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Mexico/Belize Day 1 of 18

February 20, 2016

Departed Ottawa, Ontario Canada – 6 a.m.

Arrived at Cancun Airport, Mexico aboard Air Transat 

Bus from Airport to Puerto Morelos Seven Eleven (711)

Taxi to the hotel

Accommodation:  Hacienda Morelos

Well, we managed to squeeze everything into our bags last night after deleting a few items.  My bag was 22.2 lbs and Johnny’s 18 lbs.  Discovered at the last minute that in fact our bags were a couple of inches too long to meet Air Transat carry on requirements but we soldiered on.  Having checked in on-line we were able to go directly to the screening area so in facto no Air Transat employee even looked at our bags and we got on the plane with no issues.  Great flight, left a bit late but we still arrived early.

Stopped at the ADO bus counter and bought our tickets.  Buses are plentifuly and very economical in Mexico.  We bought tickets for Airport directly to Puerto Morelos.  Puerto Morelos toTulum.  Tulum to Chetumal and Chetumal to Cancun.  For the two of us it came to 1,348 pesos – which is about $100 Canadian.  Had we taken a cab or shuttle to Puerto Morelos alone it would have cost 30 to 50 $.  We had to take a cab to our Hotel but that was 25 pesos, less than $2.

Hotel Hacienda was the cheapest waterfront hotel we could find.  $152 CDn.  It’s a pretty basic hotel, but clean with a minor ‘smell of Mexico’ ….however, we are happy campers who know we don’t need the Ritz.  We were early for check in (by 3.5 hrs) and the only room available was on main floor.  I don’t usually like being on main floor because I like to keep my doors/windows open to hear the sound of the surf (the room is ocean front), but we took it simply to get our day started!  Great little terrace with a table and 4 chairs on it.  A gal from New York city on one side of us and a Norwegian couple on the other side.  Quite a coincidence really, we don’t see Norwegians much on our travel (Johnny is of course Norwegian).  We were surprised to find out that you can get direct flights from Oslo and Stavanger to Cancun.

We went for a walk, had lunch at  an ocean front restaurant then had a little nap!  After our nap we went for another walk exploring further afield.  Lots of great restaurants and little shops, Puerto Morelos is a really cute little beach community (I think there is a larger more local side to it, but we’re in the beach area).  The big national park beach is beautiful.  The perfect kind of sand for walking – harder and flat!  We had a nice walk then headed back to the hotel to change and find a place to eat.  We wandered through the town square and the street with most of the restaurants.  Lots of choices with sidewalk tables, music playing….it was definitely the Mexico vibe that works best for me.  Puerto Morelos is really just a seaport that has grown a bit have a nice little tourist industry. It’s like a mini Playa del Carmen or Old Puerto Vallarta.  I like it a lot!

We dined in a courtyard restaurant open air, surrounded by trees with a nice breeze flowing through….so darn romantic 🙂 !!  We ordered our meal and a nice bottle of wine then wandered back through the square to the hotel.  Day 1 was a success with transportation working, hotel acceptable (in a 3 star way :)…….Sunday, we hope to wake early, go for a long beach walk, have our breakfast (included in the $152) and then grab a taxi to the bus and then a bus to our next destination – Tulum, Mexico.  I couldn’t read the photos from my camera so am going to upload them later when my personal system administrator wakes up 🙂  That card has the beautiful beach photos!

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Winter Storm Warning

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4 more sleeps until the coveted winter vacation!  Today Mother Nature has warmed it up a bit while still delivering a blow!  By evening we are expected to receive 20 to 30 cm of snow.  The worst snow of the season.  This means one has to pull on the high waterproof boots to trudge through the snow.  As a person who has (in the past) shunned winter this is never a good thing.  This winter I have chosen to embrace the season.  I bought myself a warm Helly Hansen coat, even warmer Columbia boots and the greatest sheepskin hat & mitts a girl could want to own (purchased at a great little store called Quichua on Sparks Street – click here) .  Dressed to the insulated 9’s I strike out on a daily basis to do my daily errands.  Today amidst the the downfall I will hit the seamstress to get an article of clothing taken in before the Friday trip, stop by the Health Food Store to pick up some Bee Propolis to try to ward off the cold symptoms I arose with, pick up a few groceries and mail off a letter to the UK.  This ‘walking’ trip all possible because we had the good sense to move downtown in November…LOVE IT!  Photo below of Johnny and I dressed to the insulated 9’s (taken in December during our last big snow dump).

