Saturday 1st October, 2016
Sunday 2nd October, 2016
Monday 3rd October, 2016
Tuesday 4th October, 2016
Wednesday 5th October, 2016
Thursday 6th October, 2016

Saturday 1st October, 2016

PEI Bus photograph
Maritime Bus to Prince Edward Island

Drop Cap p at 0515 this morning, dressed and smartly out to have breakfast in a 24hour McDonalds just around the corner. OJ, coffee and a sausage and egg McMuffin - very healthy!

Anyway, we cabbed to the Bus Station where we eventually boarded the coach to Amherst. We stopped to pick up at Halifax Airport (an hour away by coach!) and at Truro, reaching Amherst by about 1015. We changed to another coach for Charlottetown and drove off, through cosy domestic farmland and across the very impressive fifteen kilometre long Confederation Bridge from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island, arriving at the Charlottetown Bus Station at 1230.

Geoff's Room HH photograph
Geoff's Attic Room in Harbour House Inn

Drop Cap e got a cab to the Harbour House Inn B and B where we expected a 1500 checkin but found that Geoff's room at least was ready and ours would be another fifteen minutes. Since it was lunch time and breakfast seemed a long time ago we left our things in Geoff's room and walked out to find something to eat. In the middle of the Downtown area we found a Subway so had a relatively healthy sub.

Province House photograph

Province House Charlottetown

Charlottetown tree photograph

Drop Cap e walked around, exploring and checking out restaurants for dinner, seemed quite well equipped that way. We passed the theatre, library, craft shops and Province House , the site of the Charlottetown Conference of 1864 which led to the Confederation of Canada. The area was very picturesque, lovely old painted wood houses and one or two colourful trees. By this time my feet were getting tired and I was feeling the early start so we headed back to the Inn.

Charlottetown Old Houses photograph

Old Houses in Charlottetown

Charlottetown Old Houses photograph

More Charlottetown Architecture

Our Room HH Inn photograph

Our Room in Harbour House Inn

Our Room in HH Inn photograph
Our Room in Harbour House Inn

Drop Cap arbour House Inn B and B is an old timber house with many floors and rooms and doors leading everywhere. Geoff's room is on the fourth floor, ours is on the second. Ours has a kitchenette, complete with microwave, fridge/freezer, coffee maker, hotplates and all the kitchen equipment. It has a king bed, a bath with shower over, and lots of storage space. Geoff's has sloping ceilings (must be an attic) a queensize bed, WiFi and a shower room. All good. The house has sunrooms, and little decks and lots of sitting areas with armchairs and bookshelves. Very pleasant.

Drop Cap fter a rest we dressed and went out to dinner at a very small and limited Vietnamese place up the road. Very nice and not our usual stuff. When we came home we watched Hot Fuzz, a quite mad movie on our DVD player. A bit of fun. My pedometer showed over seven kilometres today.

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Sunday 2nd October, 2016

Harbour House Inn  photograph
Harbour House Inn

Drop Cap free day today which dawned grey and unpromising but cleared late in the day to lovely sunshine.

After our good breakfast we headed out and down to the Waterfront. The way is lined with beautiful old shingled wooden houses, with gables and funny corners, some with pillars and turrets.

Charlottetown Old Houses photograph

Contrasting Charlottetown

Great George Hotel photograph
Great George Hotel, Charlottetown

Drop Cap e strolled along the boardwalk along the harbour wall, through parks and gardens and wharves. The heritage buildings were well worth a look, one is a hotel which encompasses a whole terrace of timber houses, all painted different pastel colours.

Peake's Wharf photograph
Peake's Wharf Tourist Precinct

Drop Cap e arrived at Peake's Wharf, the major tourist area, full of souvenir shops, lobster restaurants and general tat. Didn't stop us buying some, though. One of the more classy of the shops was Amos Pewter, with some lovely pieces. Geoff bought a letter opener and cuff links.

Geoff and a Local photograph
Geoff Meets a Local at the Wharf

Drop Cap e found lots of activity in the area, a large setup for a fun run for breast cancer and a farmers' market style of thing (Country to City Day or something) which closed several blocks of the main road. Lots of produce, craft and music, face painting and fun and games.

