Shelburne, Nova Scotia – War myths and jelly beans

Dealing with waste requires us Central Europeans getting used to. Several houses at the fjords are said not to be connected to the sewage system and to pipe their waste water directly into the sea. At many parking areas in the forests rubbish is dumped illicitly particularly as there are often no dustbins. But perhaps dealing with nature is different if there is a lot of it.

The first attraction to visit today is West Berlin, a village with three houses. Somehow I remember the German capital to be bigger.

At the parking place in front of Sobies supermarket in Liverpool an elder gentleman wants to tell us a story. During World War II a German submarine sank a Canadian ship off the coast of Nova Scotia. The survivors took refuge in their lifeboats as the submarine ascended beside them. A German officer opened the hatch. The first question he asked – he spoke English – was, if they wanted to smoke a cigarette. No, they didn’t! Then the officer insisted to escort them to the shore. His order was to sink the ships but not to kill the men. That had impressed the old Canadian much. We are not responsible for the truthfulness of this story.

It is cool and rainy; the deciduous trees didn’t even make a plan to sprout. Suddenly the wind turns to south and it gets 23°C.  The weather changes every few minutes. The black flies season started. They do not sting; they bite a small piece of skin. This does not only hurt and bleed; it itches for a couple of days. At least they are said not to pass illnesses. Single advantage: They only fly in daytime and with wind they get grounding. At sunset they are substituted by mosquitoes. I can’t decide what’s more agreeable.

Shelburne, completely consisting of traditional wood houses, was founded 1783 and belonged during its heyday with 16,000 inhabitants to the biggest cities of northern America. Hollywood was a credit to the pretty town: Here the movie „The Scarlet Letter“ that actually played in New England was shot.

An hour later it has only 11°C. In The Hawk at Nova Scotia’s south end the wind lashes foggy clouds over the coast overgrown with grass. A relatively dishevelled looking yellow daffodil bush braves the ice-cold wind. Here daffodils bloom in May.

We pass some Acadian settlements that all carry „Pubnico“ in their names. Acadians are descendants of the first French settlers who suffered expulsion through the British. Many of them returned in the course of time. On their plots the Acadian flag waves – the French Tricolour with a golden star. On some of the houses we just find a star. A young woman at a petrol station there gives us as a present a bucket full of jelly beans – the favourite sweet of many American kids, probably intended as gift for her own children.

The supposedly perfect place to stay overnight with exposed view at Cape St. Mary Lightstation quickly turns out to be unsuitable. It sounds its foghorn every minute with penetrating noise. We go off to a quiet beach a few kilometres further where we can hear the horn just as a background sound.

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