Tag Archives: Halifax

Recharging the batteries

From “Blomidon Provincial Park” Maren and I drove back to Halifax to pick up my friend Raghu, who had arrived from Calgary. Now was the perfect time to have a closer look at this bustling city. While walking along the waterfront, we found out about a jazz festival that would start the next day. Even better was the fact that it was free and open to the public for the afternoon shows.

Maren and I picked up Raghu back in Halifax
Ships and artwork at the waterfront

But for that day Maren and I decided to go on a city tour with the “Harbour Hopper” first. Those giant amphibious busses were originally used by the army and were bought and refitted for tourism after their time in service. From the elevated back of the bus we had a great view and a bit of a breeze cooling us down during the tour, where the first part took us through the narrow streets of downtown.

The tour with the “Harbour Hopper” took us through the urban canyons of Halifax

Out in the harbor we were side to side with the big container ships

Our transition from land to water happened with a big splash and suddenly the bus was swimming. We had a closer look at the large container ships that were going in and out of the port and had a better overview of the downtown area. Most of this is less than hundred years old, as the largest man-made explosion before the development of nuclear weapons had flattened most of the buildings in an 800m radius. Two ships, one carrying high explosives, collided in the harbor in 1917 and caused this what is now known as the “Halifax Explosion”.

Most of the present buildings in downtown Halifax were built after the “Halifax Explosion”

The best way to experience Halifax is by sitting in one of the hammocks at the waterfront

The next day we listened to the music of “Quinn Bachand’s Brishen” and the “Riot Squad” at the jazz festival and then continued to explore the waterfront. It was good to relax a bit before we got back on the road for some more adventures up north on the Cape Breton Island. Meanwhile Raghu was getting eager to leave the city and to get out onto the rugged coast of Nova Scotia, as this the reason why he had come so far.

The concerts at the “Halifax Jazz Festival” were free during the day

Tugboat “Theodore” is at home in Halifax

Soon enough we were working on it and had reached the “Battery Provincial Park” on the southern end of Cape Breton Island after a long day of driving. By then the clouds had cleared and we enjoyed an unobstructed view over the “St. Peter’s Bay” from our campsite. To make it even better we decided to have a small campfire, for which we got firewood at the park entrance just in time for an amazing sunset.

Our next adventures were waiting for us on Cape Breton Island

Perfect timing for the sunset at “Battery Provincial Park”

The southern shores of Nova Scotia

From Saskatoon I took a flight via Toronto to Halifax. The last part of my trip was about to begin – a six week adventure through the maritime provinces of Canada! I had booked a rental car for the whole time to be more flexible and independent, which I would share with my friends Maren, Raghu and Eiko, who would join me on different parts of this trip for about two weeks each.

A short layover in Toronto on the way to Halifax

After I had picked up the car, I drove downtown to meet up with Sarah. She had been an exchange student at my parents place in 2008/09 and I hadn’t seen her since then. It was the final stretch for the defense of her masters degree, but she managed to take some time off to give me a short overview of the city. We took a stroll through the public gardens and climbed up to the entrance to the citadel, where we had a good view of the city and the harbor.

The public greens in Halifax

Enjoying the view from the Halifax citadel on a city tour with Sarah

In the evening I left Sarah to her work and went back to the airport to pick up Maren. She had been in high school with me in Germany and had worked enough overtime for two weeks of holidays, which her boyfriend couldn’t get. To make use of the great weather, we departed immediately for “Peggy’s Cove”, where a picturesque lighthouse and a magnificent sunset were waiting for us. What a great start to this trip!

The small harbor at “Peggy’s Cove” at sunset

The lighthouse on the rocks is a well known tourist attraction

The next day we followed the “Lighthouse route” along the rugged coastline, but instead of more lighthouses we found little fishing villages filled with empty lobster traps waiting to placed and sandy beaches, where a few brave people defied the cold waters of the Atlantic to swim in the crystal clear water. Unfortunately the wind was blowing too much to enjoy a nice picnic at the beach without the food being covered in sand.

Dipping our feet was cold enough for us on this windy day

There are numerous little fishing villages to visit along the coastline

In Mahone Bay we ventured along the waterfront in search for some ice cream, while taking in the view of the numerous wooden churches lined up along the water and spread out all over the town. Without knowing, the day had gone by pretty quickly and we still needed to find a campground for the night. We opted for the one at “The Ovens”, which was also located right at the water with a nice view across the bay.

Several different churches line the waterfront at Mahone Bay

Maren and I found a great campsite right by the sea at “The Ovens”

The next morning we were quicker than expected and used the extra time to explore the rocky shore, for which this area is known for. We followed the little trail along the edge and discovered the caves that had been washed out of the nearly vertically stacked layers of shale. One of them was called the “Cannon Cave”, as it made a thundering noise when a large wave reached the end of the tunnel.

A little trail led along the shore to several viewpoints of different caves

The blue water and the reddish rocks at the “Cannon Cave” provided a great contrast

Afterwards we drove back to Lunenburg, which was named in honor of the British King George August of Hanover, who was simultaneously the duke of Braunschweig-L√ľneburg. However, many Germans settled in and around Lunenburg after it was founded in 1753. The historic downtown provides the best preserved example of a planned British colonial settlement in Canada and was therefore declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995.

The waterfront at picturesque Lunenburg

The colorful historical old town is protected as a UNESCO world heritage site

A little further down the coast we made another stop at the “Kejimkujik National Park Seaside”. It is located in an area that was once cleared for a large sheep farm. But the soil proved to be poor in nutrients and the sheep farm was soon abandoned and finally bought by Parks Canada in 1985 to protect the undeveloped shoreline, which is home to some endangered birds, as well as seals and other marine wildlife.

Taking a hike through the “Kejimkujik National Park Seaside”

The red chairs are a campaign by Parks Canada and are always placed in the best spots