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Road Trip 2015 – South Shore Nova Scotia to Digby Ferry to Lubec, Maine. USA

Johnny and I set off in our car and Chloe & Kyle set off in theirs on our southshore trip from Halifax to White Point Beach Resort to spend our one night in a cabin on the ocean!  Enroute we stopped by Peggy’s Cove, parked our cars and wandered around marveling at the sea, the rocks, the lighthouse, the rolling fog in the distance, the quaint seaside Martime fisherman homes and all that is Peggy’s Cove.  We saw the nasty dark rocks from where more than one ill-fated tourist has been swept into the sea meeting their end.  A lovely place, although a bit busy with a steady stream of cars pouring down the one road that goes in and out.

We took the scenic route along the coast to White Point.  Our original plan had been to stop in Lunenburg for lunch, however, the day was passing all too quickly and we wanted to get to the beach.  We decided that we needed to come for another trip east to see Lunenburg and I’m sure we will!  We made a quick stop along the highway in Bridgewater for a great lunch in a little diner, then pushed on for White Point Resort!  At one point we registered and were given a map to find our little cabin!   Only a 1 bedroom Johnny & I got the bedroom & the kids slept on the sofa bed.  There was a bit of a berm between the cabin and the sea and once we ventured over it we were quite surprised to see a long sandy beach filled with people frolicking by the sea!  I had heard that it was a rocky beach and was not prepared to see such a beautiful beach.  Upon arrival it was time for a short cocktail (I admit, I got a bit anxious and huffy when I realized we had to drag our things quite a ways over terrain to get it to the cottage)…the cocktails certainly did defray that!  The kids had done a bit of research and new that in our short stay at White Point they wanted to paddle board and to surf.  So, before dinner they rented paddle boards on the inside lake (not the sea).  While they were paddle boarding Johnny and I went on a short 2 or 3 km hike through the grounds and the estates of White Point.  It’s a great place!  We had dinner reservations, ate a sumptuous meal and we were all beat and probably asleep by 10 a.m.!  In the morning Johnny & I went on another short hike while the kids rented a surfboard and surfed in the ocean.  Chloe had surfed before in Brazil, but it was Kyle’s first time and he took to it naturally.   Around 1 pm we all headed out, Chloe & Kyle back to Saint John and Johnny & me south to Yarmouth.

Enroute to Yarmouth we took the scenic route and found ourselves on Cape Sable Island and at a place called The Hawk – the most southerly point in Nova Scotia.  Love these little side trips and the quaint villages, fog horns blowing in the distance, huge empty beaches!

Many people have said Yarmouth?  Why would yu go to Yarmouth?  No idea, however, it did seem a logical stopping off point for the road trip.  The one thing about this trip and our venturing into smaller towns, villages & more rural areas is that like here in Ontario, it is very sad to see once vibrant communities growing seedy, homes in need of repairs, for sale signs everywhere and just a general feeling that the life is seeping away.  This is where I would love to start a rant about the downfall of North America via the onslaught of big box stores and rampant consumerism…however, I will leave that for another time 🙂  Not surprising our accomodation in Yarmouth was not as cute, as quaint, as well cared for as everywhere else we had stayed so far.  The Rodd Grand Hotel which I chose because of location on the Main street in downtown Yarmouth has seen better days.  We did have a window that opened, however the screen was gone from half the window and hanging in tatters.  There was a dank, not quite clean feeling to the place.  The staff were less than jubilant, the hotel itself was actually quite full and we couldn’t find a parking spot on the property and had to park on the street….I’m thinking I may not go back to the Rodd Grand Hotel 🙂  We were pretty tired from our many days of travel which lead us to Yarmouth.  We had no interest in eating out, so just made a sandwich from the ham & cheese we carried with us in the cooler.  We did take a walk along Main street, where again it looks lost, businesses closed, we tracked down to the Harbour where the Ferry to Portland comes and goes from and walked along a street closer to the water.  There was another Rodd Hotel there that had shut it’s doors.  You could see mattresses and chairs stacked against the windows.  We did come across a lovely little park and a very vital looking restaurant (which honestly, I would have eaten at but Johnny was the one favouring ham sandwiches 🙂 . . .I bet Yarmouth was a vibrant place not so long ago….it’s definitely a working town….

