We arrived in Halifax and found our small and well equipped Airbnb apartment close to all things downtown. Our first night we walked and found a Tonys pizza where we ordered “donair” and shawarma. It was okay but not fantastic. As we ate, we watched the hockey game and had a conference call with Jeff and Joshua as we discussed plans for painting the interior of our house as well as the new development of Jeff being sent home from work because he now has permanent restrictions for his work. A little background for this is he had right shoulder surgery in September for rotator cuff issues and again in February for carpal tunnel on his left hand. New challenges and prayers for wisdom as we start to look more intently at an earlier retirement for him. Good news is that Joshua is going to be able to get a grant to take the CDL license training. Progress is good!
Living and working with people on the Asperger Syndrome often is exhausting as there are so many details that don’t make sense to very linear thinkers. There are so many ”zigger zaggers” that are upsetting enough for anyone that are exponentially upsetting for high functioning autistic people. It is such a relief for me when things go smoothly. Perhaps another good reason for a week off for me.
After a few more words of encouragement and coaching, we said goodbye and walked back across a beautiful park with a big fountain that was totally enclosed by a black iron fence. We found our bedding and prepared for bed.
Christjanna had the brilliant idea to look for a Tea shop. She had had Clairesse make a reservation for 11 so it would count for brunch. We decided to dress up in our dresses. Again, we found ourselves grateful for raincoats and umbrellas. As we made our way across town using the GPS rain pounded down on our car. The Tartan tea shop had a delightful assortment of tea cups and saucers. There was a lovely period fireplace that displayed elegant hats. The wall paper was a quilt like arrangement of various tartans that surprisingly went together really well. We were escorted to our table with a view of the harbor. It was a very wet view with rain drops decorating the glass door. Our hostess made suggestions for tea. She directed us back to the fireplace where we were encouraged to choose a hat to complement our ensemble. She also took pictures for us.
Canada is very accommodating for gluten free food needs. Scones adorned liberally with clotted cream and lemon curd delighted our tongues. Clairesse and Christjanna shared a three tiered assortment with sandwiches made with salmon and cucumbers, then a tier of scones and then dainty petite fours, bonbons, puffy pastries. It was a cute light meal. We were also encouraged to try different teas within fresh cup brought out for a new flavor experience. This lead to some reminiscing of when Christjanna had done her class on English Literature and History. Her class did an English Tea fund raiser in which they made the requisite crust less sandwiches, scones, and pastries. They also planned a musical program. It also reminded me of the Swiss Exchange student and the tea we did to raise funds for new dress material for the chamber choir. As we were carefully cutting off the crusts, I asked how they did English tea parties in Switzerland. She replied that they did not have English tea parties in Switzerland. They had Swiss tea parties and they did not cut off the crusts. We laughed some more as we finished our tea.
We drove back in more pouring rain and changed into clothing more suitable to the weather. We thought we would walk down to explore the waterfront. We made it about three blocks in the torrential downpour when we saw the French Bakery. We had to go in and check it out. Once again we choose three different pastries to share as well has getting hot chocolate and coffee au latte. I ordered mine in French. The rain continued to pour down. We decided to go back to our apartment.
Christjanna had noticed that there was to be a D-Day Remembrance Day as this is the 75th anniversary of this historic and important event. She was able to rent the movie “The Longest Day”. After we made gourmet cheese sandwiches with smoked havarti and cheddar cheese on fresh sourdough bread from the French Bakery with tomato soup and beef stew as was fitting as the weather continued cold and rainy. We watched about half of the movie before we decided to go to bed for our last full day in Halifax.
We got up a bit earlier and made our way back to the French bakery hoping for some Quiche. That was not to be had but other pastries made up for it. Our objective was the Citadel which is a fort and has a delightful reenactment feel to it as tour guides dress in costumes as they give the tour fort and discuss life in that period of time. Our guide took great pride in showing us the cannons as his father had helped to transport some back to this fort. He described the communication use of spares and lines with flags so that the fort was able to communicate with ships and other forts. They also used the cannon to signal the time of day. Soldiers had one hour to get back to the fort after the last cannon was fired or they would come looking for them.
Perhaps most impressive display at the fort was the reenactment display of the Canadian assault of Juno beach on D-Day.
They had created a sandy beach similar to what the sand like including bunker with a land mine field as well as the wooden and metal “Chek- hedge hogs” that were designed to puncture the hull of a ship attempting to land on one of the beaches. I had noticed these in the movie and the troops attempting to go around them or use them for cover from bullets.They showed us a helmet that was very heavy but only meant to protect from shrapnel. The guides were very knowledgeable and had personal and family stories to share with us. They told us that often there were mines in between the wooden structures that only would go off if a tank drove over them. They also said that often the solders packs weighed 100 pounds – which was as much as some of the men weighed. One story was of a man who thought the water was shallow and jumped off the boat. It was 10 feet deep so he just walked up the seabed and on out to go fight! This was quite the contrast to the Scots kit at the citadel, from 1869, that held all his gear with his wool uniform and button polishing kit that was like a box with straps on his button polisher.
Our next stop was the waterfront. Parking was $16 for the day or $3 per hour. We had a picnic using our left overs and then wandered over the pier enjoying the sunshine. They have many interesting statutes commemorating women who volunteered during WW2 and Mr. Cunard who did much for shipping. We tried to get a turn on a hammock but ended up on some Adirondack chairs overlooking the bay. A women struck up a conversation with me and encouraged us to go check out Peggy’s Cove. The day being warm and beautiful, it was our last day with a rental car and she was the third or fourth person to tell us we needed to go there, we decided to go.
It was indeed, a quiet and beautiful drive. We had really not had to deal with much in the way of crowds this whole week – with the exception of the line up for Beavertails at the warf. We did not join that line. We went and got ice cream cones. Again Canada provided a gluten free cone option. I usually have to without when everyone else gets treats.
Peggy’s cove is a quintessential fishing village with some amazing art. It is clearly a tourist destination with its picturesque lighthouse and granite boulders and proximity to delicious seafood. We opted out of competition with the crowd and found a good place a bit down the road. We also opted to try an A and W root beer float after we filled up the car in preparation of returning it to the rental agency. The root beer tasted different and the ice cream was shaped like a hockey puck. We all agreed it was underwhelming and not at as we remember a root beer float is supposed to be.
At our motel, the Quality Inn, we unloaded and cleaned out the car. Christjanna drove it back to the airport and turned it in. We went and tried out the pool and hot tub. We are still a little sore from our bike ride. This was our last time for this trip to use the pool. We laughed at the admonition to not take the towel back to our rooms. We were laughing about how we would need to just drip our way back to our room if we couldn’t take the towels with us.
We ordered another poutine to share while we finished watching “The Longest Day”.