Fun Times at the Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is well known for extreme tides and the rock formations that result from the tidal erosion. The thing about tides is, they kind of just happen without regard to your travel plans and when you plan to be near the water. We had a bit of a late start leaving Halifax (which you can read about here) and so missed the low tide in the morning when we arrived at Hopewell Cape on the Bay of Fundy in the afternoon. (You can learn about the technical aspect of the tides here and check out the tidal timing here.) Luckily for us, there are two high and two low tides each day, that’s semidiurnal for those in the know.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

We arrived just after high tide and walked around to the various viewpoints to take pictures. The views were good, but not quite the awe-inspiring vision we had in mind and saw during our online research.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

With the two high and low tides each day there is about six hours separating each extreme. The tides here are considered the highest in the world. Twice each day 160 billion tonnes of water flows in and out of the Bay of Fundy. The tides peak at around 16 metres (50 feet) which is as high as a five-story building!

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Having seen the bay at high tide which meant that a few walkways were barred off and covered in water, we expected the landscape to change dramatically at low tide. We had planned ahead and knew we would have a bit of a wait, and so enjoyed a picnic in the afternoon sun while the tides were changing.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

A few short hours later we headed back to the viewpoints on the Bay of Fundy and were awestruck at how much everything had changed. Where did all of the water go?

 

Low Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

The tide movement is even more spectacular when you compare high and low tide moments next to each other.

 

High Tide

 

High Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

Low Tide

 

Low Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

High Tide

 

High Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

Low Tide

 

Low Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

We were able to walk around the newly exposed seafloor and take pictures as the sun began to set in the distance.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Shop Bettina's Look:

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

The extreme tides here are very special to see and you won’t believe it until you see it yourself!

Not far away from Hopewell Cape is the village of Alma, which experiences the extreme tides right in its harbour.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Fisherman here definitely are aware of the tides and store their boats on stands! How they got the boats on the stands in the first place is beyond me.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

We really enjoyed our evening drive along the Bay of Funday and south to Saint John as the setting sun brought new views around each bend in the road and revealing the beauty of the Canadian Maritime Province.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Bettina was especially smitten with the fields of daisies.

 

Field of Daisies New Brunswick

 

Field of Daisies New Brunswick

 

Field of Daisies New Brunswick

 

We arrived in Saint John late in the evening and needed to leave fairly early for our long drive back to Boston. Even though it’s not usually our strong suit, we managed to get up early in order to take a short walk around the city before heading out.

 

Sunrise in Saint John

 

Sunrise in Saint John

 

Morning Walk in Saint John

 

We enjoyed walking around the Saint John harbour the most. There is no doubt that the waterfront would be buzzing with life on warm summer afternoons or any time after 8am, which is when we were there.

 

Morning Walk in Saint John

 

We even spotted Theodore Tugboat on vacation from Halifax this summer.

 

Theodore Tugboat in Saint John

 

Our drive back to Boston was fairly uneventful. We wanted to leave with lots of extra time as border waits and holiday traffic can be unpredictable. We spent a grand total of 2 minutes waiting in line to cross the border, and stopped at the nearest gas station to fill up the car where we met this friendly Canadian ready to celebrate the Fourth of July!

 

Dog with Hat and Glasses in Convertible

 

Would you go on a trip over Fourth of July to get more use of your day off? Or would you fear you’re missing out on celebrations at home? Let us know in the comments below!

 


 

New Brunswick in June

Kyle and I decided to make the most out of July 4th - and spend it in Canada! 🙂 All joking aside, July 4th was the perfect time for us to go on a slightly longer trip as we could use the holidays as our day off and could save some PTO. Never having been to Canada's East Coast before, we decided to fly to Boston using the Southwest Companion Pass and drive north to explore the Canadian Maritime provinces - starting with New Brunswick.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

We got to Boston late on Friday evening and left the city heading North early the next morning. Having a 7 hour drive ahead and not knowing whether the border crossing was going to add additional travel time, we tried to get out as early as possible.

Of course, we couldn't hit the road without our mandatory stop at Starbucks...

