Posts tagged ‘travel’

the PEI blog

i had such good intentions when i started writing about our 10 day trip out east. i should have realized that school and schedules would drive the memory of vacation to the very bottom of my priorities list. but actually, there’s just not that much to share about actually being on the island.

the basic plan was to get TO the island, and we didn’t actually plan anything for WHILE we were there. the weather was pretty rubbish the whole time, and we really embraced the coziness of being trapped inside a cottage.

during one pocket of sunshine (but not warmth), derek and i borrowed some bikes from our host family, and did a little bit of exploring. i biked on the ocean floor, which was new. we also found an ancient graveyard and read the final summaries of so many lives lived centuries ago.

after that, it rained and rained and rained. we played board games, watched indiana jones, and enjoyed the rest from travelling.

on the only sunny day, we headed out to experience prince edward island, starting with a local beach/park. we explored tide pools, watched hermit crabs, and as the tide came in, ran from shrinking island to shrinking island, building quick sandcastles before they melted in the tide. we chased seagulls, saw adorable plovers, and anne collected some red sand to bring home.

we left canoe cove and drove to port-la-joye to tour fort amherst and hike the trails. i’m always so amazed at the amount of history hidden beneath paved trailes and landscaped lawns. the contrast of a manicured park verses the bloody battlefield of years past, blows my mind every time.

the day was waning, and hunger was growing, so we headed to a tourist hot spot to experience some stereotypical PEI food. main course: boom burger. they use PEI potatoes, beef, and cheese from the cows creamery. (for those of you who know that i can’t eat any of that delicious-sounding stuff: i brought a protein shake with me). i visited paderno while the family was eating, and then we wandered over to the anne of green gables chocolatier briefly before finishing up at cows creamery.

we did a tour of the plant, the kids got some iconic tshirts, and then we bought some of their famous ice cream and enjoyed it in the last few rays of sunlight that we’d see on the island. pictured: sorbet! something that i could actually eat! vacation is so much better when one can enjoy the food.

it rained so much during our final day in PEI. i chose an air b&b with kayaks because “kayaking in the ocean” sounded so dreamy. due to weather and tides, the kayaking didn’t happen. still very happy with the air b&b though, because we DID use the woodstove! buckets of rain were pouring from the sky, but we were nice and cozy with a crackling fire to keep us warm.

having a cozy indoor day with boardgames, netflix, and family was a great way to rest up before travelling back to ontario the next day. it gave us an opportunity to eat up the last of our food, and pack things up at a relaxed pace. when our alarms went off the next morning, it was a very easy transition from cleaned cottage to car.

we didn’t eat seafood, we didn’t see puffins, and we didn’t go whale watching. we didn’t do any of the typical PEI excursions, and in hindsight- i wish we’d had a bit more structure to our trip. i have zero regrets about visiting the island though. we had such a great time as a family, and i’m a big fan of enjoying the journey as well as the destination. i’m hoping that someday we’ll go back and experience more of those touristy trips, but for now the memories of red sand and breathtaking vistas are enough to satisfy me.

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October 10, 2018 at 12:27 Leave a comment

gilmores go east, 2018

we’re not great travellers, but we love to travel. a few years ago, we made our way out to newfoundland, but didn’t have time to stop in prince edward island. we’ve long-since regretted not being able to check the island off on our “canadian provinces visited” list.

we were planning to visit our buddy damien this summer at his new home in nova scotia, so we decided to add PEI to the list and declare the east coast done.

we’re travellers who travel with an extremely loose schedule, flexible directions, and no real plans beyond the destination. so when great stuff happens, we’re always pleasantly surprised!

i’m hoping to chronicle our trip on here, but it was 10 days long, and i’m not willing to write it all out in one go.

here are the highlights from the drive to NS:

we’ve been friends with steve and andrée-anne since 1998 or something ancient like that, and they just happened to be home briefly from their mission in cambodia and available to meet up. so good to catch up!

after a really rough night in which we brushed our teeth in a tim horton’s bathroom, then changed in a dark parking lot, then drove to a walmart where the 4 of us attempted to get comfortable for a partial night of sleep in the car; we stopped in grand falls new brunswick to stretch our legs and attempt to feel human again.

