Yen's Blog

Lens, Wheels, Skates, Keyboard

Halifax

Imagine miles upon miles of rolling farmland punctuated by quaint coastal towns with the white church steeple and there you have it, Nova Scotia. We visited the island after taking an overnight ferry from Portland, ME. Maybe we took the wrong road, but surely it couldn’t have been because it was one of the major arteries on the island. Nevertheless, it seemed like we were caught in an episode of the Twilight Zone. The landscape looked the same for miles, and there wasn’t any car to be seen either ahead or behind. This was in the mid-summer! This went on for what seemed like an eternity. We stopped by Thomas Raddall Park along the coast. The only soul other than ourselves was the park ranger, a good-natured middle-aged woman (and the lone sign of civilization was her brown Chevrolet!) In the rangers booth there was no TV or radio, and the only things to read were the park brochures. Yet she was in there, looking very alert and ready to answer our questions. How anyone can manage to stay awake with nothing to do, in the middle of nowhere, is beyond me. The park was nevertheless scenic; most impressive was the gaggle of giant wave-washed boulders strewn all the way down to the water, carried and abandoned there during the last Ice Age.

We stopped for lunch at a roadside diner. The place was a house that the proprietor had converted into a restaurant. I had some fish and chips, which seemed even more authentic because the owner was a descendant of a British Redcoat. His ancestor fought for the losing side in the American Revolution and, instead of returning to England after the war, was granted a plot of land in Nova Scotia by the Crown.

Halifax itself also seems out of place, a modern city in the country. It’s got museums, colleges (Dalhousie University, for one), lots of shops, good seafood restaurants. We visited the Citadel, an old English fortress, and took pictures with college kids garbed in period costumes (mostly Scottish kilts). It has a veritable collection of military weapons from various Canadian armed services. The Halifax Maritime museum has a large collection on the Titanic (the doomed liner was supposed to have attempted to reach Nova Scotia after the collision).

We stayed at a Bed & Breakfast, and there were several throughout the city. The family that ran the B&B was pretty friendly and talked to us about lots of things. Turned out the husband was in Vietnam in the 60s. People tend to associate the Vietnam War with America so that it’s sometimes forgotten that others also fought there, including Brits, Aussies, South Koreans, Filipinos, Thais, and others.

Don’t ask about the drive back. Pitch black with ours the only headlights…

Main staircase of the Titanic, or is it? This is actually the Britannic’s staircase, but which is very similar to the one on its sister ship.

Scotia Prince From Boston we drove up to Portland, ME. There we took an overnight ferry, the Scotia Prince, to Yarmouth, NS. The ferry is more like a cruise ship, complete with a casino, duty-free shops and other amenities. For entertainment there’s a karaoke session and singing and dancing in the ship’s lounge. Unfortunately as of 2012, ferry service between Portland and Yarmouth has been discontinued.

Want me to draw you? Visit the Halifax Maritime Museum. Many interesting exhibits on maritime history and travel. There are several artifacts related to the Titanic, including the wooden deck chair seen here.