Cattons and the Lokers Take Nova Scotia!

There's nothing like having friends like the Lokers! We have managed to maintain a 13 year relationship over the seas and far away from one another, so it is an amazing thing to be only a two hour flight away now. With summer fast approaching the Lokers decided to visit us in Halifax for 10 days and the planning begun. We decided to spent half of the time in Cape Breton, the north part of Nova Scotia and the rest in Halifax and enjoying home and the Lake. 

Cape Breton was new to us all and after a 4 hour drive with so much splendor just outside our windows we arrived at the awesome holiday house Stew had found us. It was a real gem with it's own wondrous beach of treasures, to be found at the bottom of a private track that wound through the forest. Everything about the trip was incredible. The landscape is so mountainous, everywhere you look is a different scene and when you come to the lakes and inlets the view in breathtaking. We went on a puffin boat tour departing from a particularly beautiful spot with huge mountains behind and deep blue water. It took us out into the ocean to a rock island covered with puffins, seals and bald eagles. The tiny little puffins beat their wings super fast and dart from here to there, and the eagles dive to catch fish thrown out by the captain of the boat. My favourite part was the seals though, they were just like dogs in the water, popping their heads up inquisitively. 

We stayed not too far away from the township of Baddeck where Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone built his summer home. You can see why when you are there. It is a beautiful town and we spent our time roaming the streets and shops, eating bakery treats, walking the pier and having all kinds of fun on Bell's lawn. 

Staying at the house was it's own fun too. We took a few long walks down to the beach which was stunning. The eroded cliffs and fallen trees give it this forgotten feeling, with driftwood, boulders and caves all along the way as well as all different coloured pebbles at the water line. I found a cool buoy on the shore which I bought home too. It was a really peaceful private place which we were lucky to experience. As always on our trips Stew takes care of all the cooking (much to my excitement) and does an incredible job. Our nights together are spent eating and laughing, looking up youtube video's, reading and knitting (see dolls dress below) and it was fun to discover Pokemon had just come out while we were on the trip so we had some fun with that too. We even had a recharge station across the road so Stew and I ventured our in the middle of the night all hopped up on the fun! Jen and I also got to see a fiddlers concert which is a traditional Cape Breton pastime.

A true highlight of our trip was driving half of the Cabot trail and walking the Skyline trail. It's a nice and easy walk, though 16 km's round trip, but the kids did amazing and it was well worth it for the two moose we saw, a male and a female, as well as the incredible view at the end. Seeing a moose so close was one of the highlights of my life! It's common for moose to be on the trail and we were really excited when we heard people saying there was one up ahead. Off in the scrub we briefly saw a male but a little further up a female was off to the side but soon found her way right to the middle of the track. People scattered and we hid behind some trees, knowing they can charge at any time. After a while she moved off and we carried on, thrilled by what had just happened. The whole experience was so memorable and as we made our way back and stopped at some road side stores we were still buzzing from the experience. We loved everything about our trip to Cape Breton. 

Back in Halifax we explored the local sites, visited the waterfront, Lunenberg and Peggy's Cove. Jen and I had some mandatory us time and we introduced the Lokers to some of the friends we have made here. The best part of it all, as always, is just being together, catching up and having fun. Seeing the kids play and get to know each other and having time. What a true joy the Lokers are in our life. Thanks for coming guys!  

A Hike on your Birthday

How fast the years past. I can hardly believe both Levi and I are in our 30's now. Not that either of us has any problem with getting older. Levi, being the old soul that he is, actually often has said he feels like he is nearing his 'true age'. But time does pass and this June Levi turned 35. 

A few birthdays ago he had given me a gourmet dessert book, no doubt in the hopes I would make him something from it, and this year I finally did. This recipe book has desserts with no less than 6 components and the one I chose to attempt for Levi was the 'Ginger Megs'. Luckily I was able to enlist the help of one of Levi's colleagues wives, Betsy who is a french patisserie chef! I kid you not, I had a whole day learning skills from someone who really knew what they were doing! What I discovered is, that once you see something in action, not just written on a page, it all starts to make sense. Levi was very impressed and said he could live of this dessert alone - tick of approval. 

This year as part of Levi's gift I organised our great friends Jack and Deborah to mind the kids for the day so that we could go on one of the must do hikes of Nova Scotia - Cape Split. We set off, just as we would on an Australia hike through the bush, with hats and sunscreen only to find that for the most part we were in quite thick, cool forest. It was beautiful to really take time and look at the different foliage. One of the things I love in Canada is that many of the leaves let through light and create a beautiful shimmering effect on the trees. It's not until right at the end of the hike that you emerge from the trees into a clearing that literally leads you straight off a cliff. It is quite the sight to behold. Out on one of the rocks hundreds of seagulls were nesting and gliding on the high winds. This point, Cape Split affords a great view of the Bay of Fundy - which has the fastest tides in the world. After taking in the breathtaking views and having some lunch we walked the 8km's back to the car. It was an awesome way to spend a day and celebrate my wonderful husbands birthday. All his hard work is the reason we can be here, exploring such a beautiful part of the world. I love you Levi xx