More of Prince Edward Island

Back to yesterday since it was too late last night. We started our day splendidly with a swim and a few shrieking waterslide rides (me, not Simon!) after Simon had done his homework. Then we set off to Anne of Green Gables house with a meandering drive along the coast where the waves were a little wilder than at Greenwich. It is hard to imagine the wild storms and long winters now that the sun is shining and the lupins are blooming on the side of the roads, pink and blue bursts of colour every now and again. We are too early for the fields of lupins and wild flowers which are normally blooming by now as the snow lay so long this winter.
The house which inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery was laid out as she described in Anne of Green Gables as was the farm, together with a film about LM Montgomery’s life. She wrote so well about life in the 1890s through Anne and in her 19 other books. Even though Anne of Green Gables is so greatly loved, perhaps her most interesting writing is in her journals with her insightful observations about the lives of women at that time and later as a wife and mother living through the First World War. We finished off by enjoying the beautiful walks through what Anne calls the Haunted Wood and also Lover’s Lane, she fails to mention the pesky mosquitoes when she is waxing lyrical about communing with nature!
With my trusty navigator we then made our way to see the Confederation Bridge as we realised that on our bus trip the bus won’t stop to let us take photos! I was very impressed by Simon’s new map reading skills, he told me where to go (!) and which towns we were approaching, this ability, we felt, was another unexpected bonus as a result of all his hard work at Arrowsmith! We talked about how he would have been distressed had I asked him to map read this time last year, where now he enjoyed doing it! Having seen the bridge, which is a truly magnificent sight, we made our way back to Charlottetown with Simon directing me perfectly through the winding hills and pretty farmland.
We found Piatto Pizza for an authentic Neapolitan margerita pizza to share for dinner.
And today we didn’t have time to start our day with a swim as we had booked “the taste of Charlottetown” walking tour. There was our guide, Bill, and us! He was so interesting and we spent three hours learning more about PEI, the food produced here and island life. We started at the Lobster Wharf, a restaurant and fish market. Bill showed us the not altogether obvious differences between male and female lobsters. Interestingly, females keep the sperm in their bodies for up to year until they think the conditions are right at which time they release their 10,000 eggs, they harbour the fertilised eggs until they turn into teeny lobsters and then let them go. At this point the teeny lobsters float so most are eaten either by birds from above and fish from below, only 2 to 4 (of the 10,000) becoming large enough through shedding their shells several times to grow heavy enough to sink and continue on with their lives. And then they grow more and then we eat them! Oh my, it doesn’t sound like a good life, does it? The lobster business together with mussels and oysters makes a huge contribution to the PEI economy, all of which are shipped all over North America. Both Simon and I were brave to taste an oyster and were surprised that they were quite nice – much sweeter and tastier than those I have previously tried. I was amazed that Simon was so game. Onto Liquid Gold where we tried some olive oils, not from PEI, and various balsamic vinegars – Simon loved trying them all! Then a micro brewery to try a blueberry ale in the Gahal ale house which was a former convent, Bill giving us what he called the Reader’s Digest version of the manufacture of ales. Another pub, The Dublin, and mussels this time, cooked in a classic fashion, delicious. Back to the Chip Shack – You again! said the lady there, more chips which were as delicious as the other day! Then to Dave’s Lobster, where I had to eat two lobster tacos as they were a bit spicy for Simon! All the while Bill kept up an interesting and informative commentary, a really great morning.
Back to our hotel for a quick swim before turning in our hire car before we headed back into downtown for a delightful evening. We sojourned to the roof terrace at Fishies on the Roof to relax with a pre-dinner drink and then made our way to Terre Rouge, a Bistro Marche, where I enjoyed one of the best meals I have ever eaten (and that I do not say lightly, having been very spoilt over the years). The description read Scallops and Mussels, dill gnocchi, arugula pesto, bacon, mushrooms, pickled parsnip, pinenuts – it was a beautiful combination of flavours and textures and I savoured every mouthful! Off then to the musical of Anne of Green Gables – it was corny but heart-warming and a perfect rendition of the much loved story. Simon made this very pertinent observation afterwards when he said “I just realised now that in movies and musicals someone has to die for the other people to appreciate them”!
And on that now, we will see you in New Brunswick! We are going across the Confederation Bridge tomorrow.peterborough, PEI 096

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