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Oh Canada, we Drive on Roads through Thee

Vienna decided to skip spring and go straight into summer and I’m getting sentimental. Around this time last year my semester in Ottawa, Canada was coming to an end and I was making travelling plans for the whole of May while also preparing for exams and doing “the last time” of everything I’d enjoyed while I was there.

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One of the trips I planned was a two-week roadtrip to the east coast of Canada with endless nature and small cities as stops. Our tour took us through Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island. After days of looking for Airbnbs, last-minute renting a car, finding out that my Greyhound back from the trip before that one was so late that I couldn’t even pick up my bigger suitcase from the friend I’d left it with and having to then ask the friend I was going to travel with to pick it up for me and meet me at the train station, we were finally on our way.

Just a casual French library built into an old church

We took the train to Québec City, our first stop. We arrived quite late (because the train was late as well, of course) at the apartment of our Airbnb hosts, wo I tried my very best French with, through which I realized that I’d become quite rusty during half a year of just English. Everyone tried speaking English, but when you travel around eastern Canada, I really would recommend either an excellent French dictionary or freshening up your French before you go.

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Québec itself was just wonderful, like a mini Europe in the middle of North America, which goes for both architecture and food (oh, the crêpes, the marvelous crêpes).

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North America is roadtrip land. It’s got huge stretches of nature that Europeans are simply not used to – our ancestors just decided we wouldn’t need it. This makes Canada and the US just perfect for taking the car and seeing where you end up. In our case, that was quite a few national parks. Airbnb really is your best friend here, because often there just isn’t any other type of accomodation in these regions that are not used to tourism whatsoever. With all of our hosts in those secluded places we experienced that legendary Canadian friendliness that truly isn’t a myth.

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Moose warnings were a re-occuring theme

We drove to hikes where a pile of wolf fur on the ground made us jumpy the entire way and to beaches where there was nobody else.

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One of the highlights definitely was Prince Edward Island. I’ve rarely ever seen a place that looks that much like a postcard. It didn’t hurt that it was always sunny and the ocean was close, either. nationalpark 3.jpg

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Because so few people live there, there’s almost nobody on the roads and if you have a car with a glass roof that you can take down, you can have your Hollywood moment of standing up and poking your upper body through the hole with wind in your hair and your hands up towards the sun (don’t do it when you’re driving too fast though, it’s a lot less steady than Hollywood makes it look).

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All of that plus the fresh, amazing food (if you eat seafood, I’ve been told this is your heaven – but they grow good plants too 😉 ) makes this place an absolute treat that – thankfully – isn’t swarmed with tourists yet.

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All those endless stretches of gorgeous nature, the happy and welcoming people that live in between and the food on the road (veganizable thanks to our lord and saviour Tim Hortons) make a roadtrip through Canada a unique experience. I don’t know what it is, but something about empty roads, blasting music and relying only on a car makes you feel perfectly free.


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