Let me begin by saying, I went on a plane ride…I drank tea…I read my book. It was amazing.
We arrived in Halifax in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Sessions began whilst I slowly made my way to the Smiling Goat coffee shop, book in hand, ready to start my kid-free weekend. I walked along the pier with no agenda other than getting my bearings. When Ben was ready for lunch, I made a quick decision to try Morris East. I’d heard nothing about it but was pleasantly surprised at the comfortable atmosphere and innovative yet delicious menu. After lunch, Ben went back to sessions and I walked around some more: up Spring Garden Road and back down to the hotel where I had a pedicure followed by a long nap.
We joined our friends Larry and Edna for dinner, East coast style, at the Waterfront Warehouse restaurant. Followed by the first highlight concert of the weekend with performances by Pro Coro and the Halifax Camerata Singers. It was a wonderful concert with a diverse repertoire including the Nightingale by Ugis Praulins.
Friday morning, Ben was off bright and early to the first session of the day. He returned at 10 am after the first session and I was still in bed. He returned at noon after the following session to meet up for lunch…and I was still in bed. Not sleeping, but in bed nonetheless. Ben and I headed to the water to get some lunch from a couple of the many food shacks that lined the pier. He had poutine and I went with the classic fish and chips.
I basically spent three days walking the hills of Halifax – each day, a minimum of fifteen kilometres. After lunch, I set off to find Point Pleasant Park. On my way, I found the best little used book shop: Schooner Books. What made this book shop so great what the decent selection in every area of interest. It wasn’t just full of trashy paperback novels but packed with Canadian fiction, political science section, both global and Canadian and lots of children’s books, including a full set of classic Hardy Boys books and an original illustrated copy of The Cremation of Sam McGee .
I did eventually make it to Point Pleasant Park. It was a pleasant walk but I was surprised by the scenery. Because of the recent storms many of the trees were quite sad looking. Not only that but since this was the first nice weekend Halifax had had in a while, the trees were quite bare, as you can see in the pictures.
Halifax is a unique city. It is very small compared to other major North American cities so you can walk around it in a day and see just about everything. And while you would expect to see the rich Canadian heritage in their architecture, many of the buildings are relatively new. This is in part, because of the Halifax explosion of 1917, when the city was basically levelled. It was the biggest man made explosion next to the atomic bomb.
One thing Halifax does know how to do however, is party. Pubs are an integral party of the social landscape in this beautiful city. Our two favourites were Durty Nelly’s and the Old Triangle. Not only did they have a good collection of beer but good food as well.
|St. Paul’s church, the oldest church in Halifax and St. Mary’s Basilica in the background
|Citadel Hill: Sunday was the Blue Nose marathon so the city was buzzing with activity.
Sunday was Ben’s birthday so we went out with a couple of friends for lunch. I love watching Ben converse with his people, considering there are very few of them in our circles. People that love choral music as much as he does and can talk for hours about the religious/philosophical side of it.
After the conference had finished, Ben and I had Monday to explore the city together. Our first stop was the farmers’ market. (Excuse the pre-coffee picture). We had a delightful breakfast at Norbert’s and then wandered the market. We noticed that there was quite a crowd gathering and figured it was because of Prince’s Charles immanent arrival. Having spent a year in Cambridge and never seeing royalty we figured we may as well stick around. It turns out we were some of the first in line and were able to not only see the Prince but shake his hand as well.
From the farmer’s market we literally walked around the whole of Halifax. It was eerily deserted. When we enquired of the bartender at the Economy Shoe Shop, where we stopped for refreshment, he figured the city has partied so hard on the weekend, that they were probably all in bed. We believed it.
All in all, it was a great trip. Ben had a great time at the conference. He connected with a lot of people and had a great time doing a master class with Canadian choral conducting legend, Dr. Ratzlaff. And I had a good time relaxing, reading my book, and spending time with myself and of course, Ben.