Breakfast was a rather strange affair. It was partaken of in a small room off the main part of the hotel, and purported to be a bistro open to the public serving Starbucks coffee. Hmmmm…..
One ordered one’s breakfast on a tickbox form. Eggs, bacon, sausage, etc, were all available in various guises, plus other bits and pieces, all inclusive for $8 each. Good value on the face of it, but it wasn’t particularly good quality. Still, it gave us a start to the day.
The idea was to walk to the tourist information centre at the other end of town, but it took us a while to get there. We got distracted……
Jean had suffered considerably from the insect bites yesterday, and we were running out of bite and sting cream. We popped into a pharmacy to attempt to rectify this. Mission accomplished.
At this point, I should mention that I had lost my specs aeons ago in Seattle, right at the start of this journey. Bear with me, dear reader, as this is relevant. Honest.
I’d been getting a bit concerned about this loss, as my usual contact lenses were beginning to run out earlier than expected. I need specs for distance, and there is still quite a bit of driving to do. Whilst in the pharmacy, there was a selection of reading glasses, no use to me, but it prompted us to ask if there was an optician nearby. As luck would have it, there was, so we went over the road to see if I could get some distance specs.
The optician was very helpful, but understandably needed my prescription. Believe it or not, I had brought this with me, but not on me. We dashed (or at least walked more rapidly than normal) back to the hotel to get the prescription and returned with alacrity to the optician.
My luck was in. She had the right lenses and there was a BOGOF offer on a second pair of specs. All I had to do was to select a couple of frames and wait about 20 minutes whilst they were prepared. Oh, and pay for them…..
Result. I now have two pairs of distance specs. I even got some additional sample contact lenses for free. A considerable relief, even if they were a bit expensive. Serves me right.
We then restarted our walk towards the tourist office, but saw this on the way.
It was also nice to see the Canadian, New Brunswickian and Acadian flag all at half-mast, presumably in recognition of the Queen’s passing.
Finally made it to the tourist office. We asked the elderly gentleman there what there was to do around here. Not a lot, was the response. He pointed out a few things on a map, but none of it of particular interest or inspiration.
He did, however, mention that quite a few tourists used Shediac as a base for touring Prince Edward Island. My interest sharpened at this point, as this was not on our official itinerary and I’d heard good things about it.
The upshot was that we returned to the hotel and prepared ourselves for a drive to the island – the smallest Canadian province. It was a longish journey – an hour and a half – to the capital, Charlottetown, but it took us over the Confederation Bridge, an engineering masterpiece. It takes fully 10 minutes to drive it.
Got to Charlottetown and managed to park within 100 yards of the tourist office. The lady therein was enormously helpful, so we departed on the official Heritage Walk.
This proved to be worthwhile. Charlottetown was the place where the initial Confederation of Canada was discussed and designed in 1864. The deed was done in 1867.
Quite a bit of Victorian Britain is in evidence around here, but unfortunately much of it was closed, as it was a Monday now out of season. Here are a few pics:
A most interesting and thoroughly worthwhile experience.
Time came, though, to find something to eat – we decided to stay in Charlottetown rather than return to Shediac as the hotel restaurant was closed. This proved harder than it should have been – places closed, too downtrodden or just pizza joints.
We eventually found Sims Steakhouse and Oyster Bar, where we settled down to a splendid meal. Jean had a seafood fettuccine which included mussels, which she’d not experienced before. I had a very nice piece of halibut, one of my faves. The pud was a disappointment – we shared a Pavlova, but the meringue was glued to the plate and a steak knife was needed to cut it. This was knocked off the final bill, and the service was excellent.
It was a long drive back to the hotel, and one has to pay a very hefty toll on leaving the island via the Confederation Bridge – $50.25!!
Rather stressful drive back as it was in the dark and Canadians seem to be rather lax at dipping headlights – but we made it.
Once again, we turned what might have been a boring day – Shediac is not an exciting place, and seems to live off its association with lobsters – into something much more interesting. Yes, the specs issue was interesting. It was.
Tomorrow, we head for Fox Harbour in Nova Scotia, but we have yet to decide whether to revisit Prince Edward Island on the way to see more of it, as it captured our imagination. If you can be bothered to read my next post, you’ll find out!
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