after visiting the gotthard base tunnel, we continued to bellinzona to enjoy the rest of the day. in ticino, it was sunny as opposed to the fog north of the gotthard! we visited the castelgrande, explored the old town and had some nice thick hot chocolate and marroni cake.
posts for 2016.
on friday, we took the special train gottardino through the new gotthard base tunnel, where we had a chance to explore parts of the sedrun underground station which will in the future only be available for emergency stops.
first, we took a boat tour from lucerne to flüelen. the weather in the german part of switzerland wasn't very awesome, but we got some nice cloudly looks.
in flüelen we boarded the gottardino, which took us into the mountain to the sedrun station. the station had a lot of information material and a film about the base tunnel. it was around 30 degrees centigrade, and so pretty enjoyable in a t-shirt.
after a 45 minutes stopover, we finally continued via train to the south gate of the tunnel and stopped in biasca, where we left the train with some souvenirs:
the south shore of nova scotia has some beautiful and/or funny gems. on the beautiful side, there's the the hawk beach almost at the southern tip of nova scotia.
on the funny side, there are west berlin and east berlin, two little communities originally named "blueberry" and "pudding pan".
on the very touristic side is peggy's cove. in fact, it is so touristic that it is swamped by busloads of tourists. we ended up just taking a quick look and then driving away, and exploring its surroundings instead. there's a lot of very beautiful nature around it!
finally, we saw lunenburg, another historic town, currently hosting the bluenose ii sailing ship.
brier island is the westernmost point of nova scotia, a place you can only reach by taking two ferries. it has a beautiful harbor and features whale wathching tours, where we were finally able to see some whales, in this case humbpack whales. humpback whales are so majestic, except that their blow stinks
further west we visisted the burntcoat head park, adjacent to the bay of fundy, where the highest tidal range was measured with a mean spring range of 14.5 meters and a maximum of 16.3 meters. on low tide you can walk on the ocean floor and see the coastline many meters above you. it's really amazing!
on the west coast of minas basin we had another chance to walk on the ocean floor while the water was retreating. opposed to the mudflats in northern germany, the ground here is more rocky and you can easily follow the water without ruining your shoes completely.
this area belongs to the annapolis valley, which is a very fertile and green landscape with a lot of agriculture, in particular apple orchards. you can also find a lot of wild apple in the area, for example in the blomidon provincial park. the area also has nova scotia's only zoo, the oaklawn farm zoo, featuring a large variety of animals, including several big cats, three of which (cougar, jaguar, siberian tiger) you can see below.
the topmost tip of nova scotia is cape breton island, connected to the mainland by the canso causeway. on it, the cape breton highlands national park can be found, which is crossed by the cabot trail. we spent some time in the town of bay st. lawrence at the northern tip of the island.
we tried a whale watching tour in bay st. lawrence, but unfortunately weren't able to see any whales. what we did see were some northern gannets and seals, though:
back on the mainland we visited arisaig northumberland shore, a provincial park with old stone formations and some fossils.
in nova scotia, we started with exploring its capital halifax.
our personal highlight was a tour with the harbour hopper, an amphibious vehicle traveling by land and by sea, as well as the pier 21 national historic site, hosting an immigration museum.
we also visited cape shore on the south-west tip of the avalon peninsula.
cape shore hosts the cape st. mary's ecological reserve with its bird rock, which at this time of the year mostly hosts a northern gannet colony. it is really impressive to stand there and see all these birds sitting on the rocks, and a lot of them flying around you all the time.
the next town is st. bride's, a small fishertown where we stayed and enjoyed a beautiful sunset at the beach.
south of st. john's is the town of witless bay, where we stayed and also enojyed a puffin watching tour in the witless bay ecological reserve. another highlight is the ferryland lighthouse picnic, located near ferryland, where you can order a gourmet picnic in the old lighthouse and then enjoy it on the great landscape surrounding the landscape.
the easternmost tip of newfoundland is cape spear, featuring fortifications from the beginning of the previous century as well as an old and a new lighthouse.
the town of st. john's features many colorful old buildings, and a large choice of shops and restaurants which is hard to find outside st. john's.
signal hill is located north-east of st. john's, overlooking the harbor entrance, with the cabot tower on its highest point: