Or not to buy a boat?
My mother has been travelling quite frequently for her job. One of those weekends included a weekend training in Halifax! As I had never been and Porter Airlines was having a sick sale, I decided to tag along. What started out as a great trip, turned out to be really special because…
I got to bring my three year old god-daughter! My niece is just the coolest kid there is. Like really cool. She is fearless, she stomps through life, she knows what she wants and she is freeeking charming and cute as hell. Now, I may be biased.
Halifax. It is the capital of Nova Scotia. It is located on the waterfront. It is hilly. It is beautiful.
This was my niece’s first big trip, without her parents, without her brothers. She is three and the most fearless kid I’ve ever met. On Saturday, the two of us spent the morning exploring the waterfront. We stopped for muffins and coffee/orange juice for breakfast. We took a boat trip on the legendary Theordre the Tugboat where we learned a surprising amount of Halifax, such as : the first bank in Canada was established in Halifax by a pirate who needed a place to stash his treasure. Also, there is a plane sunk deep in the harbour. And that the harbor is the second largest in the world, after Sydney. There is also a legend about the two bridges that link Dartmouth and Halifax.
Many hundreds of years ago, the daughter of the chief of the Mi’kmaw tribe had been promised to a fellow tribesmen. But she had fallen in love with a soldier that lived across the water in Halifax. Their only way to meet was to row out to the middle. The chief got wind of this and was furious. A bridge was built to connect the two lands and he cursed it, saying it would sink. And it did. So they built a bridge out of wood and he promised that it would sink without a sound. And it did;
Three times a bridge o’er these waves shall rise,
Built by the pale face, so strong and wise
Three times shall fall like a dying breath;
In storm, in silence and last in death.
In 1952, construction began again. The chief of the tribe at the time was asked to remove the curse of the bridge so that it would not fall a third time, fulfilling the prophecy. Luckily, the bridge has not fallen again. It’s a wonderful story.
That afternoon, we linked up with my mom who was there for work and we had lunch at a waterfront restaurant. We headed to the Museum of Atlantic History. We spent a few hours exploring all the boats inside and looking at the most extensive collection of artifacts from the Titanic. We also walked across the SS Acadia, a boat that had been moved to the harbor to belong to the museum. My niece, convinced she now needs a boat, asked me if the boat was for sale and if she could have my credit card. I think I’ve taught her well.
We took the advice of the valet at the hotel and we headed to Laurencetown Beach, a rocky beach about 20 kilometers from Halifax where we witnessed people surfing and my niece and I spent a half hour running in and out of the surf. My niece also took this time to practice her rock-throwing abilities.
That evening, I walked around the city and up to Citadell Hill to look out at the view of the harbor. I am a mountain girl at heart but looking out into the ocean felt strangely calming. I am always looking for cities that have a certain energy – a reflection of the life I could live. Halifax, along with Budapest, is one of the cities I feel I could belong. I feel I could live among the hills and old houses and get a boat and spend my weekends exploring Eastern Canada.
The next day, we were off the Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only place in North America where the entire village has been designated as such. Lunenburg is an old fishing village. We took a horse-drawn carriage ride, called Trot in Time, and meandered through the streets. Our guide was very amusing. The houses are painted these wonderful bright colors, each having a history, a story. Houses of stained glass windows, next to beautiful churches, Stuart Little’s house and a wonderful academy. We had lunch at the Salt and Shake deli, and it was phenomenal. We went to the Iron Works distillery where I picked up some gin after a few taste tests. We gladly took the advice of a woman who told us the best view was across the water at the golf club. So we headed there. It was just amazing.
Using our super-fancy-all-decked-out 2016 Jeep Cherokee (thanks Hertz!) that we had rented, we pointed our way to Peggy’s Cove. The weather in Halifax has got to be craziest weather ever. One second, it is bright, sunny and windless; three minutes, it is dark, foggy, and rainy. Peggy’s Cove was in the area where it was foggy and a little dreary. We walked around the village and I tried to stick my niece in a lobster trap. She was having none of it. So we ventured out onto the rocks and my niece spent her time hopping from one rock to the other, impressed by her jumping abilities.
Dinner near our hotel and an early evening to bed.
Monday was the last day of our vacation. We woke up early, checked out, and headed to Rainbow Haven beach. This beach was just so beautiful. We collected rocks, shells and ran through the beach as per usual. And just like that, it was over. We headed back to the airport, hopped on the plane and carried a sleeping child back to the car. Halifax, we will be back.