Retrospect Travel Log: North East America
Read this on galpod.com.
This travel log will be a bit different to the previous ones in the sense that I find the US and Canada much less adventurous than, say, Thailand or even Sweden because I do speak the language and I’m familiar with the culture. But, it was a grand trip and I do want to write about it. It would be more of a “how I felt during the trip” rather than a “what we saw during the trip” kind of log.
We started with Cape Cod, which we were a bit reluctant to go to as it’s very much a stereotypical American capitalist dream. The people are all happy, well built with a clearly defined jawline and/or just the right curves. It turned us off right away. But we have friends with summer houses there and they are generally good people so we visited them mostly.
While we were there, we took a ferry to Nantucket. I was excited about Nantucket because of Moby Dick, obviously. It’s a lovely little island. The best line of the guided walking tour: “and so [person who built the rail line] charged 35p per ticket as opposed to the 5p a regular train ticket cost, thus establishing the Nantucket pricing model.”
We were very much jetlagged in Nantucket but it’s still pretty.
We also visited Provincetown, which has gorgeous views and is a fun town.
By the end of our stay in Cape Cod, I sort of understood why people pay all this money. If you ignore all the Americanism, it’s a beautiful beautiful stretch of beach. You can hear the seals chatter in the morning, and I would love to go back and spend a week on that beach, doing nothing all day. Maybe not a week, but you know what I mean.
From Cape Cod, we returned to Boston. I have very few pictures from Boston because my partner who usually takes the pictures was working for three days. The kids and I, meanwhile, went to see whales. We took a 1.5-hour boat (well, ship, it’s quite big) there and back to see whales for 15 minutes. They were gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but was it worth the nausea? I don’t know. The kids and I also visited the aquarium (highlight: touch tank with rays and sharks; lowlight: ten thousand small children on summer camps) and the science museum (not as exciting as the London one).
Here’s the mandatory Boston picture.
We also had to do laundry while on this trip. In Boston I found myself doing laundry at a laundromat, reading my book while waiting for the dryer to finish. I’m almost inspired to write a kids' book about the portals to different lands that exist inside the dryers. Almost.
From Boston, we drove north towards Mount Washington in New Hampshire, where we stayed for a couple of days. We drove to the summit and then hiked to this little hut called lakes in the clouds. As you can see, it derives its name from the lakes and the clouds.
The summit itself was shrouded in clouds so I don’t have a lot of photos but going down a bit we basically went under the cloud cover.
It’s hands down my favourite part of the trip. I would have hiked in these mountains for three weeks and would have been happy. Unwashed, but happy.
We also popped into Lost River Gorge, and together with the giftshop on Mount Washington summit, these qualified as the worst touristification I’ve seen. I had a debate with myself about access vs taming nature and I get that we want people to access nature but I mean, honestly, look at it.
Reminds me of a circus bear shackled to perform tricks. It’s a topic I might return to later on, mind.
From there, we drove up to Montreal. It’s a beautiful city but the kids were quite experienced-out. The good news was they were happy to stay in the hotel room while my partner and I explored the old city. It’s more… colonialist than I remembered it. It was interesting. Anyways, we did see some pretty cool street art. It’s apparently all the rage now.
We drove from Montreal to Ottawa, our old home. We met old friends and even took the kids to their old daycare. It was fun, nostalgic, and did not create the urge to return. So that’s good.
From Ottawa, we continued on to friends with cottages. A cottage is a thing in Canada. Almost everyone (from a middle-class socioeconomic status) spends significant amounts of the summer in a cottage they own or a family member owns or a friend owns. So we visited two such friends with cottages and it was absolutely lovely.
Several times over these days I wondered why we couldn’t be like normal people, go to the cottage for three weeks, play board games and go on the lake and just hang out. We are not, apparently, normal. But then, this week I picked up The Artist’s Way again (I’m on week 11, took a month break because of an irregular schedule), and she says this: “As artists, we are travellers.” She also says: “‘Can’t I rest?’ We wonder. In a word, the answer is no.” So, that explains that.
We finished our grand tour with Niagara falls and Niagara On The Lake. The falls are awe-striking.
Niagara on the lake… a bit less. But it was a nice place to recuperate a bit from our travels.
This trip was different on several levels, as I mentioned at the top. One thing that struck me was that in every place we visited I imagined what it would be like to live there. A cabin in the woods, a cottage on the lake. Except in the cities, where I didn’t think so much about how it would be like to live there as I did about how not to get hit by traffic. And in Ottawa, I did neither, because I know that city well and I don’t want to return. I mean, visit, sure, but going back there to live will be… going backwards rather than forward. And, at least right now, I’m all about moving forward.
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