Scottish


Okay, so in this second installment of the Crowe’s 2010 Nova Scotia cross-province adventure, the trio travel to Peggy’s Cove. This is a quaint little village with a nice little lighthouse atop rocks that were formed by glaciers millions of years ago. Personally, I liked the random “street” signs they had—see photos below. This being the first day and my mouth was watering with the idea of getting to eat lots of lobster, I was immediately in like with these locals who named a path, Lobster Lane. There’s a story about the name of this town. If you want to you can read it here.

After an obligatory stop at the gift shop, we walked back to the car and made our way over to Lunenburg. Lunenburg is also a quaint town where the shops all close really early and if you want to buy a toothbrush, you’ll have to wait until the following afternoon because the next day was Sunday and the only thing open was the Fisheries museum. Of course we went there and learned all about the famous tall ship of Nova Scotia, the Bluenose.

Well, just a note on Lunenburg. If you know of the actress Ellen Page (star of a very cool movie called Whip It), she did some Cisco commercials set in that town that aired last winter. Reportedly, the town mayor said about the production company, “They certainly spent a fair bit of money here during the time they were in town. It was quite a big production. The money from the production company was used to upgrade playground equipment in the town.” According to an article by Roger Taylor, Business Columnist, the mayor said the town will probably put up some links to the www.cisco.com website, where the ads may be viewed, but he doesn’t know if Cisco would link to the town’s site, www.explorelunenburg.ca.

I hope that last part puts this town into perspective for you. So…after eating the fish and chips and a local beer, Keith’s—both yummy—and having a nice night sleep, we headed out for the Annapolis Valley. By the time we got there, we were hungry for lunch so naturally we ate in the German Bakery. For a province that is part French, part Indian, and is named “new Scotland,” I was admittedly thrown a bit by the German invasion into this area. But I did find it funny that my health-conscious father did not skip a beat when ordering strudel for dessert.

After lunch, we strolled through the lovely Royal Historic Gardens, and then went off to explore Fort Ann where we got to see an exhibition of the Highland Regiment. It was all nice until they showed us how they practice spearing people with their bayonets. Fun with bagpipes and gunpowder, eh? That night we stayed in a really nice B&B that’s on all the brochures—the Queen Anne Inn. We spent the evening celebrating our American Independence Day quietly in our room while watching the fireworks on TV. Because naturally, while in a foreign country there are plenty of American TV programs to watch.

That’s all for now. Next time we visit the cheese farm. Yum.

A tale of New Scotland.

I’m back from vacation and ready to share my experiences from Nova Scotia—that province in Canada near Maine that takes its name (New Scotland) from my ancestors in the old country. Having said that, I learned quite a bit of Nova Scotia’s history and discovered that it was originally settled by the Mi’kmaqs, an Indian tribe belonging to the greater Algonquin nation. And the first white folks who came around to settle the area back in the early 1600’s were the French—who called themselves Acadians. They got along with the locals and made the tidal-drenched lands very fertile. The Scots came along later and claimed the highlands, as it reminded them of their lovely home.

But I’ll get to all that later because it was very interesting learning about this little island’s history. What I’ll start off saying is that the current locals—made up of my favorite cousins, the fun Canadians—are friendly and good natured people. My parents and I enjoyed our tour of the island and came back enlightened about the Nova Scotian people and the various cultures that have made up this endearing place.

The only Canadian on this trip that I didn’t like was the customs guy. He kept asking me questions as if I was a danger to his people. Now just before leaving for vacation I heard an expert on national defense discuss the latest policies of the TSA. He rightly criticized the organization for bowing to public fear and political correctness instead of doing what works. What doesn’t work is making us all take off our shoes so we have to walk barefoot on the disgusting airport floors and spending time questioning the girl who has been called “wonder bread.”

But whatever. On another note, I just want to say that I refused to go into the “naked” machine. You know what I mean—the new security x-ray scanner that allows TSA agents to see you the way only doctors should. Not-uh. That’s my line in the sand boys. Ok. Just had to get all that crap off my chest. I probably just put myself on some government watch list. I can only hope my blog gets that many readers. Wow, I’d be like some kind of travel-screening rebel. “Hell no, we won’t go…without our shoes, water bottles, toothpaste, and lighters.”

Moving on…having passed inspection, we got into our car and headed off to our first stop, Peggy’s Cove. I’ll continue on with the vacation diary next time. Until then, remember that there are now nawnstop flights from Halifax to Bawston. That was the first sign we saw driving out of the airport. The second one was for ice cream. I’ll get to that later. Stay tuned for Peggy, Ann, and the German girl with Strudel.

Scenes along the way…

Hiking along the Cabot Trail near Ingonish

Cabot Trail

Nova Scotia coast

Oiy! Being a wee bit of Scot meself, I wholeheartedly agree with the line delivered by Mike Myers on SNL. Scots are amazing people. Many of you may have heard of the recent sensation sweeping Britain and the U.S. Her name is Susan Boyle and she belted out one amazing tune from Les Miserables on Britains Got Talent 2009. The reason everyone cares is because this 47-year-old church volunteer from West Lothian (that’s in Scotland folks) was prematurely judged based on her looks. People were laughing at her. But then they heard her voice and were touched by her gift.

There are Susan Boyles out there everywhere and the moral of this story, boys and girls, is don’t judge people based on their looks. Gotcha. Point taken. But this is not what I’m here to talk about. What I really want to talk about are the great Scottish people. My Brit friend in grad school correctly stated that a Scot could read the telephone book and still sound lovely. Oooh yeah, my thoughts exactly. On that note, I’d like to share a little story from my adventure in Scotland so you too can know just how awesome these people are.

One day during an early summer trip in 2000, my Mom and I were doing laundry on the Isle of Skye at the laundry mat / mini-mart / gas station which was located conveniently next to one of the two pubs on the island. There was a cold spell there and while all my long pants were being washed, we went into the pub. One of the three patrons in this little pub—not including the Collie who went straight for the side of the bar to get fed and was obviously a regular there—staggered over to us and as nice as can be started up a friendly conversation that went like so.

Drunken Scotsman: So…where are yuh all flrrum?
Dawn: We’re from the United States.
Drunken Scotsman: Aye, yuh flrrum Amerrricuh. Yuh wearrrin shorts an it’s fooockhen flrrreeezen out.

We proceeded to discuss all sorts of things such as Jerry Springer (the show that happened to be on the big screen TV on one of the three channels available on the island) and how he was the owner of the other pub in town and it was his day off. Gosh I love the Scots. And don’t get me started on Mel in that kilt. So to close, if you ever hear anyone refer to Scots as Scotch, just repeat the words of Mike Myers.

“Actually, scotch is a drink; Scots are a people. But we’re both great-tasting!”