Monday, August 12, 2013

Snapshots of Halifax, Nova Scotia & Peggy's Cove // Cruise // July 2013

The second port on our cruise was Halifax, Nova Scotia.

We decided to spend the morning exploring the city by foot, including the public gardens and booked a tour for the afternoon.

We started off walking through the city on our way to the Public Gardens. We passed the oldest government official live-in residence, where the queen stays when she visits Nova Scotia.

We also passed what I think was an old Loyalist burial ground that had an incredible lion sculpture on top of an arch and some beautiful old grave stones. 

That's not normally my thing, but just seeing something that old was really interesting. 

Right across the street was a beautiful old cathedral.

Next we passed through a shopping district on the way to the Public Gardens. The gardens are called the "City's Crown Jewel", and are one of the oldest remaining Victorian gardens in Canada. Since we have not spent time in botanical gardens or landscaped gardens on our other trips, and since it was free we figured it would be a good addition to this trip. 

The "Crown Jewel" was enclosed by gorgeous wrought iron gates that opened up into wide paths that wound through the gardens.

There were flowering trees, rose covered trellises, bridges over small rivers and ponds filled with water fowl. 

There were lovely classical sculptures and fountains throughout and a very intricate gazebo. 

For someone botanically-inclined this would be a dream. We appreciated the history and the beautiful displays, but honestly know nothing of gardening or plants. 

It did end up being a very nice way to spend the morning.

After we left the gardens we stopped at a store called Jennifer's of Nova Scotia, where they sold local hand crafts. It was a wonderful place to pick up souvenirs that we were lacking as well as a few more treasures for ourselves. Kyle got a tartan tie (Nova Scotia means "New Scotland" after all) and I found some cookbooks and a pewter mermaid spreading knife. I was enamored with the pottery, but couldn't choose what I liked most. It's the kind of pottery that is so earthy and organic that it looks like it came out of the clay fully formed. I would have loved to pick up every piece and replace our (sadly) terribly quality dishes from our registry.

After we were done there we walked across a different part of the city on the way back to the pier. We saw a cute lighthouse and Canadian tall ships sailing. We stopped at Pier 21 where they have an immigration museum. We did not have time for the museum itself but had heard great things about it's gift shop. We collected a few more treasures and then sat down to lunch before our tour began.

We got on our tour bus and took off for the town of Peggy's Cove, about an hour and a half away. The town is home to less than 20 people year-round and is home to one of the most photographed lighthouses in Canada. 

We learned a little on our tour, but our tour guide was very loud, and we were right below a speaker, so that was too bad. The view was lovely, on one side of the bus was the coast and on the other were mirror-like fresh water lakes. It was gorgeous. 

We finally arrived and I felt a little sick from the ride, and I'm guessing a change in altitude. I quickly perked up though and we explored the area for a little less than an hour. 

We saw the lighthouse and carefully climbed around on the rocks. Apparently it used to be a glacier! 

The view was beautiful and it was so fun to see a rocky coastline!

We got back on the bus and headed back to the city. On the way we learned more about the area and then about the Titanic, because we were on the way to the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where many Titanic victims were buried.

When the Titanic sank in 1912 it was 200 miles off the coast of New Founland and 700 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia. Because Nova Scotia had easier access to the US and the Canadian mainland, they got the task of coming to the rescue. There were over 2,200 people on board the ship and just over 700 survived in life boats. On the four ships sent out to the victims they recovered 328 bodies (some of which were buried at sea), and brought 209 bodies back to Halifax. The victims who were believed to be Protestant were buried in the Fairview Lawn Cemetery. The tour guide described several stories in detail, including the story of the unknown child. 

The unknown child was a two-year-old boy found floating in the water without a life jacket. He was dead and alone, and unidentifiable. The crew was so saddened in finding him that they decided to pay for his gravestone if he was not claimed. Sure enough, he was not claimed (because his entire 3rd class family had perished in the sinking) so they paid for his gravestone, making it more personalized than what the cruise line would pay for. At the time they had not identified who he was, but later through DNA testing they determined his identity Sidney Leslie Goodwin. And added that to his gravestone. Visitors leave toys and coins on his grave, which are periodically donated to children's charities. 

One other story was that of a first-class couple and their maid. The husband wanted his wife to board a lifeboat, but she refused over and over. He was not pleased with her so she began to quote Ruth 1: 16-17 (our wedding scripture) and said that she would stay with him. She gave her fur coat to her maid, who boarded the lifeboat and survived to tell their story. At this point I was crying like a baby, I mean... I had some serious tears going. Kyle turns around all of a sudden and looks really alarmed, "What's wrong?!" "Why are you crying?" "What's the matter?" (because, he's not been listening to this tragic story)... to which I replied very composed, *sniffle* "Ivvts nuvthing," *sob, sob, sob" *sniffle* "Iv'll be fihne" *sniffle* *sob, sob* This went on for a while until I finally calmed down.

After the tour we returned to the pier where we walked through the booths of vendors, not finding much, and then re-boarded the ship. My mermaid knife set off the metal detector.. oops, but I got to keep it after it was inspected. 

Overall I liked Halifax less than Saint John, it had more of a commercial city vibe, but it was still beautiful. I am sure that there is more to see and do as well. I am glad that we got to see so much and learn so much about the history of the area and the Titanic.

Have you ever been to Halifax?

Coming up next: Boston featuring something BIG and SPLASHY, and AMAZING!! :)

All for now,


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