So here we are back in Canada again, this time for a very specific purpose in addition to catching up with friends and family. As you know by now, we have applied for a Portuguese Residency Visa which is a requirement prior to getting a Residency Permit. We will explain the full process in a later post, once we have received our visas (fingers crossed).
Probably the first thing we noticed upon our arrival in Nova Scotia in late June was how clean and green everything was! It is quite a contrast to the previous five months.
The first three weeks of our time here has been pretty hectic but there were several things we wanted to / needed to get done. With the help of a large rental van we said goodbye to our storage locker in Dartmouth and have stored all of our remaining possessions at Tim’s parents house in Yarmouth. This frees up $145 a month which we will enjoy more at the cafes in Lagos.
Our driving started by making the trip to Yarmouth in the van with a stopover in the Annapolis Valley to visit Anne’s Mom and sister. Every time we are back in Nova Scotia there are a plethora of logistics to look after, mail to sort, and appointments to book. This time will be no exception but much of what we are doing now is in preparation for the move to Portugal in late August, so with a clear goal it does make some of the tedious bits more enjoyable.
After a down day we headed back to Halifax where we loaded the van with the remaining stuff from the locker and headed to Sackville, New Brunswick where our son is currently attending university. This is also where we will be based for the time we are here. It is an older home he is sharing with four others, but everyone is away for the summer and it has everything we need. The town itself is very pleasant and has all of the basics within easy reach.
Another drive back to Halifax to exchange the van for a rental car which we will keep until we leave. Then it was off to Ottawa, a 1225 km drive each way to apply for our visa at the Portuguese Embassy. The applications have to be done in person at the Embassy or one of the three Consulates in Canada.
One of the big differences in Canada from both Europe and Latin America is that most travel is done by car. Eastern Canada in particular is not well served by train or bus and air fares are expensive. So it didn’t seem unrealistic to jump in the car and drive across three provinces for our appointment. Road trip! The highways are all good, the traffic is light and we are very comfortable traveling here.
This wasn’t a sightseeing trip and we had a purpose so we stuck to the larger but less scenic highways through New Brunswick and Quebec. Buoyed by good tunes and coffee we had a great time even with the many hours of driving. The hours passed quickly enough with a few pit stops along the way and we were soon in Quebec City. This attractive city makes a wonderful place to visit for several days but we have been before so we turned it down in favour of a small village a little further on.
Fortune smiled on us and we found a wonderful B&B, the Auberge de Manoir Dauth in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Perade, a small village we had never heard of along the Riviere Sainte-Anne.
We chose the less busy route along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River mainly to avoid the busy traffic and summer construction around Montreal.
Returning to Ottawa for something other than work was a treat, and we arrived amidst the preparations for the big Canada Day celebrations the following weekend. We loved our suite at The Albert at Bay Suite Hotel which we have stayed at before and highly recommend as a downtown hotel. The city was bright with flags and Canada 150 signs everywhere. We are always proud to be Canadian but walking on Parliament Hill with the busloads of tourists did give us a lump in our throats. A large plate of ribs also filled our stomachs that evening.
We won’t say much in this post about our meeting at the Portuguese Embassy except that it went very well, and we left very excited and positive.
So much so that we stayed an extra night to enjoy the city, our suite, and a great Thai meal. The extra costs were justified by driving the entire way back home to Sackville in one day – 13 hours. Good planning or happenstance, that day was Sunday so we enjoyed light traffic and absolutely no highway construction the entire day.
As most of you know 2017 is a year long celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Canada’s Confederation known as Canada 150. Being back for the summer months during this year has been an added bonus for us. There are many events to take in, but more importantly it has already reminded us of how fortunate we were to be born Canadians and to spend most of our lives here. Extensive traveling has also driven home that fact and we won’t forget our native country and the tolerance, acceptance, and generosity that are such integral parts of the Canadian way of life.
So it was very fitting to spend the Canada Day weekend with family. A short three hour drive and we were back in the Annapolis Valley to spend the afternoon with Anne’s Mother and sister at the special Canada Day celebration at the Evergreen Home for Special Care where they both live now. Walking into the large dining hall with Canada balloons, flags, tablecloths and everyone dressed in red and white was truly beautiful. A local band appropriately named “The Fogies” had everyone clapping and swaying right through to the closing with Oh Canada.
Yarmouth is often described as the tropics of Nova Scotia, and while it enjoys milder winters the down side is the damp and cool conditions experienced in much of the summer. Oh and did we mention the fog? Tim grew up here and Anne grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland so neither of us are strangers to fog and damp weather. But it would have been nice to see the sun on the holiday weekend. That wasn’t to be however.
Regardless, we enjoyed a barbeque, hanging out in the garage, a few glasses of wine, seeing friends and family and overall just relaxing together. The fireworks were cancelled as was the pancake breakfast but the farmers market went ahead and overall we had a great weekend poking around this historic seaside town, seeing the sights, enjoying good food and just being Maritimers again for a few days.
We are back in Sackville again and feel as rested as we have in a long time. We are thoroughly enjoying our temporary house and home town, getting organized and feeling very excited about our upcoming adventure and move to Portugal.