We left Toronto at 9:30pm on Friday, our flight a little delayed in coming in but then arrived in Halifax when expected. Nova Scotia is the fifth Canadian province/territory we’ve visited (there are 13 in total).
We picked up the hire car, paying for an upgrade because in a small we wouldn’t be able to see over the guard rails on the Cabot Trail. We got a Jeep. It’s red, pretty and has good pick up. I like driving it.
We drove into Downtown Halifax, taking a bit of an accidental detour through the charming (not) nightlife area, before arriving at the Westin Nova Scotian and checking it. The hotel is pretty impressive from the outside, and the room is fine. It’s just not stellar. And the lifts are super slow. We climbed into bed at about 1:45.
A bit of a late start to the morning. When I’m in a new place, I just want to get on with the day. Eating breakfast sitting down seems like such a waste of time, but Glen demands it. We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant. They had an ok buffet. It wasn’t too expensive. I had a ready made omelette, which would have cost about the same if I’d ordered it a la carte.
Suitably replenished, we finally set off to see the sights of Halifax. First stop was a cemetery (The Old Burying Grounds). It was the first cemetery in Halifax and used until 1844 or thereabouts. It was interesting to see the different artwork on the tombstones as there’s a change from images of death to representations of grief about the turn of the century. I also had fun breaking open the horse chestnut casings to get at the nuts inside.
From there we walked up to the public gardens, an old inner city Victorian garden that has been maintained. The biggest highlight was watching a bird wash itself in the fountain, and then a Blue Jay (that was actually blue) joined in. My first blue jay. Impressed.
Next was the Citadel on the top of the hill, star shaped fortress that was apparently so formidable that no other nation dared attack Canada because of it. I wonder if that’s really true, or by the time the Citadel was operational, geopolitical forces had changed and invading Canada was no longer that much of a priority. At least not through the harbour.
We walked around the perimeter, watched the noonday gun being fired, then tried on regimental uniforms (the kilts were either too big or too small).
From there we headed to City Hall, an old Victorian building, then went through the Historic Properties where we put each other in the stocks, then had lunch on the wharf.
We walked along the harbour after lunch to get back to the hotel. I stopped in at the Cape Breton visitor centre and got a great amount of information, and a number of tips for our next three days in that part of the province. There’s so much to do and such little time. Once again we have been promised moose. Glen had wandered off. He took a while to remember where I’d gone into and find me again.
We took a quick look through the farmers’ market near the hotel, bought a bag of apples, and then returned to the room. Once we got back to the hotel, it was nap time, and three hours vanished,
There are plenty of museums in Halifax to see, such as the Museum of the Atlantic which has a Titanic display (about 120 bodies from the disaster are buried in Halifax), and there’s an art gallery, but we weren’t in a museum mood and perhaps it’s ok to have a relaxing afternoon at least once while on holiday.
Once we woke up it took a little while to get ready and head out. We walked to the Bicycle Thief, a very popular restaurant on the waterfront. We tied to make a reservation on the way past earlier, but they were full. The only possibility was to come early and maybe get a place at the bar. We had no luck, and there was a queue.
We walked through the rain (yes, Halifax put on the rain for us) up Morris St to find a place Glen had read about called Let Bistro. We had a great meal there, spending more than we usually do, as we got starters, mains and dessert, plus three glasses of wine. (We actually got the wrong wine order to start with. Glen kept his, but I changed mine to what I’d ordered, and was glad of it.)
We waddled out of there at about nine. The rain had eased. We went to the local supermarket to get some supplies for tomorrow’s big drive. They are open 24 hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday because of Canadian thanksgiving. Crazy but convenient for us.
Big day ahead tomorrow.