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The Palmers’ Grand Maritime Tour of Nova Scotia pt. 1

After some unsuccessful planning, we stepped in to help the Palmers book their perfect trip. They kicked off their adventure with a voyage across the North Atlantic. Here’s how it went…

“We decided to visit my cousin in Toronto and combine it with a driving tour of Nova Scotia.

After extensive internet research, a brief inquiry with an expensive company who turned out to be rather inflexible and finding out it was Canada’s 150th anniversary, it looked as if the trip would need to be delayed.

One afternoon I walked passed Abbotts Travel in South Woodford and spontaneously popped in.

I spoke to Sophie, there was no hard sell, just an offer that if I saw anything I liked from the brochures, I should contact her. This was the first time I had visited a travel agent in 30 years and I was impressed with her attitude.

We liked what we saw and after a discussion with Sophie we decided to book the Grand Maritimes self-drive tour with First Class holidays.

It wasn’t long before we were boarding the QM2 to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

We experienced an extremely smooth crossing with some beautiful weather and after six nights at sea, I was up early to try and spot some whales. However, it was not to be and by 7am we had berthed at Halifax.

Passengers who were disembarking completely (the ship would continue its way to New York) were dealt with first by Border Immigration and Customs. After a quick chat and a stamp of our passports, we made our way to our hotel, the delightful Lord Nelson on South Park Street.

We were shown to our room with its 2 king-sized beds. The bad news about this is that I cannot nudge hubby when he snores. The good news is that he is too far away to hear.

During the voyage, we spent every evening with eight fellow guests and promised them we would stand at the end of the Point to wave goodbye as they were escorted out of the harbour by a Canadian naval frigate. I just hope the lady at whom I was waving furiously was the right person. It was difficult to see from where I was standing!

We had been handed a First Class Holidays/Abbotts Travel package which contained a 26-page folder of driving instructions for the trip, a Lonely Planet Canada handbook, a spare itinerary and most importantly a wallet containing vouchers for each hotel and ferry trip. We were ready to go.

Due to the RDV 2017 Tall Ships Regatta in Lunenburg, we spent three nights in Halifax (instead of two).

We drove to Peggy’s Cove and spent a very pleasant couple of hours in the village. We went to the SouWester restaurant directly on the shorefront and had a late breakfast of homemade salmon fishcakes, accompanied by a Scottish Pipe Band, and all for the princely sum of (Canadian) $28.

The drive from Peggy’s Cove to Lunenburg, via Mahone Bay, was stunning.

Our last (albeit wet) day in Halifax was spent on a self-guided walking tour of the city followed by a drive to the Fairview Cemetery to pay our respects to many of the Titanic victims buried there together with victims of the 1917 harbour explosion, which tragically killed 2000 Halifax citizens and seamen.”

Keep your eyes peels for part 2 of Elaine’s Canadian adventure.

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