Antigonish

The sun is shining, and, for now, the dreary forecast of extended rain is delayed. I’m off to New Glasgow today, feeling refreshed from a nice day off in this frenetic little town. Even since Cape Breton Island – a mere 60km away – I’ve noticed a change of pace in amongst the locals. Specialty coffee shops are alive with contemporary discourse. Young peeps are cruising the streets looking for action. A real university town. Cool.

Newfoundland already feels like a lifetime ago. A great and wonderful land of generous people and simplified lifestyles. It was great to be a part of it for so long. It hangs off the end of this  country like an asterisk, but it is essential Canadiana.

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Gone are the rocky coasts dotted with candy-coloured cottages.

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Heading into North Sydney, I finally explored the online resources available: Warmshowers.org and couchsurfing.com. Even at such late notice, we found an amazing couple in Sydney who hosted and spoiled our tired asses. They filled us up with good food and amazing stories from their tandem bike tours all over North America. Wine? Chocolate? Homemade waffles? Yes! Micheline and Jacques, you are beautiful people and you will be missed.

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Baddeck. Sarah left to WOOF, and I spent an extra day recovering from a bit of knee soreness that had steadily grown since some point in western NL. Glenda and her family were such gracious hosts, making me feel like family for my brief time there. I fell in love with the tight knit community. I could farm. I could see it in me: the constant presence of animals, the early mornings, the endless fields.

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My first couchsurfing success: Daniel Gillis! What an awesome dude. Welcomed me in with his family in Port Hawkesbury for excellent food and great conversation. He has a contagious passion for life, and he was as gracious a host as one could ask for. His family were a riot around the dinner table, and I was so grateful for how comfortable they made me feel – the crazy guy on a bike. Get on that bike tour, Daniel!

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Antigonish was another extra day of rest. And by rest, I mean biking 30km to find a beach where I could read and zone out. Great people here, and I’m sorry I don’t have photos. Never seem to get the camera out at the right time! Once again, I’m blown away with the hospitality I’ve received. Coffee shops are great hubs for plugging oneself into a community, and I was treated so well by the local dudes and dudettes.

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I met Sarah and Chad, founders of Ordinary Spokes in St John’s, NL, here. They were just back from South America, and I was happy to spend some time with them before peacing. Love their new pad: maps everywhere, positive energy, and a bed. Hot damn.

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I leave here with fond memories of  bonfires on remote beaches, midnight swims in the phosphorescent sea, connecting with other bike tourers, and dirty pizza. Thank you to everyone reading this who helped make my stay in Antigonish so excellent. Nuke, Emily, I’ll see you in Montreal!

Going to be in PEI over the weekend. Looking forward to some rain-soaked red rock.

 

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3 comments

  1. Such a great post Joe, reading about your adventure is so refreshing! Love the photos and the beautiful descriptions of places, people, and the eastern Canada hospitality. You should be a travel writer! Anyways, look forward to hearing and seeing your experiences in beloved PEI. Lyza and I had some memorable times on that charming island. Prince Edward Island National Park is beautiful, along with many other spots. Try and take in a lobster supper somewhere, and if possible check out a ‘ceilidh’ pronounced ‘kaylee’ I think, its like a party with dancing and great music, I think they are held on weekends in different areas.
    Love, Mom

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