The preparation phase for our long term vacation started in 2019 during our vacation in Mahone Bay. At that time I found a reference to a rental property in Mahone Bay for the winter time. And what a surprise - it was "our" house, in which we had already spent a total of 5 months from the end of December to the end of May in 2014. We immediately contact the owner in order to be able to spend the next vacation there. Thought, done: A few days later we met Bruce and Lisa in front of the Beach House. A short walk through the condo and we were sure that this is our home for the next winter vacation. The rest of this initial planning was therefore done quickly - the rental agreement was made for the period from October 1st 2020 to May 30th 2021.
That was the planning. But then Corona hit the world! And the planning became very intensive and sometimes a bit annoying - something in the Corona regulations was constantly changing. But initially everything worked out - flight with Condor booked in Premium Class, car booked through ADAC. Actually, we only could have started packing the suitcases.
But it was only at the beginning of 2020. But then the bitter news came from Condor - the airline went bankrupt, then our flights were canceled due to Corona. So the car for the 2020 vacation was also canceled and we spoke to our landlords. It was agreed to simply postpone the rental period by exactly 12 months.
So our vacation destination was: Nova Scotia ... we are coming, but not until October 2021. But until then, a lot of time and a lot of paperwork and errands had to pass. Due to the time shift, our eTa had to be renewed. Actually, we didn't expect any problems at this point - but it turned out to be an uphill battle. My eTa application takes approx 5 minutes with filling-in-sending-paying-and the confirmation. Then Gabi's proposal came ... and it took some time. And then - no confirmation, but more information should be given. To do this, an account had to be created, which (initially) worked without any problems.
All the necessary information was provided, as was the case in the application from 5 years ago. Then the new page is called up and there should then be visible what forms / entries should still be sent.
But we could not register - each time the message came up that there was no data record. So I sent an email to the CBSA - an answer came straight away. But only an automated one that didn't fix the problem. 2. Mail sent and our problem described again - again there was a quick answer…. And again just an automated reply email. The 3rd mail with an answer did not change either.
By chance I ended up on a page of the CBSA, where I was able to provide some additional information ... .. and this time there was an answer that fixed the problem, because they sent a certain information from the application, which I then past and copy. And then I was on the side - just enough time had passed, because this described procedure with the various inquiries took over a week.
And what was missing now - we should just attach a copy / scan of the passport to the form. Great - we could have had that faster.
So passport scan, which we already had, sent again and after a few minutes the confirmation came that we can both enter Canada, i.e. the eTa is now valid for both of us.
First of all, it was time to take a deep breath. But who now thinks that it would have been because of problems ... ..no! There were other minor difficulties. The smallest task was renting the car again - no problem !? - But there is a problem. Booked - worked. Payment worked conditionally. The first booking, the payment with the card did not work, the second booking (because of the long time the entire booking time had to be split) was accepted without any problems.
Unusual ! Well - after several phone calls I was able to debit / pay 4 of the 6 partial bookings with a credit card, the remaining 2 are then transferred normally. It's funny.
But with that the next action in the direction of vacation was done. Now the flight followed - Condor was not (yet) possible - would have been nice because of the direct flight. But then we treated ourselves to a business class flight with Air Canada.
Unfortunately, no direct flight is possible there, so we decided to fly from Frankfurt via Montreal to Halifax. I had already picked out the flights that were right for us and then informed the travel agency. We had a 2.5 hour stay in Montreal, which in our opinion was time enough. Then came the first flight change - it was only 1.5 hours in Montreal - well - it was probably enough. But then there was another flight change - and then it was only 1 hour!
Completely impossible, since the Corona regulations took up a lot of time. After some changings we got the onward flight from Montreal to Halifax 8 hours 20 minutes later. A very long time, but better than if we might miss the onward flight.
This is how this booking was. And on it went - the arriveCan had to be installed and filled. And first of all a quarantine plan was requested / needed - and it was quite extensive at first. You needed a hotel room at the first place of arrival (i.e. Montreal) for 1-14 days - plus a delivery service that guarantees contactless delivery. So a plan was drawn up accordingly and a hotel was found and booked later, where we could cancel free of charge on the day of arrival if we were not sent into quarantine.
Then it worked. Hotel found and booked, delivery services found in the vicinity of the hotel.
Now wait until 72 hours before departure - the app could not be "filled" beforehand. Before doing this, have the required PCR test done quickly and then call up the arriveCan…. And at first very surprised.
Because what was supposed to be stated beforehand was no longer asked. I only gave my address at the actual vacation spot…. That's it already. After entering the required information, the result comes directly: for both of us an I = immunized!
That's how it should be. Thus the preparations were completed - Documents were available - the PCR test was negative, we also had the code for entry - just pack our bags and then we finally started the next day.
Part 2 - The journey begins
As in previous years, we drove to the hotel in Frankfurt the day before departure, where we stayed overnight so that we could take the flight completely relaxed.
But this time the hotel didn't work out as usual. Our plane left the next day at 10:10 am - means be at the airport at least 3 hours in advance. Actually no problem - there is a so-called "early riser breakfast" in the hotel between 4:00 am and 6:00 am. We have registered for this - but the nice lady at the reception said she will arrange it so that we can have the normal breakfast buffet at 05.45 am.
Sounded great - then quickly booked the shuttle bus for 6:15 a.m. - and then after a delicious dinner, the night rang in. The alarm clock rang quite early - afterwards to the buffet. But there was nothing - only one employee was there who said breakfast will be served later. Off to the reception…. after a while: a slightly thinned breakfast is set up. We got full - but that was it.
