Charlottetown, Festivals, Franconia, Germany, lobster, Moncton, Moose, NB, PEI, Petitcodiac, Reykjavik, Travel, wines
I am constantly amazed at the amount of people who simply do not believe anything is wrong with the climate. Winter started in PEI in early November, it was not a snowy Winter, it was mostly ice rain and high winds. April was rain and more rain, May not much better so far with one warm day. The Weather is so out of wack that farmers cannot plant anything the fields are mud, big sticky red mud. Tourists are staying away given the cold around the freezing point and rain weather. Of course the joke is that PEI only has 2 Seasons, Winter and Summer, in Quebec its Winter and Construction.
So last week I decided to travel off Island to Moncton, New Brunswick which is all of 2 hours away by car and across the Sea bridge of 12 Km. Going was not bad in terms of driving but coming back 2 days later the wind was high so crossing the Sea bridge, you are 350 feet above the Sea, I had both hands gripping the steering wheel and all the big transport trucks 18 wheelers were in convoys. It is a 2 lane bridge and you cannot go any faster than 80km per hour, but with high winds around 60 miles per hour you do not want to go fast.
Moncton is poorly planned or not planned at all, shopping malls everywhere, a new COSTCO by the highway, a very beautiful river crosses the city with lots of marshland all around, because of the muddy banks it is called the Chocolate river or by its real name Petitcodiac river and it has a very powerful tidal wave coming all the way from Shepody Bay (Bay of Fundy) some 52 Km away. Moncton also has 2 Universities so lots of academic stuff and students. I stayed in Dieppe a suburb of Moncton but you could confuse the two since only a street separates the two cities. Also a large airport serves the area which is handy if you want to fly to other large Canadian cities and cannot do so from Charlottetown PEI.
I saw friends in Moncton and went for lunch to a very nice Café called Tony’s, tonysbistro.ca the food was excellent and they have the most wonderful French pastry shop. I really do not know anymore if COSTCO is all that worth it, I cannot say I saved much money. The real bargain is cheese, for the quantity and price it is unbeatable. Cheese in Canada in general is so expensive that I wonder why they do not have armed guards in supermarkets. After 30 minutes of shopping I had to get out, I was feeling tired by the place.
Chocolate river or Petitcodiac river.
Since I was staying with friends, I brought them Lobsters, now of course you will think don’t they have lobster in New Brunswick, of course they do BUT it is coastal lobster fished in the Strait whereas my lobster is fished in the Gulf on the open sea side of PEI. The taste fishermen tell me is different because of the salt water content. I am not a big lobster eater and will have one per year. However I bought mine at the Water Prince restaurant across the street from my home and Shane and his son Cody sell wonderful seafood. The lobsters were each 2 pounders, the meat was rich and creamy, very good and at $11. per pound well worth it. Now I bought them cooked because I do not know how to cook them in Salt Water and you have to know how to do it. Salt Water in the cooking is very important, many people make the mistake of cooking lobster in unsalted water, big mistake as it changes the taste and the quality of the meat. The best way is to take the water straight from the Sea.
This was my lobster, please note the long antennas which indicates that this lobster was well fed and very fresh. If the antennas are damaged or missing, that is a bad sign, lobster if they are hungry and have no food, will eat their antennas.
Going to Moncton was fun and seeing my friends was a nice brake from the Island. We will be travelling again in June but this time to Ottawa for a week. A first return trip since we left 3 years ago. We are driving 14 hours, but we will need the car in town anyways. I also visited Memramcook (Micmac language meaning Crooked river) which is the birthplace of the first French Language University in the Maritime Provinces, U de Moncton. The Eudistes Fathers opened the university in 1864, the village of Memramcook is ancient, the Micmac indians have lived there since the beginning of time and the French speaking Acadians arrived in 1700. They were deported by British colonial troops coming mostly from the Boston area in 1755. However those who survived the ethnic cleansing returned after 1765. It remains an important historical and cultural site for the Acadians.
Whenever you travel on the highways in N.B. you have to be mindful that the vast forests all around you are full of Moose, you do not want an encounter with one of them, they are very large animals weighing often for a full grown male around one ton or a little more. There is a special number to call if you see one near the road and it is important to remember to stop if the Moose is on the road and stay well away from it. They can charge your car and will injure or kill you in the process if it is mating season.
Monument Lefebvre, first French speaking University in the Maritimes, now known as the Université de Moncton. These buildings are part of the National historical park now, the University moved to Moncton some years ago.
Coming back to Charlottetown, we had tickets to go to the Wine Festival held at this time each year. This year was featuring German Wines, we bought a few bottles mostly of dry Rieslings and met with the owner of a winery in the Franconia region of Germany, Regina ZenZen (from the German word for Licence collector) a very nice lady and in her presentation she paired her wines, in this case a wonderful Silvaner with raw Tuna in a light acidic vinaigrette, the chef was Mitchell from Claddagh Oyster House in Charlottetown, one of my favourite restaurant. Mitchell is a great guy only 28 but talented.
We are also now booking a 7 day cruise with Holland America from Amsterdam to Norway, we will spend some time in Holland, I want to re-visit the Rijks Museum now that the renovations are completed. We will also fly first to Iceland for a few days, there are direct flights from Montreal to Reykjavik on our way to join the cruise in September. Other than that we lead a dull life.