 

 

...and some ice cream at Gifford's Famous Ice Cream. I went for the raspberry sorbet and must say it was really delicious.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Once we drove past Portland, civilization began to wane and we were more and more surrounded by trees and nothing else.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Very much to our surprise, we didn't see a single sign indicating that we were about to leave the United States and cross an international border into Canada. until about 1km away. If you weren't paying attention as to where you were driving, you could be in for quite the surprise! I was even more excited when we finally arrived in Canada and were greeted by familiar moose signs. Most people don't know this but New Brunswick is the only Canadian province which is officially bilingual and as such, all signs must be in English and French. "Attention" works out quite nicely for the French and English moose among us. 🙂

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Just before sunset, we arrived in Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick, and wandered around to explore the historic old town. Fredericton is a quaint Canadian city and definitely has a European feel to it.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Shop My Look

 

My purse is from a Chicago-based online boutique called White Elephant Designs.

My necklace is from GLDN and was a birthday present. I've been wearing it almost every day since.

 

 

New Brunswick in June

 

I enjoyed walking around the old streets, reading about some Canadian history, and watching everyone and their mother gather in the town square, getting ready for the Canada Day celebrations.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

We still had a two-hour drive ahead of us until we reached our final destination for the day and hit the road again, but not before stopping by a Tim Hortons and getting an espresso to keep us awake for the rest of the drive.

 

 

 

It was long day of driving but we were sure happy to be back (home) in Canada!

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Have you been to the Canadian East Coast? What was your favourite Province? Let us know in the comments below!

 


 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

Kyle and I are both planners. When it comes to trips though, Kyle definitely has the lead and plans our itinerary which results in me often not knowing where exactly we're going. I didn't know much about the Lake Taupo area and thus didn't know what to expect. But just like the rest of New Zealand, it completely took my breath away with its lush rolling hills and crystal blue waters.

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

We arrived in Taupo very late the night before, driving from Napier after a night of wine tasting and dinner (in this order!) and checked in at the Hilton Lake Taupo. Read about the geothermal wonderland and wine tasting here. Due to Kyle's Hilton Honors status, we were promised complimentary breakfast and decided to get up early and take advantage of their offer and their spa facilities. Half asleep still, we stumbled out of our room to make our way to the breakfast hall only to be greeted by the most amazing views!

 

Hilton Lake Taupo - Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

It was a cool and brisk morning so we chose to have breakfast right by the fireplace.

 

Hilton Lake Taupo - Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Hilton Lake Taupo - Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Hilton Lake Taupo - Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

It was heaven on earth, followed by more blissfulness as we headed to the sauna.

 

Hilton Lake Taupo - Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Hilton Lake Taupo - Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Hilton Lake Taupo - Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Our entire stay at the Hilton Lake Taupo exceeded all our expectations and we highly recommend them should you find yourself in the Lake Taupo area.

Before running for the hills (well driving in our case, see our driving route here), we explored the area around Taupo and had to stop at Huka Falls which were a short 10 minute drive away from the hotel...

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Shop My Look

... and went for a stroll on the beach where we met up with some locals who were extraordinarily friendly.

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

The area around Lake Taupo impressed us with lush, rolling hills, crystal blue waters, and snow-covered mountains in the far distance. It reminded both of us very much of our respective home countries, Switzerland and Canada, and it immediately felt like home.

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

One destination you can't miss when you're on the North Island in New Zealand is seeing the Glowworm Caves in Waitomo. Everyone we met along the way was raving about the caves so we decided to take a tour. Right at the beginning of the tour, we were told that the cave was recently flooded due to heavy rainfalls and that over half of the glowworm population was killed. And to add on top of that, picture taking was limited to protect the animals. That being said,  taking pictures without flash of tiny blue dots is really quite difficult!

Slightly disappointed about the prospects, we entered the cave which by itself was already very impressive! After a brief introduction to the cave,we got on a motorless boat and were immersed in total darkness.

 

Glowworm Cave Waitomo - Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Once our eyes had adjusted to the dark environment, the rocks above us started to light up with millions of little blue lights. It was one of the most magical things I have ever seen!  This picture doesn't even come close to doing it any justice as it was taken with an iphone camera from a moving boat, but it gives you an idea. Check out this video by Stoked for Saturday Lifestyle which really captures the magic.

 

Glowworm Cave Waitomo - Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

We can't recommend doing the Glowworm Cave tour enough!

 

Breakfast at Lake Taupo, Dinner at the Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

 

Under the light of the full moon, we drove to our last destination on this trip - Auckland. Have you been to a glowworm cave? If not, is it on your list? Let us know in the comments below!

