Welcome to our blog

Welcome to our blog. During the coming year we travel (backpack) around the world and will try to regularly post some updates on our whereabouts on this page.

Montag, 26. Juli 2010

A week in Toronto

After leaving Quebec City we quickly drove to Montreal. Sonja's work colleague Derek was coming over from the USA and work had to be done.
Derek drove with us to Toronto, which was fun. Right Derek :-)
We won't talk about work so here we skip a few days.

Anyway, time to explore downtown Toronto:

Here you see the CN Tower, Toronto's pride.
We were lucky to have be in Toronto at the right time, the Caribana festival was on that weekend. Caribbean nationals, so people from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago etc were everywhere.

Big parties were going on, we had a look at the parade.

During the festival, all kinds of courses were offered. Here you see Matthew and Robin in an animation design course.

We strolled through the city, visited Chinatown and managed to buy more books. Oops...
Anyway, we have a car and don't have to carry our bags yet.

The campground we stayed at was very close to the city, from a large shopping center off the highway we could conveniently take the subway downtown. All perfect.

The campground was the worst we have ever stayed at. A total mess. But to keep it positive: great staff, really helpful.

News on our next adventure follows soon.

A short stop in Quebec City

Distances are crazy here in Canada! Everything is far away. So unfortunately we were slightly running out of time once we got to Quebec City.
We stayed overnight at a nice campground.

Our really nice camp-neighbour immediately camp up to offer her help. Quite a luxury to have a hammer to put the tent pins in!
And coffee in the morning, way to go :-)

Quebec City is really nice. We spend Saturday night in town and returned on Sunday.

Our backpacks are a bit easier to carry around, these suitcases and bags were used in the 1700's when the French and Acadians started to move around Canada and the USA.

Our next stop will be in Montreal, where we pick up Derek - one of Sonja's colleagues - he'll join us for 2 days, on the way to Toronto, Ontario.

Driving through New Brunswick

Like we experienced in PEI and Nova Scotia, we see quite some wildlife in New Brunswick. Interesting was to see deer grazing on a golf course next to a regional park we were camping at.
Luckily enough we haven't see a moose yet. We don't drive at night / in the dark, as the risk to drive into a moose is too high.

New Brunswick, and as it seems Canada in general is a skateboarding paradise. Not a very good picture, but this is Robin at the Riverview skatepark.
Not much later we visited a huge skate shop and Robin got his own board. Let's see how long he will carry the board around... We'll practice on the picture quality and will keep you all updated on his progress.

New Brunswick is really big on potatoes and potato chips. We see field after field. Reason enough to check out the potato chips factory. Here the job was done for the day.
You know where potatoes originate?

Potato World, a nice museum about the history of the potato, located just next to McCain was our next stop.

Mittwoch, 21. Juli 2010

Our First Couchsurfing Experience

Earlier this year we signed up with www.couchsurfing.org - a program where people around the world are encouraged to meet eachother. 'Surf' on each other's couch and share interests and stories.
We signed up, issued a profile and started contacted people. Justin, on the picture on the right lives in New Brunswick and was our first host.

He and his family are dairy farmers. Here he and his dad are fixing a machine.

The farm

Some of the cows.

Justin explained us all about cows and the farm. In the morning we visited his mom and dad and had a great breakfast at their house.
Our first couchsurfing experience was great. We'll be looking for further opportunities during the coming month in Canada.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island, also called PEI. A ferry connects the island with Nova Scotia and a 13 km long bridge connects the island with New Brunswick.
We took the longest bridge in the world to get to PEI.

PEI has much agriculture and fishing, but tourism is big too. There are no moose, but otherwise still quite some wildlife, such as foxes at the side of the street.

Charlottetown is the capital of PEI, here the first talks took place to unite the provinces and form one country: CANADA
This is room the talks took place. It is kept in the original state.
After learning about the MiqMac (aboriginals), the Acadiens (French imigrants), we now know more about forming the country.
History of Canada: check.

Yes Gabor, we are still jogging :-)
In the Cavendish national park trails through the woods are ready for bikers, hikers and joggers.
We stayed on a campground in the national park. Lovely spot to camp.

We never heard of "Anne of Green Gables" before we came to PEI. A famous author wrote about Anne and her life on a farm in PEI. Matthew demonstrates what Anne looks like :-)

Whenever we can we visit art galeries and other museums / exhibitions of national interest.
This artwork is made of cornflakes and other breakfast cereals.