Drop Cap t lunch time we found a small café which caters to vegetarians as well as those who eat fish and chicken. A beef burger seemed to be the only choice for red meat eaters, so Geoff had that. Mac and I both had tomato,onion and cheese toasted paninis with potato bites, which were delicious.

Relaxing at HH photograph
Relaxing at Harbour House

Drop Cap e had decided on a veg-out afternoon (which we don't get enough of on holiday) so we picked up some donuts and brought them home for afternoon tea. I sat and read until my Kindle told me to charge it, then we sat out on a sunny patio (this house is full of sitting rooms, decks and patios, all with comfy chairs) and had drinks and donuts.

Charlottetown Convention Centre photograph
Charlottetown Convention Centre

Drop Cap hen Mac decided he wanted another walk. I went with him, Geoff stayed in. We wandered all over the "Downtown", back to the Waterfront from the other direction and home. On the way we passed the modern Convention Centre which is right on the Waterfront. Its wave shaped roofline fits well with the area. We found a large dock area with massive fenders which turned out to be where cruise liners dock, we saw one the following day.

Date Sign photograph
Just in case you Forget

Drop Cap or some esoteric reason the city fathers have placed a large date sign on the foreshore. It says 2016 so either they change it on New Years Eve or it has only been there this year. Who knows?

Charlottetown Gaslight photograph
Charlottetown Gas Lighting

Drop Cap t was getting dusk by the time we got back and very evocative gaslamps were lit beside the old houses.

My pedometer says 12,119 steps today, 7.27 kilometres. And we hadn't finished yet.

Drop Cap e had dinner at a local lobster and steak bar and grill. I had seared scallops with a creamy risotto and tomatoes, Mac had a huge pork chop and Geoff had lobster "lollipops" (on sticks) and lobster poutine, their version of Canada's national dish. Poutine in its basic form is a large bowl of chips, covered in gravy and topped with melted cheese. We have seen it with pulled pork and beef but this one had lobster. Considering it was supposed to be a starter, it was a very filling meal. We all had pints of cider as well.

Tomorrow is our island tour of Anne of Green Gables sites. Hope it stays fine!

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Monday 3rd October, 2016

Beaconsfield House photograph
Beaconsfield House

Drop Cap oday was our Anne of Green Gables day, which was basically what brought us (all right, me)to PEI. We had booked a 5 hour tour with a private car and driver from Duncan's Island Tours and sure enough at 0950 up rolled Duncan himself.

Government House Charlottetown photograph
Government House Charlottetown

Drop Cap irst though, Mac and I walked out to Victoria Park, just up the road, passing some more of the wonderful old island houses, including the yellow ochre painted Beaconsfield House, where the Peake family lived (the ones who owned the Wharf we explored yesterday) and the beautiful white Palladian style Government House, where the Lt. Governor still lives today.

Tour Bus photograph
Tour Bus PEI Style

Drop Cap here was a bitter cold wind blowing strongly today, with scuds of rain and I was disappointed again, but, like yesterday, the day cleared to mainly sunny but still with a high cold wind.

Montgomery Birthplace photograph
Birthplace of L.M. Montgomery

Drop Cap nyway, Duncan arrived on time in a lovely new Honda Odyssey, plenty of room and all sorts of bells and whistles, including self-closing doors and rear vision camera. He took us around the historic areas we had walked yesterday and then through what might be called Greater Charlottetown, the area full of malls and fast food joints, just like Penrith.

Soon, though, we were out in the country heading for the first "Anne" sight, the house where author L.M Montgomery was born in the 1870's. It is in New London, a tiny house on a street that doesn't seem to have changed much since. We had a look at the museum inside, then continued on our way.

Silver Bush photograph

Silver Bush Homestead

By the lake photograph
Shivering beside the Lake of Shining Waters

Drop Cap ur next stop was at "Silver Bush", a house mentioned in some of the novels, which belonged to Lucy Maud's aunt and uncle and where she was married in 1911. It is a much more commodious farm house with grounds leading down to the water thought to be the inspiration for the "Lake of Shining Waters" in the books. It was not very shining today, a grey sky and wind chopping up the surface. It was interesting to see, though.

