Continuing on from the last post ~

Next vacation stop: Halifax.

Piece of advice? Eat before you sight-see. Agree on what to eat before you head out or go to a restaurant featuring big breakfasts. The first day we thought there would be somewhere to eat on the boardwalk at the waterfront. There was. Just not breakfast type food and not what I consider to be reasonable prices either. We were pretty grumpy until we ate so I’m surprised there are any pictures at all.

While wandering along the downtown streets I spotted this windvane high above the trees, atop a modern building. I would like something like that somewhere on my house.

Windvane on building

Windvane on building

Halifax does interesting things with abandoned buildings or building sites. Here is one example:
Halifax Bldg
Kristen told me that the last time she visited Halifax, one construction site had mannequins posing throughout! It was gone this time but something else was set up that caught our eyes:
Site Chalkboard2
Some sayings were profound, some silly and a few in other languages. After some thought Kristen added her piece to the boards:
Site Chalkboard4
Site Chalkboard6

Down on the waterfront boardwalk (a very pretty stroll or bike ride) I spotted something from the kids’ childhood ~
Theodore Tug2
Really? Could it really be… yes….
Theodore Tug
Yes it was! Theodore Tugboat! Holy Crap, Mathew wouldn’t believe this without a picture!

I was curious about an island we spotted out in the Bay. This is George’s Island
Halifax Island
It was used by the military through the years to help defend Halifax. It was also a deportation camp for the Acadians went they were expelled from the Maritimes in the 1700s. General conditions for the Acadians on the island were miserable yet they were not permitted to leave until sent away on ships. Until you visit a place in person there are so many historical or cultural or other interesting things you miss and might never learn. I never did well in history; I was one of those people that felt it was so dull I couldn’t stay awake. Maybe it wasn’t presented right or maybe it didn’t seem real enough. Standing on the waterfront looking out at this island however you could feel the despair and anguish the families must have felt being torn from everything they ever knew. Down through history we keep showing ourselves that we just can’t get along…

The museum containing artifacts from the Halifax explosion is also located on the boardwalk. We went in and sat through a chilling little movie that details the explosion through the eyes’ of survivors. There is a church over a kilometer away from the explosion that still has a flying projectile sticking into its inner chamber. This clock stopped at precisely the same time as the explosion:
Halifax Explosion Clock2

The explosion happened on December 6, 1917 when 2 ships collided in the harbour. One of those ships carried munitions and it exploded, killing over 1,600 people immediately.
“The Mont-Blanc exploded in a fraction of a second.

The most immediate and devastating effect of the explosion was a shockwave produced by the detonation that was the equivalent of 2989 tons of TNT. The shockwave travelled at a speed of more than 1500 meters per second.

At the center of the blast the heat produced by the chemical reaction was in excess of 5000C. The heat and pressure pushed a fireball of hot gases, and debris consisting of soot, unburned coal, carbon from explosives, and shrapnel high into the sky above the harbour. As the gases cooled a giant cloud formed, the soot, carbon, and shrapnel fell as a deadly shower.

Around the Mont-Blanc the water was vaporized by the heat, the pressure of the explosion sent a 16 meter tidal wave out into the harbour and up into the Richmond neighbourhood for three city blocks.The explosion of the Mont-Blanc sent out a seismic wave that rumbled the ground through the city, sea
water was vaporized and pushed into a tsunami, a shock wave virtually levelled the north end of the city.”
explsn1(Note: This quote and the black-and-white photos are from the website at this link:

As a “further to” the explosion…that very night Halifax was enveloped in a blizzard that dumped snow on the area making rescue efforts and survival even more difficult.

After perusing the museum Kristen and I moseyed inland to a cemetary. We occasionally visit cemetaries and wander through them, thinking about the souls buried beneath and about their lives. This graveyard holds more people than one could guess
Halifax Graveyard Sign
Over 12,000 people? Look at the size of this place!
One shot showing the left end of the graveyard
Halifax Graveyard3
Another shot showing the other end.
Halifax Graveyard2
Not that big for so many, many people. We enjoyed walking amongst the tombstones, reading the headstones and musing on a life lost to disease, accident or old age. There were more people who passed on in their late decades (70s and 80s) that you would expect for a time laden with disease and lack of medicine. It makes you appreciate your life and what you do have.

After our touristy bit we got down to the business of shopping for Kristen’s second year of University. Once this was finished we packed up our stuff and left Halifax, heading out towards Digby, Nova Scotia. I wanted to take the scenic way back to Saint John by way of Peggy’s Cove and Lunenberg, Nova Scotia over to Cornwallis and on to Digby for the Ferry Ride across Fundy Bay to Saint John. Of course I didn’t have enough time to do anything really besides a quick trip to Peggy’s Cove. I am definately going back to this area due to its beauty – I never even mentioned Annapolis Valley. *SIGH* So many places to see locally, so little time!

