In July 2012, Dan and I went to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Our good friends Aaron and Amy (or A squared as I like to call them) live in Newfoundland and there was a seat sale so we decided to go and stop in Nova Scotia on the way. I’d always wanted to go to Nova Scotia and it was everything that I had ever dreamed of.
We flew out on Canada Day and were ecstatic when we were assigned the emergency exit aisle! Dan is 6’2” so extra legroom is key for him. There was so much space that I could fully extend my legs in front of me.
When we landed we picked up our rental car and were on our way. Usually on our trips we don’t get a GPS (even though I always complain that we wouldn’t get lost if we had a GPS or at least we’d have some clue on how to find our way). This time Dan opted for the GPS, which we lovingly named Sheena. At the end of our trip Dan marvelled at how Sheena reduced our fighting by 58%. Thank you Sheena!
After checking into the hotel we wandered onto the boardwalk in search of food. At this point I was starving, and I don’t do well when I’m hungry. I could feel the hunger grumps starting. After stumbling about for a bit, and talking about how ridiculously hot it was, we finally decided on eating in a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant called Hamachi. We didn’t end up ordering teppanyaki though, because Dan said we should try to eat lobster at every meal. So for our first lunch in Nova Scotia we had delicious lobster rolls. This would become my go-to meal.
Feeling recharged we took a walk along the waterfront to admire the sights. Since it was Canada Day, I had bought us both Canada Day t-shirts. Mine said “Keep Calm and Love Canada.”
Steph had recommended an ice cream shop called Cows. She said that when she was in Halifax there was always a line up out the door and to look for the ice cream place with the long line. Cows is originally from Prince Edward Island so we were looking forward to trying it out.
We wandered for a long time in the heat looking for Cows and every time we saw an ice cream place Dan would ask me “Is that it? What’s the name of the ice cream place again?” and I’d get irritated and say “It’s called Moo! How many times do I have to tell you!” When we finally saw it I turned to him and said “Actually it’s called Cows. Sorry.” As promised, there was a line up out the door and around the side of the building.
I had the PEI Strawberry ice cream (as the name implies, it was made with strawberries from PEI) and Dan had the salted toffee ice cream. Both were amazingly delicious and had that nice fresh home made taste. The PEI strawberry ice cream was just what I needed in the heat. It was perfectly refreshing. The salted toffee was good too (but made Dan thirsty due to the heat).
Cows also sells these hilarious spoof t-shirts like “Moo Moo Lemon” and “Cow Wars.” I bought “Cow on Fire – May the odds be heifer in your favour.” I also liked this shirt because it says Halifax on it. I have a love for cheesy touristy t-shirts.
Next we headed to the public gardens. I have to mention, Halifax is hilly! (Not as hilly as San Francisco but there were a lot of hills!) On the way we stopped off at The Citadel where we planned to watch the fireworks later.
The Public Gardens were definitely a highlight of Halifax for us. They are a national historic site and one of the rare surviving Victorian gardens in Canada. We were just so amazed that such a place exists, and has existed for so many years. It used to be a few public gardens that they’ve merged into one.
After strolling through the Public Gardens we decided to have dinner at the Foggy Goggles. There were a lot of people dressed in Canada clothes. Feeling super Canadian, I had a spicy caesar (this is one of the things I missed when I lived in Australia, along with every other Canadian thing including nanaimo bars, ketchup chips, etc. I know I’m such a stereotype!). Since it was so hot I didn’t have much of an appetite, though that could have something to do with all of the food we were eating. I had the cold lobster salad, which fulfilled my need to try to have lobster at every meal, and also helped keep me refreshed and full.
Next we went back to the Citadel. I should explain that since Dan and I both grew up in the GTA we’re used to having to stake out a spot to see Canada Day fireworks hours in advance. So naturally we arrived hours in advance and expected it to fill up. It did not work out that way. People ended up arriving closer to 20 minutes before the fireworks started. That’s ok though, we were hot and tired and had a good time lying in the grass and listening to Coldplay on my iPod.
When the fireworks started they were fun but didn’t last very long. I think one of the buildings was also blocking our view and maybe seeing them from the water would have been a better idea. There was a man nearby who named all of the fireworks and said things like “I call that one starburst. I call that one sparkler.” He genuinely loved all of the fireworks and sounded very enthusiastic about each one, so that was nice to hear.
After that I wanted to find a snack, but after wandering around we gave up and just went back to the hotel. And that’s how we spent Canada Day in Halifax. Next up, Peggy’s Cove!