Important note: Scotsburn icecream is the hype in the Canadian Atlantic provinces. Should be exported to the world. Really great taste!

A Wonderful Eco Farm

Our second WWOOFing experience was in Pugwash, Nova Scotia. Even that we worked 2 days only, we had a really good time and much like the way this small farm is set up.

With all the respect 'small' - it is too small to live to 'just' work on the farm, so both Kirsteen and Louise, our hosts and owners of the farm also have other jobs next to working on the farm.

So, why we like their farm, here are some reasons:

Everything falls into place, it is all so natural and logic and just right.

The chicken are laying and walking around.

The piglets, 5 of them live with the 2 big pigs for 10 months. They then are sold and a the pigs are ready for the next piglets to be born. Some of the meat goes straight into the freezer.

Louise, preparing the feed for the animals.

One cow, currently giving 11 liters of milk. Milk, cream cheese, yoghurt, butter and icecream are made at home. Really cool.

Here Kirsteen is making butter with a home-made "butter shaker"

2 Large vegetable gardens and loads of berries and fruits will take care of most of the greens, jams, jellies etc for the year.

The solar panel give enough energy for the hot water in the house.
There is loads more to tell but the above gives a good picture we hope.

Sonja's task was to weed one of the gardens and pick berries. Matthew and Robin were quite busy scooping more manure. Come over and check out their muscles :-)

Donnerstag, 15. Juli 2010

Arriving in an Empty House

Last week, after leaving Terri and Dave we drove to Kentville, Nova Scotia.

Erin, who lived with us (and looked after the kids for 1.5 years - some 10 years ago) and her husband Caanan just moved to Kentville a few days ago and we are the first to visit them.
THEY are the reason to come to Nova Scotia in the first place.

We arrived in the evening in an empty house, and not even 24 hours later the moving company had arrived and the house was a home.

Caanan is a professional comic artist, he was so kind to give Matthew and Robin drawing lessons.

We bought Erin and Caanan a poffertjes pan as a wedding gift, as you see they have a natural talent for making pofertjes.

As you can see there's an excellent result.
We stayed almost a week, and had a wonderful time.

Evangéline is a statue of an Acadian woman, and Robin takes the same pose as she does.
In Grand Prés we discovered the history of Nova Scotia, especially the deportation of the Acadians around 1750, they're lives and what happened since.

The Bay of Fundy, in wich area we are, is known for it's Tidal bore. There are only few places in the world wich have tidal bores.
A Tidal bore phenomenon occurs when extreme Bay of Fundy tides flowes up river at high tide.
The family was at a camping at low tide, see how extreme it is.

Montag, 12. Juli 2010

Something about jogging and little black flies

Nova Scotia is GREAT - it is really going well here for us, the experiences we make are amazing, the people are fantastic and all is good...
but WHY does Nova Scotia have those horrible little biting flies or bugs, or what they are?

2 Days ago we went for our first jog here in Canada. It took almost 2 weeks, suppose we had to 'mentally prepare' to jog on our own.
Before we jogged with Lauftreff.ch in Basel, with our great coach Gabor and all the great people in the team.

It was bright and early here in Kentville last Saturday, not to warm, not to cold... we started jogging nicely, until we reached the woods.
Seriously, those funny little black something insects ATTACKED us there. No matter where, through shirts and trousers without a problem. Leaving big itching marks.
We got out as soon as we could. But even out on the street these bugs or whatever they are 'followed' us.

Time to go back. That was it for the day.
For sure, next time we won't forget the insect spray...

Samstag, 10. Juli 2010


WWOOF stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms.
A while ago, we have signed up with the Canadian branch of the organisation (www.wwoof.ca) and agreed with a few farmers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that we would come and work on their farms.
We work and learn on a farm and stay and eat with the farmer's family in return.

Normally stays are for at least several weeks, but Terri and Dave, who have a farm near Baddeck, Nova Scotia were ok with us coming over for just 3 days.

We have no experience with farming but we liked to get to know more about farming in Canada. Also, we like to be more than a bunch of tourists, traveling the world for a year. So for meeting locals and learning about their lifes: WWOOFing is great.

Terri and Dave's animals:

2 Horses

4 Lamas

Little Merlin and her mom

This is Fat Cat, there was 1 further house cat and 5 barn cats

And here is Artic, the dog

Not on the pictures are some 50 chicken and turkeys.

