Friday, October 26, 2012

Halifax and Peggy's Cove

Day 3 of the cruise, and we are in Nova Scotia. Which means, for me, ANOTHER country added to my list of places visited (O! Canada!).

Before I continue on, however, with the rundown of the day's events, let me take a moment to pay my respects to my fellow passengers who spent the previous evening going Green. Oh, not the Eco-friendly kind of Green. I mean head over the porcelain pagoda kind of Green. It seems we had a lot of nautical miles to cover between Portland and Halifax, and our captain put the pedal to medal to get us there in time. Hint, when you see the staff breaking out the sick bags and placing them all around the common areas, get ready for a bumpy ride.

Fortunately, Richard and I took our daily dose of Bonine, so our overnight was kinda pleasant. Something like taking a long nap in one of those MoonWalker machines you see at kid's parties. And hoping little Timmy doesn't hurl on you while you are dozing'.

Ok, moving right along.

First part of our day was a bus ride to Peggy's Cove. We were fortunate enough to see some of the best foliage color of the season on the way, per the tour guide. Our guide and driver were really top notch. The guide was pleasant, knowledgeable, and thankfully short on awful jokes, which is always a blessing. I learned a lot about the Acadian history, about the superstitions of the local folk, and about the events that tied Nova Scotia to the tragedies of the sinking of the Titanic and the crash of the Swiss Air flight in 1998. Pretty dramatic stuff.

Peggy's Cove is a small fishing village of around 30 to 40 people. It is picturesque, complete with colorful fishing boats and an oft photographed lighthouse. Quiet, however, it is not. Swollen during the day with bus loads of tourists (myself included), it is far from being a respite from the crush of the modern world. And yet, with my camera and my thoughts, I could imagine what this town might have been like, at a time when hard work and isolation were the norm. Throngs or no, I am glad I had a chance to visit.

Halifax is a clean and pleasant town of about 300,000 people (about a third of Nova Scotia's population). Richard and I enjoyed a hop on and hop off bus tour of the town. Among the highlights, a visit to the historic Citadel that has defended the city since it's beginning, and an awesome lobster roll at a casual diner recommended by our tour guide.

Interesting fact. During WWI, a ship loaded with TONS of TNT exploded in Halifax harbor. It was the largest man made explosion in human history prior to the A-bomb being dropped on Hiroshima. Thousands of Haligonians were killed instantly, many more were injured and even more became homeless. Were it not for the aid of the US, and most especially the citizens of Boston, the citizens of Halifax may have not made it through the ensuing winter. In gratitude even to this day, Halifax donates a 40 foot Christmas tree to Boston every year.

Back on the ship from our day of sightseeing, we dined at the Venetian Dining room on a luscious, rosemary scented leg of lamb, and a rich mushroom ravioli covered in a three cheese sauce. We washed it down with a lovely, dry Spanish Albarino, and then took in a performance of Mowtown hits from our favorite on board entertainer, Nathaniel Reed. We learned from the set that Nathaniel was a session player for Mowtown, and you could tell by the fact that this was a set that came from love, and far from the workmanlike shows some cruise performers coast on.

Ugh, bad pun. Time to hang it up.

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