“Enough!” Ruth said when I announced a plan to write one final time about the demise of National Geographic Traveler (NGT). So one brief mention of it in this paragraph and one additional reference will be the end. NGT’s final Best Trip for 2020 is to a place that sounds both exotic and interesting, the Magdalen Islands, a destination I have aspired to visit since we discovered The Gulf Islands on the other end of Canada in 2019.
The 8 Magdalen Islands are north of Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. There are almost 13,000 Madelinots living there, and it is noted in NGT that there are great variations in the French spoken from island to island. The other term for residents is Maggies. Many of the people on Entry Island, the only one not connected to the rest, are originally from Ireland and Scotland. Many Maggies are artists, singers, and musicians. One of the more interesting shops that Ruth will like is La Memoire et la Mer. Like in the Faroe Islands on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, these islands have created their own culture as the result of isolation. Life here is described as fortunate and fraught. Oh, oh. Fishing is the biggest industry among these islands.
The writer of the National Geographic Traveler article, Jennifer Hayes, focuses on winter and the harp seal. This part of the world is described in her writing as a “beautiful, but diminishing, world of ice”. The Magdalens is the only other harp seal habitat in this part of Canada. Adult harp seals migrate here from the Arctic in spring to have their pups.
Getting to the Magdalens sounds like an adventure in itself. Ruth & I would enter via the ferry from Canada’s smallest Province, Prince Edward Island. We have not been there since the Confederation Bridge was built. We should have gone across it when we went to Nova Scotia with Ruth’s cousins years ago. At slightly more than 8 miles long, this is the longest bridge in the world crossing ice-covered water. We would, however, drive it in the summer to the PEI village of Souris for the 5 hour crossing to the Magdalens. The Confederation Bridge is a 2-lane toll one.
Because we haven’t been to The Magdalens or the Faroes yet, the photos of Puget Sound and the Gulf Islands with this article are from other travel adventures One time in Vilnius we went to a downstairs restaurant/bar to hear a musician from the Faroes perform. His folksy songs were simple, innocent, and culturally different. To hear them caused a desire to go there. The Faroes have 50,000 residents, and getting to them would also be a desirable adventure, when this is possible again.