As we entered our last morning in Jasper we decided to leave the Bear Paw alone for today and instead went for a diner breakfast at Smitty's as we had no plans to stop on the drive south. After a quick lap around the town to stretch our legs, we headed off. As Jasper and Alberta shrunk in the rear-view mirror we crossed the border into British Colombia (where the signs have no French at all!) and followed the twisting mountain trails down to Kamloops. A 5 hour journey was forecast by the Sat-Nav although, slow moving vehicles, a toilet stop and road works pushed the timer closer to 6 by the time we parked up at the Alpine Motel. If we are being honest, having visited on our honeymoon, neither of us thought we would ever be back in Kamloops however, it served a purpose as a half way stop and our dinner and drinks at On the Rocks absolutely hit the spot!
After a quick breakfast at the Whitebark Cafe (note to self Katy - you intend to recreate their breakfast cups when you are home, this will jog your memory when you are rereading this post) we landed in the supermarket in Banff to stock up on the essentials for our night ahead. Tonights accommodation had no running water, electricity, plumbing and was miles away from anything so preplanning was very important. We quickly grabbed some pasta & sauce, some muffins for breakfast the next day and of course, the very essential, marshmallows for the inevitable campfire.
Next stop was Emerald Lake, somewhere high on Craig's list of places he wanted to see, and despite the dull and rainy weather it was still as beautiful. It is a stunning emerald green colour and truly lives up to it's name. We hiked round the lake on sadly what was a truly appalling path however the views more than made up for it (rain spots in lake).
A 3:15am alarm and after only 3 hours sleep we crawled into a taxi to Halifax airport for our flight to Calgary. Despite the super early start we were both extremely excited to return to, truly, one of our favourite cities. We both managed to grab a little shut eye on the plane although, unfortunately not seated together, Katy managed to fall asleep on the shoulder of the poor gentleman next to her - who thankfully took it very well (or was kind enough not to mention it)! We landed at 09:00, hopped on the express bus to downtown and, laden with our luggage, we headed off to a Starbucks to grab a coffee and try to keep us awake for the few hours until our Airbnb was ready. We followed our coffee with a Mexican salad lunch at Original Joe's (it tasted like a healthy taco), and took advantage of their Wine Wednesday discount (Katy) to while away the time until check-in. Once 3 o'clock FINALLY rolled round we headed to our Airbnb and it was definitely worth the wait as it was possibly the nicest of our accommodations so far!
We packed up the car one last time and set off on our last road trip in eastern Canada on Monday with an earlier start than anticipated (on account of the lack of alcohol in Baddeck) and we arrived in downtown Halifax for early afternoon (fondly bidding our Nissan goodbye). We checked into Dalhousie University and faced one of the first real hard moments of the adventure so far, we were in separate beds!
Following a long lie and a quick breakfast at our hotel we hopped back in the car, topped the tank up with more fuel and set off on our next leg of our journey. We didn't see much of Moncton but that had always been the plan as it used as somewhere to stop off between our tour of the Gaspé Peninsula and our tour of the Ceilidh & Cabot Trails.
This next part of our trip took us out of New Brunswick and into Nova Scotia and we could most definitely see the similarities between it and home, and not just because of some of the place names (and the reduction in French signs)!
It took us just over 4 hours to drive to Mabou with a quick stop off in New Glasgow at the lovely BaKED for some lunch. They used milk bottles as water jugs and jam jars as glasses so it was a very eco-friendly little spot, and the broccoli and potato soup was delicious! Although Craig did wonder that given the recent change of cannabis laws in Canada that potentially "BaKED" may have been a whole different type of cafe!
Leaving Montréal we had a 3.5 hour train journey to Quebec City and we both took the chance to try and brush up on our standard grade French (from over a decade ago). We arrived in to Quebec City to a far nicer 21C which we were extremely glad about as we had a pretty much vertical climb from the train station to the Hotel Terrasse-Dufferin, our home for the next 3 nights. Arriving 4 hours before check in we were glad to be able to leave our rucksacks and we set off exploring. We made our way along Terrasse-Dufferin and up the many, many stairs to the promenade around to the Plains of Abraham, the battlefield where the British defeated the French in 20 minutes in 1759 and captured Quebec City. We didn't spend too much time exploring as we were both in need of some food and getting a bit hangry so we headed off in search of somewhere with an English menu and settled on Cafe du Paris - we certainly felt like we had been transported to continental Europe, and the $5 mimosas were excellent!!