It is 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and everyone on the beach was a smile on their face. Quite simply, there is no place they would rather be – even at this early hour.
I feel the same way. It was been 102 weeks since I last stood on this beach – 714 days. Which is also the time since my last vacation.
Pandemic travel rules kept me in Europe in 2020. I wasn’t going to let them stop me in 2021, even if they did add thousands of dollars to the cost of the vacation.
At 6.a.m. The beach is pretty deserted. Most vacationers aren’t nearly risers.
For me this is one of my favorite times of day. There is a sense of peace, the gentle sound of the water hitting the beach. No waves this morning. Those might come later in the day, but probably not. The water in this part of the Atlantic Ocean is pretty calm.
In a few hours the beach will be crowded. Social distancing will be difficult. I’m told that last year there were hardly any tourists. This year is much closer to normal.
But there are no Canadians. Eexcept us.
This is the closest ocean beach to Montreal. Canadians have been coming here by the thousands since the 1840’s. when the train line was built. Most local stores have signs saying the can serve customers in French.
Not this year. The land border remains closed, for reasons the American government has not articulated. Canada opens its border to American tourists the month, and it was expected the U.S. would follow suit, but that hasn’t happened.
The train doesn’t run here from Montreal any more, so Canadians have driven for most of the last century. It takes about six hours from Montreal if you don’t hit a lineup at the border. About the same as it takes Montrealers to drive to Toronto.
With the border closed, the only way to get here is to fly. Which is prohibitively costly for most people, especially if you have to rent one of the scarce rental cars at pandemic prices.
At this hour of morning, no-one is thinking of the expense of getting here. Being here is all that matters.