I had been wanting to visit Iles-de-la-Madeleine (Magdalen Islands) ever since I saw some beautiful pictures of it that someone posted to Flickr about three years ago. We already made the decision to go to Iceland by then so the idea to visit the islands just stayed in the back of my mind, up until earlier this year. You see, this year in May we celebrated the 10th year of us being together as a married couple, so we were bound for a big road trip!
For our honeymoon 10 years ago, we went for a two-week road trip all over the Canadian Maritimes, which was amazing. Except for a night we spent in Quebec City at the end of the trip, we pretty much just skipped Quebec. Deep down I knew we must've missed out a lot by skipping Quebec, so, for our 10th anniversary road trip, I told my husband that I'd like to see more of Quebec, including Iles-de-la-Madeleine.
There are a few ways to get to Iles-de-la-Madeleine, but the one that was the most convenient to us involved taking a ferry from Souris in Prince Edward Island. We pretty much spent the first two days of our road trip driving the Trans Canada Highway just to get to Prince Edward Island. It was long and tiring and at times boring, but we knew it would be worth it in the end. And it was.
The day we were scheduled to take the 5-hour ferry ride from Souris, PEI to Cap-aux-Meules in Iles-de-la-Madeleine, the weather was a bit stormy, but I was too excited to care. It wasn't until the fourth hour of the voyage that the sea started to get a bit rough. It wasn't too bad, though; we didn't get seasick. We spent the last hour or so of the ferry ride outside, just having fun with the strong wind. The wind was actually strong enough that if I leaned back against it, I didn't fall! It was pretty cool and kind of reminded me of Iceland.
When we were not driving from one island to another or chilling in the cozy house we had rented for the duration of our stay on Ile du Havre Aubert, we spent the time we had on the islands just walking along beautiful beaches or gazing out at the ocean from the top of some beautiful sea cliffs. We were definitely living the dream. :-) On our last full day on the island, it was raining all day so instead of doing outdoorsy thing, we went to a local museum, Musee de la Mer, to learn about the local history and culture, which we found very interesting.
The highlights of our visit to Iles-de-la-Madeleine include our little hike in Ile Boudreau in the northeastern part of the archipelago (it is actually a peninsula but somehow they call it an island) with no one else around on the first day, the walk along Dune du Sud beach under its beautiful red cliffs and its little caves, the walk on top of the red cliffs in Belle Anse and the beautiful view of the arches, the very photogenic Borgot lighthouse, the magnificent panoramic view from the top of Butte des Demoiselles, Boulangerie Madelon and their to-die-for ciabatta buns and creme brulee, and last but not least, the beautiful yellow house we rented with the hills and the cliffs in the backyard and the lovely view of the open sea, Corps-Mort rock, and the amazing sunsets.
All in all, we had a very good and memorable visit at Iles-de-la-Madeleine, even if there wasn't much for us to do since it was still early in the tourist season. However, we travel to find some peace and quiet (one of the reasons we usually travel in low or shoulder season), and Iles-de-la-Madeleine in the springtime is just the the place for that. I took a lot of pictures during our visit but the ones I posted below are my favourites. Just click one of the pictures to start a slideshow, and enjoy! Posts about the rest of our two-week adventure in Quebec (and what an adventure it was!) will follow. I promise! :-)