October 4 Halifax-St. John

Good morning! We suddenly have a melancholy feeling that this trip might not last forever; that we might be summoned back to the worlds we left behind. Also, I think we’re getting really tired. We’re all looking forward to dozing in the bus, especially after lunch. The weather has turned sunny again. It’s warmer than yesterday, and no sign of the rain we had for several days. So we packed up our bulging suitcases (we’ve been hitting the gift shops again) and climbed on the bus to head out of Halifax. I’m sorry I never made it to the Maritime Museum here, and I’m sure there’s other cool stuff I missed, but would need a couple more weeks for a thorough visit. One cool thing about the hotel we stayed at: In my hotel room there was a crate for recycling, and on the side of that was a little basket labeled “organic” which I presume was for food waste. What a wonderful idea! And yes, I used it.

Our first stop of the day was something new for Linda. I’m not sure how she heard about it, but one phone call and it was set up. It was a visit to a pumpkin patch that specialized in huge pumpkins. Here’s what greeted us: P1010958 It was just fabulous. I had Charlotte stand by one to get some perspective (though Charlotte’s not very tall):P1010960 Some of the pumpkins had their weight written on them:P1010962 I was trying to think when growing season starts, and it couldn’t be before March or April, even starting the seeds indoors, and the fruit won’t show up until well after that. So the pumpkins must gain several pounds a day as they’re growing. wow. They also had photos, though I didn’t see them, of some pumpkin races that are held, using the pumpkins as the coach, just like Cinderella. Except it’s a regatta, and the pumpkins are the boats. http://worldsbiggestpumpkins.com/ Though the clerk was talking about the various pumpkin farmers, and they all seem to be having back problems–I guess schlepping the pumpkins around causes some occupational hazards.

So they had lots of huge pumpkins, and pumpkins still in the fields:P1010963 P1010964 And they had produce other than pumpkins:P1010965 P1010961 They had some lovely white pumpkins:P1010966 And this was so cool: they sold pumpkin seeds, including seeds that could be used to grow really huge pumpkins, though the warning on the seed packets put the pumpkins in the 300-500 pound range, not the 1,000 pound size of the biggies here. But my son would just love to grow huge pumpkins, so I bought several packages of seeds for him. The clerk at the cash register (everyone working there was wearing an orange coat. Go figure.) pointed out a huge patch in the field, and told me “Those are just two plants,” meaning I had just purchased enough seeds for the entire state of Oregon. That was fine. All the seeds came with some guarantee to get them across the border into the US. I think almost everyone from the group bought seeds. They didn’t have seeds for the white pumpkins, which was too bad. This should definitely be a regular stop for the fall tours.

Then, the real highlight of the visit for me: I got to pet a cat. I had seen a calico wandering around, and followed her, making icky kissy sounds and chirpy noises. She kept walking, but I finally got her close enough to let her sniff my fingers, and she allowed me a couple strokes before she wandered away, bored. And I got a photo: P1010967

It certainly made my day.

Our next stop of the day was at Grand Pre, meaning “Big Meadow” the site of a UNESCO World Heritage Site commemorating the expulsions of the Acadians from Acadia. There was a video and artifacts and lots of interesting, though excruciating, things to see. There was also interesting illustrations and even some very old carved logs that had been used to drain the marshes that became the farms of the Acadians. There was also quite a bit about Longfellow’s poem Evangeline, and most of us promised to read it. Many of the Acadians came from Poitou, and after living in Acadia for generations, they probably didn’t feel particularly French anymore, despite being French-speaking Catholics, and certainly had no wish to be British. I think it fascinating that they had such good relations with the local Native Americans, the Mi’kmaq. The actions by the English in expelling them seemed little short of genocide. Even a non-religious person can hope there’s a special corner in hell for the officials who ordered it all.

So, here’s a photo of the statue of Evangeline, who is supposed to look young from one angle, and older from another, though I didn’t see that. Behind her is a chapel built in the 20th Century in the approximate spot of the chapel used by the Acadians.P1010968

This is a photo of a blacksmith’s shop that had been built in the early 1800s. The furnishings, the windows, everything in the shop seemed equally old and authentic. I thought it was fascinating: P1010970 (I was having trouble with the sun. sorry.) And inside the shop was the special stall built to hold oxen immobile while they were being fitted with shoes. I can imagine it would be a difficult process. P1010969 On the way back from the blacksmith’s I passed the garden and the orchard of the site. I think there’s a hiking trail on a disused railroad track that I took back to the museum. And I passed a raspberry bush with a few ripe berries still on it. So I took a photo (before picking the berries.)P1010971

The next stop in our hectic schedule was lunch at the Port Gastropub in Port Williams. https://www.theportpub.com/

It’s by a river that experiences huge tidal changes, though it was just pretty low and quiet while we were there. There’s a lovely outdoor seating area, though they had us sit inside. We had about four choices from the little menus they gave us. All sounded really wonderful. I ended up with fish and chips, and it was all delicious. The tartar sauce was divine! Everybody enjoyed whatever they ordered; it was all delectable. I got only one cup of tepid tea, but again, serving 21 people at one table, all at once, must have been a struggle for the staff.

Next stop was at a power station. I think it was the Annapolis Royal Generating Station.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annapolis_Royal_Generating_Station  An extraordinarily articulate. funny, and honest company official named Les gave us the tour, trying to explain how they used turbines to create energy, and as he said, they were still at the beginning of a very long learning curve. Existing technology was unsuited to such huge tides as they experienced, and in the early days, there wasn’t much concern about environmental damage. So several missteps occurred on the way to what is now an amazingly functioning, responsible method of providing hydroelectric power. They’re trying the same in the Bay of Fundy, but the extreme tides there have created a whole new crop of issues. At least, that’s as much as I grasped, which could still be wrong. I think John and Tom understood it all, though I didn’t understand John’s questions much, either. But I did enjoy reading how they accommodated ospreys who thought power poles were the perfect spot to build their nests, and got a photo of one they had: P1010972

Then we had time for a quick stop in Annapolis Royal. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annapolis_Royal   I must confess total ignorance about the town. It’s the oldest town north of St. Augustine, Florida, Linda said, and as we trudged down the little main street, she told us we were walking on the oldest street in Canada. Amazing. There’s an gorgeous flower garden there, though it was mostly blowsy roses by this time. They gave us a little map, but with my lack of a sense of direction, and no information on the houses themselves, we had a hard time identifying the historic houses that are all over the town. So I just took photos of what caught my eye, and much did. I’ll try to figure them out later, and update this. Just enjoy the views.P1010976 P1010975 P1010974Some of them date from the early 1700s. I’m amazed any survived all the battles over the town between various armies. Linda said the population of the town was 500, but I was thinking it had to be more than that. Well, the 2011 census said 481, so whatever.

Then we were off to catch the big ferry to St. John. It would be a long trip, and Alice and I were in the TV lounge, trying not to watch a truly horrendous movie. It was awful. We’d all been given $12. vouchers to buy our dinners on the ferry. It was kind of funny, these sophisticated travelers really agonizing about what they would buy with the $12, knowing they wouldn’t get any change back, but would have to pay for anything about $12. We all managed to find something. I did get a couple photos. This shows some salmon farms near where the ferry starts:P1010979 And this is the sunset as we got closer to St. John:P1010981

We got into the hotel, and the more adventuresome travelers went out into the evening to check out St. John, and look for the famous farmers’ market. I settled in. Good night.

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One Response

  1. Love these photos! You are having good weather there. We have had
    13 straight days of rain here in Chapel Hill. Love,
    Teddy

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