Monday, March 27, 2006

High on Halifax: Maritime Travels 12 Out Of 12

Halifax, Nova Scotia stretches up a hillside overlooking a spacious harbor and capped by the Citadel, the highest point in the city and home to a 19th century fortress. The city is small enough to be easy navigable on foot, but large enough to host a plethora of restaurants and retail establishments, ranging from international news storefronts to the most elegant of dress shops.

My daughter and I began and ended our August Prince Edward Island trip in Halifax. The first layover was a something of a disappointment -- we had dinner in a harborfront restaurant where we were encouraged to "get with" the relaxed atmosphere of the Maritimes, which meant that we had a two-hour wait for service after a long day of travel, and then had only the next rainy morning left to see the city. I hiked up to the Citadel, only to learn that it doesn't open until 10:00, so we decided to go ahead and make the trip across the province to catch the ferry to the Island. We had better luck on the way home. We had a great dinner in a little Italian restaurant and disovered the various passageways that make trekking up and down the steep city somewhat easier as we finished our shopping for family and friends. We visited the Citadel, checked out its detailed and beautifully presented historical exhibit, and watched the Regimental Association perform.

Halifax has always been a significant port for its inhabitants; it was THE port of embarkation and arrival for Canadian troops during World War II. It was also the site of a devastating
World War I explosion when two ships collided in 1917, levelling much of the city, killing over 2,000 people, and injuring 9,000 more. (New Orleans, take note: Halifax today is charged with vibrant energy.) Halifax history is fascinating, especially for us Americans who tend to be oblivious to the stories of our neighbor to the north, and Halifax streets are definitely hopping at night.

It's a great city -- it's easy to imagine building a life there.
For us, however, it was the end of a spectactular trip. This entry originally appeared in Midlife Matters on September 11, 2005, when I had calmed down enough from the real last day (planes and storms and airports oh my!) of our trip to write about its many pleasures. And I would just as soon leave it that way. My daughter and I never would have taken our trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island if we had had a crystal ball that would have enabled us to see the not insignificant expenses of Katrina and to know that, after several extra days in Louisiana, she and I would be making a completely unanticipated trip to Oregon. It's often just as well that the future is a mystery.

As it was, we had a week to embrace a new and invigorating piece of the planet, and embrace it we did.


Kathryn said...

A crystal ball can be a dangerous thing. I'm glad you did the trip -- both PEI and Katrina will provide memories for a lifetime.

Globetrotter said...

It's often serendipitious that we cannot see the future in advance. Some of my family's most cherished memories were of trips that we really could not afford but took anyway.

This trip was an obvious lifelong memory treasure for your family.

You've certainly piqued my imagination as well- to venture to a place I had never before even thought about visiting:)

Anonymous said...

Love the pics of PEI. I've always wanted to go there and you have given me the next best thing.


p.s. I tried to pm you over at Mitford but your box is full.

Paul said...

I am drawn to Halifax, too. And three years ago, I passed on a trip to N'awlins because I'd already exhausted my travel budget. Now I'll never see it, the way it was. Now I want to have no regrets.

alphawoman said...

What marvelous pictures. But then again, your pictures are always great. I long to go to Nova Scotia. The pictures I have seen are breathtaking. Added plus is the music of the area! Did you venture into any pubs? I should read on....

alphawoman said...

P.S. I hate that word verification. I get it wrong half the time because a v looks like a u etc. etc. etc. Everyonce in a while the letters are so squahed together its impossible to decipher. Well, ...where did that come from?

tess said...

Really enjoyed this series. The photos were so colorful. Thanks for sharing this trip. Tried to comment before now but had trouble posting.