Monday, June 30, 2014

Puzzling Peggy's Cove

One of the most interesting places we visited in Nova Scotia was the fishing village of Peggy's Cove.

We drove over one evening, expecting (as a tour book described it) a quaint but beautiful fishing village.

It was so much more!

As we approached the village, the first thing we noticed was large boulders that looked as if they had been dropped haphazardly from the sky, littering the hilly landscape all around.

In contrast with these boulders were were the giant rocks that on the tip of the peninsula - where the lighthouse stood.

Rocks so smooth they looked as if the ocean wind and waves had been sanding them down for eons.

People (like Terry) climbed on them to meditate on the beauty of the ocean... and watch seals in the water...

...despite numerous posted warnings that rogue waves sometimes washed over them, pulling people into the sea!

The whole landscape - so different from the forested coves that we saw in other parts of Nova Scotia - made me want to go back and look up geological theories as to why this whole area is so different.

Nothing made sense: The smooth rocky landscape. Nearby the boulders. So different... Why?!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Visiting Friends and Family in Nova Scotia

Our Nova Scotia vacation was perfect! We enjoyed Halifax and neighboring areas as tourists. And we were able to drop in briefly to visit friends and family who live in the region...

We had lunch one day with friends who spend their summers in Nova Scotia to escape Ottawa's hot, humid weather...

Then we visited a relative whom Terry hasn't seen in about 20 years, a cousin of his father's. Her daughter and son-in-law, who live nearby, also came over to meet us. Judy  moved to Halifax to retire - but she still works part time for a former employer in Toronto - via the internet!

We spent an afternoon with someone who was on the top of the list: Terry's niece and her family, who live two hours by car from Halifax. The last time we saw her, she was six-months-old. Now she is the mother of three!

They took us to one of their favorite beaches...

 Jennifer kept busy photographing...


Then to a lighthouse - where I kept trying to record the fog horn that blows every few minutes...

... on hazy days.

Later we visited a lighthouse museum.

Jennifer's husband, Albert - with experienced fisherman eyes - caught sight of some seals bobbing in the water nearby.

Eventually we saw them too.

It was fun to hang out with children again!

(Something we haven't done in years!)


Terry was thrilled to see his only niece again - after more than 30 years.

Our relaxed afternoon, spent with her family, was a holiday highlight.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Halifax's Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, on the Halifax harbor front was one place Terry wanted to visit. It was interesting to see the many displays that told of life at sea at different times.

There were ships and boats - models large and small...

... others life size...

 this birch bark canoe.

There were samples of nautical equipment used at different periods of history...


... and food that would have been part of a seaman's regular diet, like "red lead and bacon" (bacon and tomatoes).

It was interesting to see how large and complex a lighthouse lens is.

This one (above) had been used for many years at a lighthouse at the Halifax harbor.

I was particularly intrigued by a display of carved wooden figureheads that had been on ships - or were being prepared for ships.

This unfinished one of a young girl shows how talented these wood carvers were - back in the day when ships were made of wood and wood carving was a common profession.

A live parrot lives in the museum. He is popular with the children. I wonder if all ships had parrots - or only pirate ships! The man in charge of the parrot (seen sweeping around his cage) said parrots live to be about 90.

Particularly moving was a documentary on the 1917 Halifax explosion, caused when two ships collided in the harbor. One was carrying war munitions. The ensuing explosion killed thousands and destroyed much of downtown.

The museum shows how ships and shipping shaped the city of Halifax throughout its history.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Halifax Segway Experience

Terry's favorite Halifax experience was - without a doubt -  a Segway tour of the city.

After taking a Segway tour in Honolulu last March, I have been looking locally for Segway tours. In Ontario, they are hard to find. I was happy to discover that Halifax had one and glad Terry was willing to give it a try.

I don't have a lot of pictures, as photographing on a Segway, isn't allowed. But we did take a few breaks during the two hours we were riding along the harbor front, then up towards Dalhousie University and into nearby Point Pleasant Park.

The hardest thing about riding a Segway is the standing, as I'm not used to standing a lot. We did take a breaks from time to time and walk around.

For me, riding a Segway resembles riding a horse: Leaning forward to go forward, leaning backward to stop, keeping knees slightly bent. And that constant twitching under my feet that reminds me that a powerful animal / machine is going to take me for a ride.

For Terry, learning that he didn't have to try to balance the Segway was the most helpful advice Max, the Segway tour operator, gave him. Trust the machine. It makes a thousand adjustments a second. 

After that, Terry relaxed - and had the time of his life!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

More Fun Things to Do in Halifax, NS

Our four days in Halifax didn't allow us to do everything a tourist could do (click here for a more complete list!) - but we did keep busy trying!

One evening we walked up Citadel Hill...

...a steep walk up from the harbor front where we were staying.

The citadel was closed - it closes at 5pm - but we did enjoy the view of the city.

We took a different route returning to our hotel.

Our new route took us past a number of old churches. I always wonder who built them and when.

Which survived the 1917 Halifax explosion, when much of the downtown had been destroyed?

These magnificent structures remind me that - before our age of machines - skilled builders and craftsmen were able to make buildings that endured longer than ours seem to.

Another fun tour we took was through parts of the original Alexander Keith brewery, now a museum...

The tour is really a play, an enactment that takes you "back in time" more than a hundred years, as you follow three of Alexander Keith's "workers" into the old pub and through a tunnel the brewer had built between his brewery and his home (so that he could keep an eye on things).


There were opportunities for beer sampling.

And lots of reminders of what life must have been like in Halifax several hundred years ago.

Early on in our stay in Halifax, we sampled Cow's ice cream (made in Prince Edward Island)... and as many other brands as we could find!

The weather was cooler than Ottawa - but we had a wonderful time!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fun Things to Do in Halifax, NS

On Day 3 of our journey, we arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia...


... where the harbor front was our first destination! 


Doormen in Scottish kilts reminded us that Nova Scotia means "New Scotland"!

We tried to do as much as possible in the time we were there. Terry had studied tripadvisor's 71 things to do in Halifax - planning to do as many as possible!

Two of my favorites were the (cheap) 10-minute bus-ferry ride from Halifax to Dartmouth and back.

For the price of one city bus ticket we were able to ride both ways within a certain time frame.


(I would have been happy to go back and forth without getting off until my ticket expired!)

Rush hour was over, so the boat-bus was almost empty.

Cup of coffee in hand,Terry enjoyed viewing the many ships we passed.

Another interesting experience was visiting the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 at the harbor front. Researchers there help find the landing records of immigrants to Canada and - for a fee - will photocopy them, together with information about the ships they arrived on.

I had both my parents' immigration records photocopied. My father arrived in Halifax in May 1929, at age 19, with a friend whose name I don't know.

Unlike the man in this statue of an immigrant, he didn't leave a wife and children behind, planning to send for them later, but within a few years he had saved up enough money to have his sister Elsie come to Canada. Eventually, after World War II, they were joined by their mother Helene Domke and two of her children from a second marriage, Walter Domke  (together with his wife and baby daughter, Maria) and Lydia Domke.

My mother's family arrived in December,1929 at Saint John, New Brunswick. She was 10 years old at the time.

Visiting the Pier 21 Museum and the port at Saint John, New Brunswick, were both moving experiences for me as I reflected on how happy yet bewildered my parents must have been on arriving in Canada. Happy to be safely on shore in a safe country, but bewildered because everyone around them spoke a language they didn't understand.

Next came the long train rides across Canada to Edmonton, where both my father and my mother's family had friends.

Immigration - like any major change - is a tumultuous, emotional experience, especially when everything is suddenly different - and you know there is no going back.