we also planned ahead and booked a hotel room for that very night, not willing to risk no vacancy again! the hike was beautiful, the exercise rejuvenating, and the frozen yoghurt satisfying (for the dairy-eating percentage of this family!).

we were only 2 days into the trip and we’d learned valuable lessons: plan a route! then book a hotel! and also, don’t travel on weekends unless we have to.

while i DO have amazing powers of being able to sleep anywhere, i sincerely hope that i never have to sleep in the hatch of my car in a walmart parking lot ever again (although i’m so thankful that sleep in a safe and dry environment was possible).

the trip could have been done in 2 days, but we took 3 so that we wouldn’t be exhausted (ha!). a great night of sleep and some good breakfast later, we were ready to finish the driving and see our friends in nova scotia!

we only made one more significant stop en route, and that was at famous magnetic hill. i don’t have any pictures of it, because the whole thing is nuts. derek has explained it to me about 20 times, but i don’t get it. regardless of the science vs magic debate, it was a great experience!

and then, we were there! rolling into damien & karissa’s driveway and seeing their excited kids who were way too big, was balm for the weary traveller’s soul.

but actually, it was a great drive despite my highlights in this post. the kids were amazing, the scenery was breathtaking. the spontaneous picnics, the quality conversations, and the shared aventures were a fabulous start to our trip!

August 23, 2018 at 17:18 Leave a comment

belgian backstory

in april, derek and i celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary with a trip to belgium.  we got a lot of “why belgium?” questions,  so here’s the back story:

so a long time ago, derek and i both worked at muskoka baptist conference (now called muskoka bible centre).  we went to summit college and stayed on as full time staff.  through mbc, derek and i became friends with a strange european boy with long hair and skinny jeans (before they were cool).  we quickly became a trio of friends, with stephan leaving every few months to head back home to belgium.

L-R: stephan, me, derek

it was during one of stephan’s belgian stints that derek and i both separately began exploring the idea of going on a belgian stint of our own.  when we found out that the other had been thinking the same thing, it pretty much locked the idea in for us.

my journal from first trip to belgium.

so in march of 1999, we said goodbye to our families and boarded a plane for a 3 month adventure.  cell phone technology was very new, and staying in touch with my family would be limited to writing letters, and hoping that the calling card i carried with me would work from across the ocean.   my first time viewing the ocean was from a plane window.

stephan’s family was tied to the mission organization Operation Mobilisation, and our belgian adventure was mostly with the purpose of serving God in europe.   we definitely made time for sightseeing, but the focus was working 5 days/week at the OM base doing maintenance.

a day's work

it was perfect, but a lot of places in this world are.  so why did we want to go back to belgium?

when derek and i were friends, we declared that we wanted to marry each other.  not because we were in love, but because we didn’t want to live our lives without our best friend.  so we decided to start praying that we would fall in love.  at that point our friendship transitioned into courtship (derek even asked my daddy’s permission!)

the bible shows us how to love all over the place, with the most famous passage being in 1 corinthians 13.  it tells us all of the things that love is, and is not.  so we decided to use that passage as an instruction manual.

all of that happened before we went to belgium.  but it was IN belgium when God answered our prayers.  a lot of people ask “how do i know he’s the one?” or “what if he’s my soulmate?” and there’s a lot of uncertainty there.  i believe that yes, God has a match for you, but i also believe that love is an act, and something that we can choose.  when we choose to love, the uncertainty is gone.  there was definitely a moment when i looked across the mission’s base at derek and knew without a doubt, that i wasn’t just “trying” to love him, but that i had fallen in love with him.

this story is more sappy that the stories that i usually like to share, but it’s a story that honours God, and so it should be shared.  it’s also the story that explains why we went back to belgium.

the photos are either of my journal, or drawings from my journal.  i wrote in it almost every day for 3 months, and reading it again tonight brought back some great memories. wish i still had that discipline!  i’ll try to get back on here soon to share some pics and write a little something about our 2015 trip.

June 2, 2015 at 21:04 Leave a comment