Everyone knows Peggy Cove. It is one of our most iconic tourist stops, mostly for the famous lighthouse but more recently, for the memorial for SwissAir Flight 111 that crashed just off its coast. Prior to this visit I have never been to Peggy’s Cove, shame on me. We went on a beautiful, clear day. Being on the Atlantic coast everything gets encased in fog often enough that we were lucky. At the time of our visit the lighthouse was getting a badly-needed new coat of paint. By all accounts it is now back to being a pretty accessory to the landmark but it wasn’t so nice when we were there. Even worse was all the chipped paint lying over the rocks. I don’t know if those chips were picked up or left for nature (wind and rain) to dispose of them. It is a environmentally sensitive area so here’s hoping the flaking and scraped off paint was picked up and removed safely.

Here Kristen poses beside the lighthouse itself. You can see how spotty the building is; the people fixing the lighthouse were scrubbing down and taking off the old paint, hence its ugly look.
Kr at Peggys Cove

The lighthouse at Peggy's Cove in the distance

The lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove in the distance

Here is my take on the iconic picture….
The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

Of course mine has people wandering about and paint peeling off the building. That won’t be on any postcards!

There is a very, VERY important warning on the lighthouse itself:
Peggys Cove Sign
People must think this is a Canadian joke because even when we were there tourists wandered among the lower, black-coloured rocks. They sat and enjoyed the view and snapped photos. Every year or so a tourist or two gets swept off those same rocks you were on, people. The warning is there for a good reason ~ I’m sure those who have drowned before you didn’t feel the sign applied to them either. The oceans cares not who it takes or how, we would have been devastated if someone disappeared while we were there. So please, please abide by the warnings and do something stupid elsewhere! This spot has enough tragedies!!
Next up is Kristen walking over the rocks. You can see the breathtaking view from this side of the lighthouse.
Kr Walks at Peggys Cove
What you haven’t seen is the area just behind and UP from the lighthouse. The parking area. Whatever real estate was left got turned into paving for vehicles. We must have stopped in at an opportune time (by noon) because is wasn’t yet crowded. There is one very narrow, windy road leading to the lighthouse and how do those tour buses make it without hitting the little fishing houses or people wandering over the area??
This enterprising fellow only played when you gave him money. A day of that piping would drive me nuts but it was pretty enough when Kristen dropped a bit of money down so he would play for her.
Here is a shot of Kristen and I, taken with her camera.
Kr and Mum at PCove
Not sure if that was the best idea; I used to have a full head of hair plus lots to spare but where did that go? My eyes are slits courtesty of the sun to say nothing of that goofy grin. However when the girl asks for a picture with her Mum, what am I to do? Goofy it is.

Of course probably not a good idea to follow THAT photo with this one then…
Kr posing at Peggy Cove
That girl is so beautiful and photogenic. I think my place is behind the camera and not in front of it! Love you, kiddo.

We also stopped at the SwissAir Flight 111 memorial. This flight crashed 8 miles offshore on 2 September 1998 killing all 229 souls aboard. I remember the desperate search by those in the surrounding fishing villages; they set out in anything that floated hoping beyond hope they would find survivors. Sadly that was not to be. This monument is half of 2 markers on land. With another marker about 12 miles south it forms an equal sided triangle with the apex being the crash site out on the water.

Kristen at the SwissAir Flight 111 memorial

Kristen at the SwissAir Flight 111 memorial

May you all rest in peace.
Plane memorial3

Once we left this area it became clear that if we were to make the ferry we’d have to travel directly to Digby. Luck was sitting on my shoulder because I never made any reservations for the ferry. It was still high tourist season and in fact, we only got on due to cancellations! We also only got on because it was a calm, sunny day. I don’t like getting on any size of boat even on a sunny day and so had monitored the weather carefully. The choice was to take the 3 hour ferry ride from Digby across to Saint John then drive the 20 minutes to our home in Quispamsis…. or drive 4 hours or so the other way, on land to get home. I figured a few hours relaxing would be nice. Luckily we did get on. Who sets those ferry rates though? Holy cow – one passenger car plus 2 people cost us $180!! That’s right, you read it correctly. $180 ONE WAY!! I stood on the deck for the entire time soaking in the sun and the end of our adventure. Kristen, who knows EVERYONE, discovered her little friend on board. Turns out her friend’s father is the ferry’s captain so we had a tour of the facilities then Kristen went off to check out the crew’s cafeteria.

A few days after this relaxing holiday we took Kristen back to Saint Thomas University for her second year of University and we settled back down to work and living.