Saturday, 9 May 2015

Nova Scotia - Halifax, Peggy's Cove and Lunenburg

If you read the last post, you know that we had to skedaddle from Prince Edward Island because there was a storm coming in. This meant that we spent a day in hibernation in Halifax, Nova Scotia while some kind of horrible rain/snow hybrid fell. However, we did have to eat, so we ordered Chinese food from a local takeaway and then went walking to collect it (they normally deliver but couldn't because their driver hadn't made it back from one of his deliveries...). It's only a couple of blocks away, we thought, how bad can it be (and what choice do we have)? Turns out, not so easy. Let me tell you about what happens when it rains on snowbanks (Canadians and other people used to snowy winters, you can probably skip to the next paragraph). So it snows. Unless the weather clears enough for someone to come out and clean it up, you now have a layer of snow on the roads and the pavements - plus gargantuan snow banks everywhere they don't need to clear. Then it warms up enough for it to rain. The rain and the melty snow make puddles in the still frozen snow. The snow gets churned up all day by people walking by and the rain falling on it, so when night comes and it is cold enough to freeze again, it tends to freeze in horrible tyre-rut type formations, rather than a smooth walking surface. Put enough pressure on the surface (say, a human being walking on it) and the surface breaks and you find your feet in freezing cold puddles of water. So we ever so gingerly made our way (uphill of course, in the dark and walking in the middle of the road because it was the clearest) to get our Chinese. Bit of an adventure to say the least!

The following day, having survived the getting Chinese takeaway challenge, the roads were clear enough for a bit of a drive. We headed off to Peggy's Cove, a little fishing village and also home of the 'world's most photographed lighthouse'. There was lots of snow, of course, but also a glaze of ice over everything, like icing. You can't really see it in the photos, it being clear and all, but it was spectacular. We visited Peggy's Cove which was completely closed for the winter, but we did see the lighthouse at least and took some 'quaint fishing village in the snow' photos. We also went to Lunenburg which is UNESCO listed as a surviving example of British colonial settlement. It was a pretty town, but again, pretty much closed for the winter.

The next day we actually had to spend in Halifax itself. We wandered the harbourside until we were almost frozen, found a good coffee shop (another one! We were on a roll!) called Two If By Sea (very hipster name, pretty sure the barista had facial hair and piercings, hence the good coffee) then went to the Halifax Maritime Museum. I am my father's daughter, so I've spent some time in maritime museums, usually not of my own free will. This one was actually really interesting! They had displays about the Arctic conveys during World War II, which Will particularly found interesting. I was more into two specific sections they had - one on Titanic and one on the Halifax disaster. Halifax was the closest port city to where the Titanic sank, so a lot of artifacts washed ashore there, and the rescue missions launched from there too. The Halifax disaster happened during World War I, when a munitions ship exploded in Halifax Harbour - the worst man-made explosion before Hiroshima. There's a Canadian Heritage ad about it that makes me choke up every. single. time. (click the link, I defy you to watch it dry-eyed). There was a large section with personal stories and belongings from victims of the disaster. I find all that stuff probably a little too interesting to be honest, but I think that's on a very human spectrum of interest we have in depressing events - otherwise why would this be the largest section in the museum?

All in all, I think I would have preferred Nova Scotia when the weather was a little better. Oh well, add to the list of places I need to come back to!

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