Some jobs we helped with on the farm are cleaning out the chicken barn.

Robin scooping out the chicken poo, "will look good on his resume" as Dave would say :-)

Matthew transporting the poo away. Even though it was dry... gas masks would not have been bad to have...

We mainly worked on building a fence together with Dave. The animals need more space and as Terri and Dave only moved here last fall, a lot of fencing had to be done. Really nice on this job was that, despite the fast weather changes, we managed to finish the job. YES - COOL STUFF.

Men at work

Not the best of all pictures, but here is the beautiful result:

Our hosts were great. We could not have had a better start WWOOFing in Canada.

Time had come to leave Terri and Dave and move on to our next destination.

Freitag, 9. Juli 2010

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Luckily enough, the forecasted "5 days of heavy rain" was wrong and the sun has been shining on and off since the day after we arrived in Cape Breton.

Most of our time in Canada we plan to camp. Preferably in national parks and other nice places.
We have our camping gear with us, a lightweight tent, mats, sleeping bags and such.
The tent and the mats, some cooking stuff etc will be going back home once we end our 64 days in Canada. The sleeping bags stay with us.

Anyway, we now entered the Cape Breton national park and pinched our tent on one of the great tenting spots. A level spot, with a table and benches and most important: a wood BBQ for dinner AND "smorsh" -- surely misspelled :-) --
Marshmallows, chocolate and cookies. The marshmallows are roasting over the fire and are squeezed with the chocolate between 2 cookies.

To the point, the Cape Breton Highway park has one road running through the park. The road has to be shared with great big RV trucks (crazy... but more on that later) as well as quite some muscled bike riders. Loads of Lookout points with info boards are located along the road. At least 25 longer and shorter trails are scattered throughout the park. We did some of them, including the one where a lady was killed by 3 coyotes last October... oops, not good.

The park is known for its moose, but we have just seen 1 from a distance. The black bears, mountain lions and the coyotes stayed away from us as well.

Here some pictures we took in the park:

Around 9 pm. The sun was just going under.

A beautiful day.
All is going good.

Whale Watching

Loads of whales and dolphins can be found around the coast of Cape Breton. Pilot whales and minke whales are the most common. But humpback whales, fin whales, sei whales as well as dolphins are regular visitors between approx May and October as well.

Whale watching is fun to do. You never know what you will see. The ocean is not a zoo...
We saw the pilot and minke whales on the trip we took. Condor and Nova Scotia tourism sponsored 500 tickets to promote the flights from Germany to Halifax. Cool deal!

We checked out the provider before we took the trip, and hope YOU will do the same if you - some time in the future - decide to take a whale watch trip. Guarantee that you DON'T take a provider who chases down the animals and almost runs into them. Zodiacs are known for that and businesses who work for profit only. Whale watching is exciting but the ocean is THEIR space. Go with the 'green' guys... the biologists and those who want to save the environment and the animals.

We had a great 2.5 hours on a 30 person boat. A very nice trip.

The first days in Nova Scotia

OK, our worldtrip blog is up and running, it won't win the beauty contest but you can all follow us here.
Whilst the temperatures in Europe were going up and up, the Condor crew kept demotivating us again and again on the flight: Loads of rain in Halifax, no chance for better weather for at least 5 days etc.
After a good flight we experienced the weather in Halifax - it was indeed raining hard.
But the rental car was ready, the Nova Scotia tourism office gave us a detailed map of the province and a 'Doers and Dreamers' book, listing everything a tourist and a travel needs to know. With so much rain we found ourselves a hotel for the first night and tried to get over our jet lag.
The next 2 days we traveled along the East Shore to the Cape Breton Highlands national park, a park on the far east side of the province, known for its stunning views and great nature.
Our first impressions: people we met on the way were extremely friendly, we passed by loads of small villages with few inhabitants. Everything is green, there are loads and loads of trees. Even small ice creams are XL size here, they have great flavors.
Talking about big, the buy 2 concept in supermarkets is crazy. They make you buy AND eat more than you want.
Assure to keep the car fueled up, gas stations are rather scarce.

So far so good.

Donnerstag, 8. Juli 2010

That's it - We are on the way

Sunday the 27th of June, just 2 days after our last full-time school and work day we took the train from our home in Switzerland to Frankfurt, Germany.
We enjoyed some Chinese dinner and stayed in an airport hotel, in order to catch our flight morning flight to Halifax, Canada.

More to follow soon :-)