French River photograph
French River Fishing Village

Drop Cap ollowing this we were taken to some lovely photo op stops of local scenery which were very pretty, not dramatic but cosy, before heading to New Glasgow (nothing like Old Glasgow!) and its restaurant in a fruit preserving company. We had a good lunch here, whisked past the busloads of tourists from a Holland America ship in port by Duncan, a friend of the management, who had reserved us a table.

French River photograph
French River Across the Water

Drop Cap eoff had a fishy meal of chowder and a fishbake topped with potatoes. Mac had a potato pie (a pie filled with potato!) and I had fishcakes (more potato than fish, I think) but with a nice salad. We both finished with a delectable strawberry and rhubarb pie with ice cream. Yum!

Green Gables photograph
Green Gables Farmhouse

Drop Cap hen, the main site of the day - Green Gables Farm House. The house was owned by relatives of Lucy Maud and she used to visit often, walking through the iconic woods from her grandparents' house. It was bought and decorated by Parks Canada as the area is a National Park, and has been made to look as much like the house described in the books as possible.

Anne's Room photograph
Anne's Room at Green Gables

Drop Cap nne's room is just like it is described, except there is no cherry tree outside the window. They even have the brown dress with puffed sleeves that Matthew gave Anne for Christmas because Marilla's ideas were so utilitarian.

Green Gables Barn photograph
Duncan Awaits Us in Matthew's Barn

Drop Cap e saw all over the house, which was quite a decent size, although the rooms were fairly small, and the big barn which was Matthew's domain, full of old farm equipment, then went for a walk down "Lovers Lane", which was lovely. We even saw a squirrel.

Woods near Green Gables photograph

Woodland Walk near Green Gables

Lovers Lane photograph
"Lovers Lane" near Green Gables

Drop Cap he whole precinct is an artificial locality because, after all, the books are fiction! But the houses are the correct period and in generally the right area and all have a connection with the author. The woodland walks around the house are pretty, but I felt slightly disappointed that the woods were not more extensive. Still, Lovers Lane was a pretty walk.

Cavendish Cliffs  photograph

Eroding Cliffs of Cavendish

On the Beach PEI photograph
Enjoying the Beach at Cavendish

Drop Cap uncan extended his time for us and took us to the seafront cliffs of Cavendish, which are eroding worryingly, half a metre a year, apparently. The cliffs are the characteristic red colour of most of the earth of PEI, looked almost like Central Australia (except for the sea!) The sea was very rough, Duncan said he had not seen it so rough for a while. It made for more interesting photos, though.

Lighthouse PEI photograph
Lighthouse and Acadian Hut near Rustico

Drop Cap hen through the lobster fishing villages of Rustico, an Acadian area of the original French settlers. There were cute lighthouses, none of which seemed very high as lighthouses go, probably because PEI is very low lying.

Drop Cap n the way back to the hotel, Duncan took us to the lovely Government House we saw this morning and drove in and around the house! He says it is permitted. It is great that the public is encouraged to visit the house, like Government House in Sydney.

Drop Cap ll in all it was a great day, the scenery was lovely, Duncan very knowledgeable, and to top it off, he told us about the fortune made by an entrepreneur who started to farm foxes for the fur trade (a trade which of course died a death in the 50's). He told us that the farm foxes were later returned to the wild and have gone forth and multiplied. We were parked outside the hotel here at the end of the day and a silver fox casually walked out of a front yard and nonchalantly across the road. It was amazing! "Told you so" said Duncan.

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Tuesday 4th October, 2016

Drop Cap e got up and packed up and after breakfast strolled up the street to try to find something for a takeaway lunch. We bought bagels filled with meat and very little salad (didn't want a mess) then went back to the Harbour House and checked out. They said they would store the bags until midday for us so we walked out to show Geoff Victoria Park and Government House. It is a lovely day again after yesterday's sharp wind, although the breeze is still cold, it is just a breeze.

