Monday, September 2, 2013

Halifax area

On our way to Halifax we stopped in Truro for a few days as it had been recommended as the place to see the Fundy Tidal Bore; a greater volume of water than all the rivers in the world combined flows into the Bay of Fundy. As so much sea water enters the estuary the river literally runs up stream; there are lookout spots where one can view this happening; it was absolutely amazing to be looking at a riverbed with a trickle of water and moments later see a big wave rush up the estuary with gallons of water behind it. The water is chocolate colored from all the sediment churned up as the river fills up to a raging torrent heading inland; a calm river one minute heading out to the sea can rise at high tide as much as 26ft higher than low tide. If one watches for a while one can see the river ebb or flow.

We are staying in an RV Park near Peggy's Cove which is about 20 miles from Halifax; our site overlooks a lovely lake which reflects the surrounding picturesque scenery. Having set up camp we headed for Peggy’s Cove stopping on our way at a poignant memorial to those lost in the Swissair Flight 111 crash off-shore from here in 1998. There’s a second memorial and graveyard where some of the 229 victims are buried on the other side of St Margaret’s Bay. Peggy's Cove is a little fishing village with spectacular scenery, a famous light house and massive granite rocks tossed about by the last glacier retreat; it was lovely and quaint and reminded us of the Burren in County Clare and the Aran Islands.

The following day we went to Lunenburg a town founded by the English in 1753 for settlers of Swiss/German origin knowing that they would get a good return from these industrious people; apparently all the British that had previously been sent over to Halifax spent their time in pubs, gambling and visiting ladies-of-the-night! The Governor never got an honest day’s work out of them. What the British did not anticipate is that these immigrants would establish Lunenburg as what it is to this day a German speaking and architectured town; they are bilingual. It is a big seaport town with many churches; the main one, Anglican is in the square in the center of town. The Anglicans schooled the children and loaned their church to the Lutherans for services on the stipulation that there be no sermons or preaching. The Lutherans learned that the Anglicans were going to Baptize all the children into the Anglican faith; it didn't take them long to build their own church and school!

Yes another Fort! This time it was the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site strategically located on top of a hill overlooking Halifax and the harbor. Once again a very interesting visit; here the docents were vacationing college students dressed up in the (original we think) uniforms of the 78th Highlanders. Some of the interesting history of Halifax - George Prince of Wales spent some of his early years here spending his time mostly in taverns and brothels; he spent so much money he was brought back to England as the coffers were getting low and England needed the money for wars where he continued his high-spending life: he is infamous for having secretly marrying a catholic and having succeeded his father George 111 as King George IV he forbade his own mother from his coronation. To reestablish the British reputation Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (fourth son of George 111 and Father of Queen Victoria) was sent to Halifax; he stayed sober, did a great job, in fact, much of historical Halifax is due to his endeavors. He had about a third of the hill removed and flattened to start the construction of the Citadel which took 28 years to build, it was finished in 1856; he built many other government houses and also had a house built for himself and his mistress (the wife of the Governor, if the Governor complained we reckon he would have lost his job) where they lived openly. We saw this on the local TV station; the Citadel docent/student didn't tell us this part of the history. Halifax was obviously one hell hole of a town for a long time, now it is a lovely big town that came into its own during WW 1 and WW 11; as it was a critical port for the Royal Navy, the Allies and as a supply port for the war effort. Halifax also played a part in the search and recovery effort after the Titanic sank, boats from here recovered 130 bodies most of whom are buried in a graveyard here.

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