 


 

Easter 2018: Introduction

This year we spent Easter going back to familial roots, and enjoying entirely too much wine and food along the way. How we planned this trip is a pretty good example of the unconventional way we go about our travelling. I would like to say that we were making our life-long dreams come true with a romantic weekend in Venice (which is partially true), though in reality this trip was a spur of the moment booking - seven months in advance.

 

 

Allow me to explain.

It all started when I was groggily waking up one weekend in late August and was mindlessly scrolling through my news feed on my phone. I came across a flight deal on @TheFlightDeal that had just been posted for Air Canada business class from select cities in the US to select cities in Europe starting at around $1,000USD roundtrip. That is business class at near economy prices, and too good of a deal to pass up. I quite literally jumped out of bed to grab my laptop and begin the search to see if the deal was still live (deals like this one disappear very quickly as everyone wants to take advantage of it) and if I could find an itinerary that we could fit into our schedule. Unfortunately, there were no deals out of Chicago, but they were plentiful out of Boston. We weren’t really planning to book any long trips that morning, but the thing is when you find a deal this good you have to book it fast. We settled on booking flights for late March, which would coincide with Easter where we could potentially meet up with Bettina’s family while in Europe. I began my search around those dates and found a few itineraries that might work to Amsterdam, Rome, and a few other cities in Europe. All options were restricted by having to leave on a Tuesday, and with a minimum 7 day stay in Europe. Once we found flights that worked I typed all of our information in as quickly as I could and we were able to successfully book business class from Boston to Amsterdam, return, with a short layover in Toronto both ways. At $1,020 each for a lieflat seat and as much as we could eat and drink, we were not complaining.

It wasn’t until a few months later that we solidified the rest of the trip and coordinated with Bettina’s family. We were going to meet them in Venice for two days before driving to the Dolomite mountain range, which is about 2 hours north, to spend Easter relaxing in the town where Bettina’s mom spent every summer of her childhood. As we were arriving in Europe a few days before they were able to meet us in Italy, we decided to add on a short side-trip to Belgium, which believe it or not, Bettina had never been to. We were able to secure pretty good flight prices this far in advance flying from Brussels to Venice and returning to Amsterdam.

We still had one problem to solve though. How would we possibly get to Boston? Given that it’s a U.S. destination and a major city, it was the perfect use of our Southwest Companion Pass. We again were able to get a reasonable price on flights by booking far in advance. We also planned to head there a few days before our international flights and tagged on a New England road trip for good measure. Here is what our final itinerary looked like:

 

 

Late in January, we received an update from Air Canada. Updates usually mean the flight itinerary changed and we were worried this change would disrupt our complicated trip. The good news was our flights from Toronto to Amsterdam had been updated from an older Airbus A330 to their brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The bad news: Our originally booked flights had been cancelled and the auto-booked itinerary was completely messed up and illogical. With a call to Air Canada to resolve, we learned that our originally scheduled flight from Toronto to Amsterdam was cancelled on Tuesday, but we could alternatively fly the same itinerary, just one day earlier. An extra day in Europe for no charge? Yes please!

What we ended up flying:

 

 

Not for the faint hearted if you don’t enjoy flying – but that’s not a problem for us. As our return connection in Boston was unprotected (i.e. two separate tickets on two separate airlines – if the first flight is delayed and you miss the second, you don’t get reimbursed for your flight or rescheduled, tough luck) we had booked a fairly comfortable 4 hours buffer. However, Southwest decided to add a little fun to the mix in late February by rescheduling their last flight of the day from Boston to Chicago two hours earlier, and giving us just 2 hours to make our unprotected connection, at the mercy of weather delays, normal delays, running time between terminals, and security lines. Despite 45 minutes of weather delays on the actual flight day, we made our connection without issue! If we were travelling with checked luggage, it might have been another story, but we always try to travel with carry-ons only (see Bettina’s post here on making it work).

In March, a few weeks before the trip, when people inevitably began asking us where our next trip was it was a bit difficult to decide how to respond. “Venice” was the go-to answer. Sometimes that’s just easier to say, and also helps to avoid the looks we get when saying “Boston, Burlington, Portland, Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, Venice, and the Dolomites.”

 

 

 

 

 

We felt like we really lucked out being able to book these flights! We were not only looking forward to the destination but the entire journey as well. Bettina usually dreads the flight back home, however she can’t wait to get on the plane if our flight home is in business class.


 

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