Nova Scotia is deservedly famous for its Indian Summer. Changing leaves turn the broadleaved forests and heathlands into spectacular oceans of yellow, orange and red each Fall season. Below is a selection of pictures taken around Halifax and the Eastern Shore on Weekend and Day trips this October:
There were surprisingly numerous opportunities to visit a variety of Canadian regions already in our first Summer in Halifax. The first opportunity was my dad’s visit in June, when we went for a weekend canoeing/kayaking trip in Kejimkujik Nationalpark, a magnificently beautiful lake area in Nova Scotia with turtles, forests and incredibly quiet and pretty lakes…
Canoeing in Kejimkujik National Park (Nova Scotia)
After our return from Keji, we took a rental car up to Cape Breton, a big peninsula in the North of Nova Scotia. From its capital town Sydney, we switched our mode of transportation to bicycles: I used my new Surly Troll, which I had purchased a few months previously and my dad used a rental bike. Ahead of us lay about 400 km along the famous Cabot Trail – my first multi-day cycling tour since my arrival in Hanoi over a year before!
430 km in five days around the Cabot Trail (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia)
The pictures above might give the impression that we had mixed weather, but really most of the time the weather was just plain horrible: gray, rainy and cool. We did have one real day of sunshine in the end and two very beautiful sunsets, where the clouds subsided just in time for the sun to touch the horizon over the Atlantic Ocean. And even in bad weather there was some pretty good wild camping on beaches, Minke Whales, remote roads and beautiful scenery which must be magnificent in good weather.
In late June, I went on another two weeks of vacation. This time on foot and with Tatjana. We took a flight to Calgary from where we bussed and hitchhiked into the Canadian Rocky Mountains in and around Banff National Park. Along the worldclass mountain, lake and glacier scenery of the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper, hitchhiking was not exactly fast and easy, with hundreds of tourist cars and caravans passing by before a Chinese family stopped and took us to the trailhead of the Brazeau Loop.
Four days of hiking around the Brazeau Loop (Southern Jasper NP, Alberta)
For four days we followed the 80km Brazeau Trail through the wilderness of southern Jasper National Park, encountering but one group of two people on the second and third days combined, when we were over a day’s hike from the next road. After three hot and sunny days, the weather turned on the morning of the fourth day, and we struggled back over the pass towards the highway in strong wind, rain and distant thunderstrikes.
Two cheerful young women from Calgary took us back to the village of Lake Louise, where we ate pizza and renewed our supplies for our second tour. The next morning, some relatively swift hitchhiking brought us to Kootenay National Park, where we started out on the Rockwall Trail, a four-day hike along a roughly 30km long, almost uninterrupted limestone wall, with one of Canada’s highest waterfalls on one end, and one of its most beautiful alpine lakes on the other end.
The Rockwall (Kootenay NP, British Columbia)
After reaching the end of the Rockwall at Floe Lake and descending down to the floor of the Kootenay valley, we decided to add an extra two days of hiking to cross the Ball Pass into Banff National Park and reach back to the Icefields Parkway. These final two days of hiking took us through an area affected by a big forest fire several years ago, another high pass and a beautiful wild, forested valley in Banff National Park.
Into Banff National Park (Alberta)
A short lift brought us back to Banff, where we camped on one of the huge tourist campgrounds and feasted on some blueberries, yoghurt and beer. The next morning we took the bus back to Calgary.
A day in Calgary (Alberta)
Yet another opportunity to explore parts of Canada presented itself later this summer. After a sampling expedition on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, I spent a few days with an old friend who coincidentally had just arrived in Vancouver to do his Master’s thesis at the University of British Columbia. We went on a two-day hike at Indian Arm Provincial Park, which was a forested area inbetween two fjords – close to the city but perfectly beautiful and quiet. We hiked through the amazingly green and moist jungle, which is the coastal rainforest of British Columbia, camped high above the Indian Arm with a view on the big city near the horizon and climbed up a small, overgrown path from sealevel to a peak of 1,250m altitude.
Hiking at Indian Arm (close to Vancouver, British Columbia)
We arrived in Halifax on a warm summer evening, with a lot of luggage and the not-so-smart idea of taking the bus to carry it to our appartment (which we were to see for the first time). Had we designed this trip from the airport as a deliberate test of the helpfulness of Canadians, they would have passed it with bravery. Without the help of three bus drivers, who allowed us to occupy nearly half the space in their vehicle with our 2 small, 4 big and 1 very big pieces of luggage, and even more notably a young local woman, who happened to travel in our direction and helped us not only to find our way through the unfamiliar bus system but also to haul all our stuff from bus to bus, our first evening in Halifax could have well ended up in a small drama.
But fortunately it didn’t. Also our appartment, which we had rented over the internet and not even seen on photos prior to arrival, turned out to be fantastic. So we spent a couple of days to hunt down the thrift shops, supermarkets and furniture stores of Halifax to buy furniture and household stuff for our appartment. Then, only five days after our arrival, our times as PhD students officially started. This is not the place to go into detail about our research and coursework, so I’ll let pictures tell the story of our free time during our first two months in Halifax:
Arrival in Halifax and our first night in the empty appartment.
Indian Summer in Nova Scotia
Elena from imagineth.wordpress.com just published an interview with me on her blog. Check it out at https://imagineth.wordpress.com/portfolio/globetrotters-sebastian-germany/.
Some cool questions in there!
Encountering enormous hospitality and meeting heaps of great people on my way through Asia I had always felt quite sorry that I could not in turn invite them to my home in XY, because where XY would be in the near future after my trip was undetermined until recently. Therefore, I am especially happy that – finally – I have found a job (of sorts) and with it a new home for the next years: from September this year, I will start a PhD program (Oceanography) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
This blog post ought to say how excited I would be to receive my great hosts from all over eastern Europe and Asia as guests in my new home and the same of course goes for my dear fellow transasian (bicycle) travelers whom I met on the road. Please make sure to contact me if in the next years you have any intentions to visit Nova Scotia – would be too cool to have you there!
Tomorrow we are headed to Quito! If you are also interested in reading about our South American adventures, please check out the separate little blog we created for this purpose:
Es war sehr ruhig um mich in den vergangenen vier Monaten seit meiner Rückkehr aus Vietnam. Doch mittlerweile bin ich auf meiner Suche nach einer Doktorandenstelle an einem Punkt, an dem zwar noch nicht klar ist, wohin es mich und Tati ab dem kommenden Herbst verschlagen wird, aber der größte Bewerbungsaufwand hinter mir liegt. Und das ist genau der Punkt, an dem es noch einmal auf Reisen gehen soll!
Diesmal mit Freundin, Rucksack und Wanderstiefeln anstelle von Fahrrad, Packtaschen und Fahrradhelm.
Südamerika statt Asien. Anden statt Himalaya.
Der Hinflug ist gebucht: Am 26. März fliegen wir nach Quito und wollen von dort richtung Süden durch die Berge und Regenwälder Ecuadors und Perus reisen. Für uns Beide ist es das erste Mal Südamerika. Es war mir wichtig, dass es nicht wieder nach Asien geht. Nicht, dass es mich nicht mehr gereizt hätte – es ist einfach ein unglaublicher Kontinent mit seiner kulturellen und landschaftlichen Vielfalt. Außerdem kenne ich mich aus in weiten Teilen Asiens, habe eine Idee von Mentalitäten und eine gute Einschätzung für die Sicherheitslage.
Doch in dem Moment, in dem ich mich bei eben letzterem Gedanken ertappte, wusste ich, dass eine erneute Reise in den fernen Osten die falsche Wahl gewesen wäre. Denn tiefgründiges Reisen setzt für mich das Verlassen meiner Komfortzone voraus.
Südamerika reizt mich schon lange und auch Tati hatte Lust auf diesen fernen Kontinent mit dem zweithöchsten Gebirge und dem größten Regenwald der Erde. Wir haben für etwa zweieinhalb Monate Zeit (und Geld), wollen viel wandern und vielleicht etwas WWOOFen. Ich persönlich bin gespannt, wie gut man auch ohne Fahrrad ein fremdes Land jenseits seiner Postkartenmotive und Touristenfallen erkunden und kennenlernen kann.
I realize, It has been quiet around me during the past four months since my return from Vietnam. But by now in my search for a PhD position, I have come to a point at which – while it’s still not sure where Tati and I will end up this Fall – the bulk of the application efforts lies behind me. And this is the point at which I am going to hit the road one more time!
This time with girlfriend, backpack and hiking boots instead of bicycle, panniers and helmet.
South America instead of Asia. Andes instead of Himalayas.
The outbound flight is booked: on March 26th we’ll fly to Quito and from there we plan to travel down South through the mountains and rainforests of Ecuador and Peru. It’s going to be the first time in South America for both of us. To me personally it was quite important to travel to a destination outside Asia this time. Not that the continent has lost its appeal to me – by no means! Asia is a fascinating continent with its cultural and scenic variety. Besides I’m familiar with it, have a good idea of its people’s mindset and know how to assess security issues.
However, right when I caught myself with that latter thought, I knew that it would be the wrong choice to travel to the far east again. Im my view, leaving behind the comfort zone is vital for a profound journey, after all.
South America has appealed to me for a long time and Tati as well feels like exploring that continent with the world’s second largest mountain range and the largest rainforest area. We have time (and money) for about two and a half months and plan to hike and WWOOF a lot. I’m looking forward to see, how well we manage to explore these countries beyond the tourist trails without being on bycicles.