15/10/2014 I arrived in Nova Scotia on Monday using the ferry and my luck with the weather, hitch hiking and couchsurfers continues! Time for another quick update about the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton and the local L’Arche community before I’ll start to travel to Halifax.
Cape Breton National Park
The bus eventually got me to the ferry on Sunday night and it was actually a very nice ride with the sun setting in front of us. I was helping an old ~80 year old lady with her luggage, she was actually moving places with 5 (!) suitcases and was not able to handle it on her own. I gave her a hand getting it in the bus and then out of it again to the Ferry check in and she thanked me with a little cute business card with a bible quote. Even though I am not religious, I still appreciated the gesture and boarded the ferry with a good feeling.
On the ferry, everyone was basically ready to go to bed, covered with a lot of blankets and gear that I would usually wear on top of Kilimanjaro! I had a nice chat with a couple sitting next to me before getting some sleep in the pretty comfortable chairs. Turns out the heater did not work and it was actually pretty cold in the night, I still surprisingly managed to sleep about 6 hours! We arrived at 7:30 in the morning and my plan was to leave the ship first to get all the cars for the hitch hike. Turns out the walk on passengers were only allowed to leave the ship after all car and bus drivers, so I asked if anyone could give me a ride to St. Ann, where my Couchsurfer would pick me up. Luckily a nice lady and her son decided to make room in their already packed car and gave me the ride, seems like to people in Nova Scotia are as nice as they are in Newfoundland!
Mukthar and Rose picked me up from a Lobster Restaurant in St.Anns after waiting in front of the place for about one hour in the cold. Both of them work for L’Arche and live in the local communities. We spent the day driving around the Cabot Trail and even though it is indeed a great and scenic drive, I still felt that it could have been a tiny bit nicer after all the reviews I was reading! It is still a must see for sure while in Nova Scotia, especially in the Autumn, and I’m sure that spending some more days there would have increased the experience. We only had one day and made a few stops along the way, also hiking the 7km skyline trail. The weather was basically too good, not a single cloud on the sky and sunshine all day long! I would not have minded a few clouds for more interesting pictures though 🙂
In the evening we had supper (or dinner as I would have called it before coming to east canada) in one of the local communities. Mukthar showed me all the properties they have in the area and I got to know the core members and assistants working for them. L’Arche is an organization that aims to support people with intellectual disabilities and even though I have heard about it in the past, I have never had a good idea about it. The Cape Breton L’Arche community consists of about 55 people overall and I was grateful to get to know most of them in a single night and it was inspiring to see how good of a life those with disabilities can still have under the circumstances they are facing, thanks to their assistants. At the end of the day, a big group gathered around for a bond fire and some guitar music, just the perfect way to end the day!