And then off to the shuttle that was already in front of the door. And the next surprise - the driver said he was not leaving until 6.30 a.m.
So back to the receptionagain - the driver was shown the "timetable", where it was clearly visible that the journey should start at 06.15.
It took a while and the driver finally took up his job and we drove off to the airport. We arrived there around 6.45am.
Now we are preparing for the long procedure of the coronavirus reviews. So we went to the Air Canada counter - a very friendly gentleman was there.
We gave them our carefully compiled documents. Vaccination certificate, arriveCan code, PCR test and the e-tickets for the flight and our passports were checked briefly - then the 3 suitcases with a total of 75 kg were checked in and that was it.
We got the boarding passes. And at 7 a.m. we were completely finished - wow! We would never have dreamed of that.
Then we first went to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge and waited there very comfortably for our flight. It was very relaxing.
Then we’re going for boarding - what can I say - business class really has an advantage. We got on the plane so quickly ... ..that was really great. Boarding was over at 10:21 am and we started at 10:30 am. So only 20 minutes after the stated departure time.
We were in the air for 1.5 hours when the starter was served - with a glass of champagne. It was delicious! Then the main course - very tasty. Especially everything on the right plate and no plastic cutlery or anything. For dessert there was cheese and fruit - and that was delicious too. About 1 hour 20 minutes before landing there was a small snack with rolls, pasta salad, fruit, and pralines.
And then already we landed in Montreal. When we arrived at the Airport, we had a slight stomachache, whether everything was going well and whether we were not among the “chosen ones” who had to do an additional PCR test.
So we first went to the "kiosk" - there we made all the information, had us photographed, had the receipt printed and then go to the first officer.
He only asked about the reason for our trip and told us that the extension of 2 months is OK. 2 minutes later we went to the 2nd officer - there again briefly said that we are only going on vacation ... and staying for 8 months. Then he said: Welcome to Canada!
And we went to 2 nice ladies who only asked us which language we understand best - English or French. And then the ladies only said: Welcome to Canada-have a nice stay here.
And we were able to continue our journey without further PCR tests etc. ... so we had arrived in Canada.
Now it was time to get around the long time until the connection flight to Halifax.
So we first go to Air Canada's Maple Lounge - it wasn't bad, but not as comfortable as Lufthansa’s. Nevertheless, the time went by.
While we were waiting, we canceled both hotel bookings, as no quarantine was necessary - it worked without any problems. The confirmation email came within 2 minutes.
And then the time had come - boarding for the flight to Halifax. Fortunately, as in 2014, we didn't have to pick up the luggage and then check it in again - the luggage was loaded directly onto the connecting plane.
Which wasn't in contrast to 2014 - we didn't have to go through the security check again.
Thanks to Business Class, we were again quickly on the plane, which took off only 6 minutes late. There was a small snack on this short flight, but that was enough.
At 10:48 p.m. arrival at Stanfield Airport in Enfield-Halifax. Our suitcases arrived a few minutes later - among the first 4 suitcases on the belt were our 3 suitcases!
Then to the officer there - arriveCan printout shown and that's it.
At 11.36 p.m. we were in our room in the ALT Hotel at the airport. Fortunately, we had booked a room there this time and didn't have to drive to Mahone Bay by car - that's about 90 kilometers - and after we had been on our feet for 24 hours (including the time difference), that was it Hotel accommodation is definitely the right thing to do.
After a short night we went to the Hertz counter at 9.45 am to pick up our booked car. Everything went very quickly and without any problems.
And then our first trip was to the KIWI Cafe in Chester. We wanted to have our breakfast there. However, we forgot it was the weekend. When we arrived we first had to wait for a free table. But hard to believe - when we got to the cafe, the owner saw us…. And came straight to us with the words: Hi, Klaus and Gaby - great to see you again. I think last time was for 2 years when you stay here. It's amazing that Lynda recognized us immediately - despite the mask.
And the older employee, whose name I somehow forgot, saw us - said hello. Then suddenly: Oh my God! You're back again! We were very surprised - but that's our KIWI Cafe and the reason why we come here very often for coffee or breakfast.
Unfortunately this time there was a little breakdown with the software - we had placed our order - and were waiting for the food. Suddenly the waitress came and asked in astonishment: Hasn't the meal arrived yet? Well - a small crash of the cash register system and ordering software had sent the last orders into nirvana. The waitress just said she was very sorry and the food came straight away. She left and then we heard the boss Lynda say to the waitress: You can't do that. The two have been our / my regular guests for 10 years! Then Lynda came to us and apologized and said: The food is on the house - no arguing! And we were really allowed to pay for the food.
After we had delicious food again, we drove to Nick’s Independent to buy the most important things there. And then it was time to move into our home in Mahone Bay.
Bruce and Lisa were already waiting and the takeover went very quickly. We then settled down and unpacked the suitcases.
Then a short walk through Mahone Bay and then relaxed in front of the TV before going to bed early. The next day, a Sunday, we drove to the mall in Bridgewater. There we did our first big purchase. After we are back at the house we had a cup of coffee and then went for a walk through the town. There was a lot to see, as the Scare Crow Festival was still taking place this weekend - the Scare Crows are then set up in front of many private houses and also shops and restaurants. A great idea that gives you a lot of photo objects. That was how Sunday ended.