The next morning we awoke early, hopped in the car, passed by the nicest Tim Horton’s I’ve ever seen (yes in Yarmouth) and then headed toward Digby to catch the Ferry back to Saint John.  I was a little disappointed that the Ferry isn’t actually in the town of Digby, and we had reservations, so we could have stopped, but once we were out at the Ferry, we just got in line and wandered about waiting for the Ferry to arrive.  The site said it was a 3 hour Ferry ride to Saint John across the Bay of Fundy, however it took just over 2 hours.  Unfortunately, it was so foggy we saw NOTHING 🙂  That darn Bay of Fundy continued to elude us 🙂  This was yet another day that didn’t turn out quite as planned.

Our final destination for this day was Lubec, Maine, U.S.A.  The plan was Yarmouth to Digby, Digby Ferry to Saint John, Drive to L’etete to get the Deer Island Ferry, Drive across Deer Island to get the Campobello Ferry – then drive the short distance across into the border town of Lubec, Maine.  So, we did get to the Deer Island Ferry, and we were in the line-up.  There were some locals with a couple of chatty little children in the car ahead so we were entertaining each other chatting back & forth.  The little about (about 7) said, why is that sign on the ground.  Johnny walked over to the sign and it said “Ferry to Campobello Not Running”….it was a bristol board sign and someone had torn it off the post it was attached to.  So, I called the Deer Island Ferry people and the message said, apologies – no Deer Island to Campobello Ferry.  This meant, that we had to go the long way and although most of it quite scenic, should we take the scenic route it would take us forever to get to Lubec, where we had reservations at an Inn.  Soooooo….we headed off (thanks to that chatty 7 year old) toward the US Border at Calais, Maine.  We did pass by St. Andrews by-the-Sea and did a quick tour of the lovely seaside (a little too touristy) village for me.  Then headed back onto the highway.  The border crossing was (as it always is)  a challenge.  Johnny is not Canadian (he’s Norwegian) and it means they have to haul him into the office.  What was a bit different this time is they also demanded that I come in and they grilled us both…really, NOT FUN.  In any case, we were allowed entry into the good old US of A and proceeded through Calais and along the more scenic route and finally ended up in the cutest seaside town I have ever been in.  Lubec is a quaint fishing village that hasn’t turned into a too touristy town.  It seems to have many artisan types, retirees, local fisher types it’s just a nice comfortable small town with all the things you need to survive.  You can see the St. Andrew, NB shore across the sea, you can drive easily over to Campobello Island, NB, yet you are in Maine.  It has a few small restaurants & Inns, we loved it!  The reason we were in Lubec is that the previous year we had rented a cottage in Costa Rica from people who live in Lubec during the nice weather.  We checked into Cohill’s Inn and LOVED our room # 8 – The Eastport!   We did eat there that night, nice atmosphere but the food wasn’t tasting all that down home 🙂  After dinner we went for a walk and of course ran into our friends (who we had Fb’d to say we had arrived) and we went for a drink with them at Annabelle’s and then walked them home, making plans to spend the next day together.   The next morning we strolled over to Marcy & Mike’s after breakfast and we got into their car and they took us on a tour of Campobello Island, walked some beaches, tooks lots of photos.  We parted for a while in the afternoon, then went back to their place for 4 pm cocktails & PEI mussels…yum yum!!!!  After that we walked over to the Water Street Tavern & Inn where had a really nice meal!!  After the meal, we said our good byes to Mike & Marcy, headed back to Cohill’s for our second last night of our 14 day road trip.  Next post….Lac Megantic, QC.

5 more sleeps!!!

5 more sleeps until we pack up the tiny ATS with everything we need for 2 weeks on the road!  Then we hop in and commence our 14 day road trip!!!  Johnny & I just love going from place to place and seeing new things (as was evidenced yesterday by an 11 hour ride from a place 2 hours away 🙂  As you can see our preference is for coastal experiences and we are squeezing as much of that in as possible.  Odds are, if there isn’t water, I’m not staying anywhere long!

Google Screen Shot #1 – Routing for our August 7th to 21st Roadtrip

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Google Screen Shot #2 – Routing from our trip home from a 1 night camping trip at Bonnechere Provincial Park

August 1st, 2015 roadtrip

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