded. We’ve got some amazing shots in there from our visitors.



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