Though it may not justify itself as an adventure similar to that of Christopher Columbus as he set sail from Castile, Spain in 1492 towards what was to become the New World, nonetheless the venture of Pierre and Marie-France from Ontario to their new residence in Newfoundland has all the hallmarks of voyage and discovery. Particularly in this era of prolonged pandemic isolation the prospect of an outing of this capacity is both novel and inspiring. It is a reminder not only of our need for engagement and activity but also of our sublime pleasure in newness and curiosity.
Christopher Columbus (born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an Italian explorer and navigator who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, opening the way for the widespread European exploration and colonization of the Americas. His expeditions, sponsored by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, were the first European contact with the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
The name Christopher Columbus is the Anglicization of the Latin Christophorus Columbus. Scholars generally agree that Columbus was born in the Republic of Genoa and spoke a dialect of Ligurian as his first language. He went to sea at a young age and travelled widely, as far north as the British Isles and as far south as what is now Ghana. He married Portuguese noblewoman Filipa Moniz Perestrelo and was based in Lisbon for several years, but later took a Castilian mistress; he had one son with each woman. Though largely self-educated, Columbus was widely read in geography, astronomy, and history. He formulated a plan to seek a western sea passage to the East Indies, hoping to profit from the lucrative spice trade. Following Columbus’s persistent lobbying to multiple kingdoms, Catholic monarchs Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II agreed to sponsor a journey west. Columbus left Castile in August 1492 with three ships, and made landfall in the Americas on 12 October (ending the period of human habitation in the Americas now referred to as the pre-Columbian era). His landing place was an island in the Bahamas, known by its native inhabitants as Guanahani. Columbus subsequently visited the islands now known as Cuba and Hispaniola, establishing a colony in what is now Haiti. Columbus returned to Castile in early 1493, bringing a number of captured natives with him. Word of his voyages soon spread throughout Europe.
For one such as I who is so inexorably allied with custom, the attraction of difference on even the slightest scale is qualified. Irreversible conduct is I have found normally the domaine of one of two strongly competing features; namely, fear or gusto. Fear is an expression of the caution, reservation and habit one intends to observe in the practice of mostly critical behaviour (though it can and does extend to immodest behaviour and undertakings). Fear is sometimes unjustifiably attributed to lack of intelligence or outright ignorance. It may however constitute a reliable (though perhaps less dynamic) measure by which to assess intended behaviour or literary representations. There is after all a reason law is so resistant to change.
Gusto on the other hand is traditionally a percolating chemistry which by definition is founded upon an exploitive and potentially hazardous buzz. Prospective thinking is by any sense a deciphering and illumination of what exists having the potential to enlarge and broaden one’s scope. Nor is it an accident that this Janus-faced contradiction is itself foundation for birth and travel in addition to constancy.
Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace. The gates of a building in Rome named after him (not a temple, as it is often called, but an open enclosure with gates at each end) were opened in time of war, and closed to mark the arrival of peace (which did not happen very often). As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, and in his association with Portunus, a similar harbor and gateway god, he was concerned with travelling, trading and shipping.
May 20, 2021
North Sydney, Nova Scotia
To you all:
We made it through the borders of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia today.
We were at the border at 6:30 a.m. for New Brunswick this morning, they wanted us to book the ferry for tonight instead of tomorrow night as scheduled and drive over 10 hours to get there and we told them that it was too long of a stretch and they looked through our papers and saw that we had reserved a hotel room here in NS and we told them that we had checked before leaving the hotel this morning and there were no messages saying that we couldn’t stay here.
Anyhow the main thing is that we are here and we have to drive at least 5 hours (before meals and bathroom breaks) to get to the ferry in North Sydney.
It is very strange as there are hardly any cars on the highway, like we are in the middle of nowhere.
At both borders they re-enforced that we have to stay in the hotel and not mingle at all with anybody or go to any stores etc., there are only a few guests where we stayed.
The closing of the condo went without a hitch. We will be really glad to get on the ferry tomorrow night, we just got another form to fill out concerning Covid and our quarantine.
There is no phone here at the hotel to call anybody as most people have a cellular these days.
It has been a very strange trip because of Covid. We stick out because of our licences plates, we are strictly following all the guidelines to protect ourselves and others. Stay safe. I will need my special secretary to continue answering all the messages we got today!
P.S. the weather is quite chilly here and windy…
Hi to you all:
We are the first car in the line up, the sea looks calm, hope it will stay like that through the night for the sailing.
We noticed that in Nova Scotia, the leaves are not out yet on the trees.
The ferry is scheduled to arrive at 7:15 a.m. tomorrow morning, we will then be on our way to cross the island. We are hoping for good weather and to make good time.
Like Rita McNeil’s song says:”Home I’ll be“.
Marie-France and Pierre
May 23, 2021
Good morning to you all:
There is still a slight breeze here but it feels good to be here starting a new chapter in our lives….
Just wanted to send you a few pictures of our leaving Almonte and at the ferry terminal in North Sydney. it is important to note that there is usually up to 800 passengers taking the ferry at any given time but because of the Covid restrictions they are only taking a maximum of 150 passengers. We were the only car for several hours waiting in line and once ready to get on there were about a dozen cars and quite a few 18-wheelers going on the boat. Our estimate was that there were no more than 50 people on this trip.
It was very smooth sailing as the sea was calm, which I was very happy about as I can get sea sick just looking at the water. The fog was rolling in when we arrived in Port aux Basques and we felt like we were coming home. It was Pierre’s longest day to drive to our destination but we made good time and drove past our new home on our way to my son Patrick’s home. It was hard not to get out of the car but we wanted to follow all the rules to the letter. We really like the location of the house, it is in a new development and also is a short street and not one house is built the same. It is hard to keep the distance with loved ones when we haven’t seen them for awhile, but it has to be done, self-isolation for 14 days.
Hope all is well where you are and we do not miss the heatwave there at all, we are very much enjoying the breeze…
Take care, we care
Marie-France and Pierre