Harbour House Inn photograph
Farewell to Harbour House

Drop Cap t 1145 we went back to the HH and the girl called us a cab to the bus station. This only took ten minutes, and as the bus didn't leave until 1250 we had plenty of time to eat our bagels, very nice too.

Drop Cap hen we changed buses at Amherst to head for Halifax the trip became really lovely. What a difference a few days makes! The woods were really showing colour after the disappointing trips so far. All the way, different shades of red, yellow, orange, it was really lovely. And Mac and I saw a deer grazing on the verge of the highway, as if Nature had decided to throw us a bonus!

Drop Cap ack to the Lord Nelson where we reclaimed our luggage and had a pleasant meal in their restaurant. So to a hopefully good night's sleep. Tomorrow our car comes at 0930.

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Wednesday 5th October, 2016

Drop Cap ur car picked us up on time as arranged and whisked us the fair distance to the airport for our 12 noon flight. On the way we could see that even after one day there was more colour to the trees. The driver says he notices it more as he is in and out of town about five times a day and it changes by the hour at this time of year.

Drop Cap nyway, we caught our flight - NOT getting our paid for exit row seats, but so called preference seats, the first row after business class. There was a bit more leg room but we have paid quite a premium for exit rows. I don't really know how they can sell something which doesn't exist!

Drop Cap he flight from Toronto however was in a smaller plane which was very full. We had the same seats and it was a five hour elapsed time flight, where if you wanted food you had to pay for it, like on Jetstar at home. They would not take the Cash Passport or cash (only a credit card will do apparently). We were a bit worried about something to feed Geoff, although we did have quite a substantial lunch at the airport. Then the stewardess told us that one seat of ours was entitled to prepaid food service so we got Geoff a chicken wrap and diet coke and us some nuts and coke. Don't quite know who arranged it.

Drop Cap e were really annoyed on this flight as they loaded the plane from the rear and we were among the last to be boarded. This meant that all the overhead locker space was full. The size and number of carryon bags used by Americans and Canadians is ridiculous and should be checked more rigorously at the gate. I can't believe they don't weigh more than seven kilos. And then there is another permitted bag as well. We had an APT carryon and my handbag and Geoff had his pack (half the size) and his camera bag. They wanted him to throw his camera bag with thousands of dollars worth of equipment halfway up the plane out of sight. No way! In the end all our bags went under the seats in front, so none of us had much legroom.

Sutton Place Hotel photograph
Sutton Place Hotel. Vancouver

Drop Cap nyway, back to Vancouver. We arrived at 1730 local time, more like 2100 by us, found an Aerocar for our voucher and whisked into the Sutton Place Hotel, very close to the Fairmont, so in familiar territory. They gave us a room on the 11th floor but Geoff is on the 14th. I can't understand why they can't book rooms together when you pay in advance six months earlier. It was the same in Halifax. You have a reservation, but when you actually arrive they scrabble about looking for a place to put you. Couldn't put Geoff on the same floor as us "because we are very full"!

Drop Cap e had a meal at the Italian restaurant around the corner from the Fairmont where we ate on our first night in Canada, seems a long time ago. A huge meal, we couldn't eat all of it, we are very tired.

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Thursday 6th October, 2016

Drop Cap grey day dawned, but we proceeded to our excellent breakfast in the hotel restaurant. My strawberry yoghurt granola was huge and absolutely delicious. This hotel has bathroom scales (the bastards) so Mac and I weighed ourselves. I have gained six kilos, up to 69k, not really surprising, it has been a very self-indulgent month.

Autumn in Vancouver photograph
Autumn in Robson Street, Vancouver

Drop Cap nyway we had decided to try and walk a lot today, after yesterday's eight hour flight and a fourteen hour flight to come tonight. So after checking out and leaving the luggage in storage, we walked out and down Robson Street in the direction of Stanley Park. Robson Street was quite a revelation, a busy Chinatown sort of place but with beautiful autumn trees lining this city street.

Lost Lagoon Vancouver photograph
The Lost Lagoon, Stanley Park

Drop Cap tanley Park is the green heart of Vancouver, second only to Central Park in NY in size and is quite lovely. It is a peninsula, jutting out into Burrard Inlet and is a heavily wooded park with bike and foot trails. It was about two kilometres walk just to get there. The first sight of the park was the Lost Lagoon, a very picturesque stretch of water with a fountain in the middle which is currently under renovation so is not founting.

