Wednesday, May 17, 2006

BMM and the Atlantic Ocean

From one ocean to another - I have now travelled 17,626km by train. I have travelled all the way from Montréal to the west coast of the USA. And then two weeks ago, I said farewell to the Pacific Ocean in Vancouver, BC, and returned across the breadth of Canada on board the trains of VIA Rail. So as I stand on the windswept rocks of Peggy's Cove on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, I can take a deep breath of salty (and very windy) sea air and celebrate a landmark point in my trip. I certainly can't claim to have seen all of it, but I have now crossed Canada from coast to coast.

Being an Englishman, I have a much closer connection to the Atlantic than the Pacific, which I saw for the first time on this trip. And while I couldn't help liking the beautiful scenery of southern and northern California, Oregon, Washington state and British Columbia, it's good to be back beside the Atlantic, looking out in the vague direction of Europe, and that low lying little island that I call my real home. The Atlantic strikes me as much wilder than the Pacific, and certainly the coastline along here suggests much less placid winters. But it appeals to me somehow, deep down inside. If I were to ever return to Canada to settle for more than one year, I would be very tempted by one of the small towns we have visited here in coastal Nova Scotia.

I arrived in Halifax on the afternoon of Monday 14 May, and I will be taking the last train of my month long adventure on Friday 19 May, when BMM and I head back to Montréal. She's been kind enough to fly here from England, so excuse me if I gloss over the intervening days - after two nights in Halifax we have rented a big fat American car, and are exploring the southern half of Nova Scotia. The trip continues on the rails on Friday.