Published: April 18th 2012April 18th 2012
One of the sites along the Halifax waterfront boardwalk.
After Cove, Ireland, my next favourite place in the world now is Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Deb described Canada as being: “Just like USA without the steroids”.
The Canadian “natives” are friendly; the place is relaxed, it’s easy to get around and feels safe.
Halifax is an industrial city and not what you’d call picturesque, that is except for the port itself where our ship, Balmoral, docked from Monday 6pm to Tuesday 6pm.
Keen to stand on firm ground again asap, Debbie & Damian, Ian & Jenny (from Canberra), Don & I couldn’t wait to disembark as soon as we docked. We took a brisk walk along the boardwalk to a steakhouse, where we sat down and tucked into huge, fresh, steaks.
While on the subject of “fresh”, I’ll add here that with Halifax being a seaside port I (wrongly) thought maybe the ship would take the opportunity to stock up on fresh seafood so at last night’s dinner I asked how fresh the prawns were. I hadn’t been game try them since the first day at sea in case they’d gone off. The waiter laughed:
The grave site of the 32-year-old engineer who was one of three Australians who died in the Titanic disaster.
“There’s nothing fresh on this ship!” Well, it was worth the question!
While in port we made the most of any fresh food we could find. The Two Dees (Deb & Damian) and Ian & Jenny ordered lobsters straight from the tank for lunch at the Tug’s Pub for lunch at only $20 each, about half what they cost in Australia (see picture).
The day in Halifax was awesome.
We started out on foot via the same boardwalk as the night before and being a shutterbug, I had to keep stopping every few paces to capture the incredible foggy waterside scenes (see pictures). We eventually made it into town and took a taxi to the graveyard where bodies recovered from the Titanic were buried.
It was a bit of an anticlimax though. Initially we and the Two Dees had tried to book on a day-long tour, but we’re pleased now it was fully booked and we missed out. The constant stream of tourists from the many busloads of tourists going through the graveyard made it difficult to read the inscriptions and appreciate the moment.
were able to read a few though. One in particular stood out for me: A 32 year-old Australian engineer who had boarded the Titanic bound for Canada where he was to meet with friends to go travelling (see picture). His body was the 209th
of 303 to be retrieved from the water; a booked titled “209” has been written on his story. His gravestone was much bigger than most others with his family paying the extra above what was provided by the shipping company that built the Titanic, White Starline.
The last body, 303, wasn’t retrieved until May, 1912, a month after the disaster.
The engineer is one of only two Australian’s we’ve heard about since being on this trip. There were five – three died, two survived. One of the survivors was a nurse who had been living in England and not long before the trip, met a doctor. The two were to travel together but he, at the last minute, wasn’t able to sail. Had been on the ship, he, being a male, most likely would have died. She survived and the two met again later and married.
also visited the Halifax museum where Titanic artefacts are kept, such as a deck chair that was retrieved from the ocean and restored (see picture).
After lunch at the Tug’s Pub in Halifax, the Three Dees (Deb, Damian & Don), headed back to the ship while Ian, Jenny and I found a taxi driver who’d take us over the city’s two bridges, show us some of Canada’s unique houses and the memorial site (see picture) for the disaster that struck the city in 1916 when two ship’s collided. One was carrying ammunition and the collision caused a massive blast that flattened the surrounding area for 2.6km and killed more than 3000 people. The disaster therefore, was bigger than the Titanic but isn’t as well known.
The best part of the day was being able to stretch our leg and butt muscles after being at sea for a week. There is a gym onboard. I got onto one of the treadmills about Day 3 and as Captain Bamberg would say “all was well” (it was a magnificent view from the gym’s treadmill, on one of the top decks overlooking the ship’s bow), until I looked
A restored deck chair from the Titanic is now on display in a Halifax museum.
down and, being prone to sea sickness, the damn thing nearly threw me off! It was like a bad case of vertigo so I hit the emergency stop button and haven’t been back since. There are pilates sessions each at 3pm. At least lying on the floor would mean I couldn’t fall off anything, but we’re talking 3pm here – that’s after lunch and siesta time, so forget it!
After our fantastic day of sightseeing and hiking around Halifax, we were all back on deck by 5.30pm, in time for the Balmoral to set sail at 6pm.
Today, Wednesday 18th
, is our last full day at sea. We should arrive in New York tomorrow about 8am, and leave the ship for our two booked tours – four hours each, one by day and the other by night.
We then have one more night aboard Balmoral while in port and on Friday, our luggage will be transferred direct to the airport while we do some more sightseeing and board the plane for home in the late afternoon.
There are more photos below