Halloween at the Grill photograph
Halloween Decorations at the Grill

Drop Cap fter the walk we thought we should find somewhere to get something to eat. So we were looking at a plan of the park which didn't seem to have any eating places marked when a pleasant young man asked if we were looking for anything in particular. We said, somewhere to eat, and he said he worked for Stanley Bar and Grill, just follow him. Since he was running late we didn't follow him but he gave us directions and we eventually found it.

SP Autumn photograph

Autumn in Stanley Park

Drop Cap e decided that since we had had a somewhat late breakfast, we would have an early lunch then an early dinner before heading to the airport, so we had a good lunch in the Stanley Grill, a lovely rustic style space visited by squirrels and raccoons , with an open fire crackling merrily.

Seawall Stanley Park photograph

Mac and Geoff on the Seawall in Stanley Park

Autumn Colour photograph
Lovely Autumn Colour, Stanley Park

Drop Cap fter lunch we strolled all over the park. Many of the trees were in their autumn colours and made a very picturesque sight. I finally found the colour I had been anticipating from this trip and, although the weather was damp and cold we enjoyed the walk.

Girl in Wetsuit photograph
Girl in a Wetsuit Statue

Drop Cap e walked along the seawall nearly to the Lions Gate Bridge, then we turned back. There is a lot of activity on the harbour with large freighters and container ships going in both directions. We passed the statue of "The Girl in the Wetsuit" a statue in the style of Denmark's Little Mermaid, sitting on a rock.

Totems photograph

Totem Poles in Stanley Park

Drop Cap y this time we were getting so footsore that we decided to go for the hour long horse-drawn wagon ride around the park. So when we had reached the special site for the First Nations people, which contains many totem poles, mostly modern but a couple of older ones and all, of course, crafted by First Nation people, we enjoyed looking at the exhibits, then headed for the horses.

Wagon and Horses  photograph

Wagon and Horses, Stanley Park

Coach Tour Stanley Park Style photograph
Coach Touring, Stanley Park Style

Drop Cap his was quite a pleasant jaunt, behind two grey percheron draught horses, with a very well informed driver/guide giving us all the gen. Geoff and I actually saw a raccoon strolling down the path. Geoff managed a quick, slightly unfocussed shot, but how often do you see a raccoon.

Colour in Stanley Park photograph
More Colour in Stanley Park

Drop Cap fter this we continued along the seawall until we reached a small park at the entrance near the Lost Lagoon and, despite our heavy feet, continued up to the main city centre, or as they call it "Downtown", still decorated with trees in their autumn best.

Autumn Colour photograph

Autumn in Downtown Vancouver

Drop Cap t started to rain as we got back to Downtown and got steadily worse as the evening came on. Lots of firetrucks and ambulances sirening around.

After a stop for coffee at a large White Spot (a local chain, but very nice, another fire!) we finally achieved Burrard Street and the hotel. According to my pedometer we have done ten kilometres today! Should sleep on the flight, if possible.

We had a fairly light dinner of crepes at a local café, retrieved the bags and sat down to wait for our car. It was a good thing we were early because he arrived at 1930 instead of 2010, apparently there was traffic chaos in town and he thought he might have difficulty getting back to us. Funnily, it was the same driver as picked us up at the airport a month ago, and he remembered us!


Drop Cap o here we are at the airport waiting for the flight. Fourteen hours and we will be home. It has been a great trip, wonderful scenery and some very friendly people. I will never forget lovely Lake Louise, and the equally lovely Peyto Lake and the lakes near Banff. It was great pretending to be at home in some great hotels although I don't think I will ever be blase about staying in these luxurious and expensive places. That said, if I could afford it I would love to stay at Hotel St. Sulpice in Montreal again! We ate far too much good food but Weight Watchers is waiting!. The train trips were fabulous, especially the Rocky Mountaineer and the Prestige Class Canadian, which we would all like to do again, perhaps from Toronto to Vancouver this time. It has been a wonderful trip.

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