Surfing the Sea

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Trip to Nova Scotia: Day 9 — Feb 20, 2016

Trip to Nova Scotia: Day 9

Our flight home to London from Halifax had been delayed… by a whole day! We would now be setting off at 9pm the next night rather than 11pm that day as originally expected. This would mean that we had to stay overnight at the airport, because we’d now checked out of our hotel in the city and so couldn’t return for the night. I had to sleep on both the floor and the seats, and it was very uncomfortable having my head pressed against a hard surface rather than a fluffy pillow and having only a jacket as a blanket.

Once I’d managed to wake myself up with the help of Tim Horton’s, there wasn’t much exploring left to do as we were already on our way home from Halifax. While I mostly just connected with family and friends back home and browsed the Web on my computer and tablet (as well as writing for this blog), I did have a break to eat at a pub, where I had a cheeseburger with chips and another ice cream sandwich, and revisiting the lobsters at the seafood store just around the corner from the lounge.

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Freshly-cooked Nova Scotia South Shore lobsters with smoked salmon
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Freshly-cooked Nova Scotia South Shore lobsters

I then noticed another lobster sculpture like the one in the lounge, except this one was made out of glittery mosaic tiles rather than decorated with the Nova Scotia tartan. Maybe they’re part of a series and people have to follow a trail to find each one?

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Glitter mosaic lobster sculpture

I also had a good look at the real lobsters in the shop tank, and I even put one out to see it close-up. Even though its claws were tied together with elastic bands, I still felt a little afraid of the spikes on its legs as they might give me nasty scratches. It was fun seeing the lobster make its way back into the tank and splashing inside, flipped over onto its back. (This sort of reminds me of the lobster hatchery scene in my novel Once Upon A Time In Canada, where Pictou is being shown a pregnant female lobster with eggs and she is carefully placed back down into the pool.)

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Lobsters in a tank
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Lobsters underwater

Of course, eventually the time rolled back around, and I had to leave my love Canada back for home shores in England. I tried not to cry again as the bright night lights of Halifax and the environs whizzed past me outside my window onboard the plane.

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Goodbye Halifax, see you some other day!

Once I finally landed back home, I was so sleepy but happy that I was back in familiar territory. (Of course, I was also still sad I couldn’t see Canada again for some time afterwards.) I fell asleep on the train home until I was tugged awake to get on the bus near my house… and that’s where I am now, home.

In retrospective, I’ve found that even if I only saw Canada once, it would complete my dream of simply seeing it. Now my next wish is to visit it again in the summer, and possibly eventually live there where I will always be around Canadians.

Thank you, Canada, for having me experience you for the first time in my life, and for seeing what you’re really all about!

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Trip to Nova Scotia: Day 8 — Feb 19, 2016

Trip to Nova Scotia: Day 8

Finally, after a week of enjoying Nova Scotia (or rather, two towns in Nova Scotia), I was ready to head back home to London and resume my normal working life! Inevitably, the tears came – and Canada is a country which I’ve previously never visited before, but it being my lifelong passion means I am inextricably attached to it. (I also cried when I left Yorkshire, my birth county in England, after visiting it for three days as a nostalgia trip, because nearly my whole childhood was spent there and so I’ve made a lot of memories there.)

We dragged our bags down Inglis Street towards the Halifax ViaRail train station, which also doubled up as a coach stop, and stored them in the bus’ luggage compartment. When the bus set off for the airport, I watched outside the window to enjoy Halifax and the surrounding area for one last time before I flew back home, having a short stopover in Dartmouth.

As the bus arrived at the airport, we went to fetch our bags from the luggage compartment, and since there was a lot of time to go before the flight back home to London, we had to find ways to keep ourselves entertained.

I came across a seafood shop which had real live lobsters for sale, just like the ones I’d seen in Peggy’s Cove the day before! They had been caught off Nova Scotia’s South Shore, so they were local – perfect for tourists who wanted to bring home the taste of Nova Scotia. I even got to see one of the lobsters up close – touching it felt somewhat surreal!

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A real live fresh Nova Scotia South Shore lobster!

Around the corner in the waiting lounge, there was another lobster! Sadly it wasn’t a real lobster (unless one of the lobsters from the seafood shop escaped), but rather a sculpture of a lobster decorated with the Nova Scotia tartan. There are apparently a good number of these lobster sculptures around Halifax, and they are being auctioned off for charitable causes in Nova Scotia.

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Nova Scotia tartan lobster sculpture

After we’d stuffed ourselves with fish and chips, ice cream sandwiches and Tim Horton’s, it was time to get ourselves ready to board the flight back to London. Or were we heading back to London…?

Trip to Nova Scotia: Day 7 — Feb 18, 2016

Trip to Nova Scotia: Day 7

My travels in Nova Scotia were just about coming to a close, but I couldn’t spend it just lazing around in the hotel all day just watching TV or typing away at my computer (which, ironically, is what I’m doing right now). I’d pretty much seen all of what Halifax had to offer at this point, so for the first time on this holiday, we headed outside of Halifax to visit the small fishing village of Peggy’s Cove on the Atlantic coast. (Technically, Peggy’s Cove is still Halifax, as it’s part of the Halifax Regional Municipality.)

Peggy’s Cove is famous with those who travel to Nova Scotia because of its lighthouse, which some say is the most photographed lighthouse in the world. The village was apparently named after the sole survivor of a nearby shipwreck, whose name was Margaret (or Peggy, to give the nickname).

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Foggy Peggy’s Cove lighthouse

Today, it seems no-one can go to Peggy’s Cove without snapping one or two (or even more) photos of the lighthouse. That is exactly what I did when I came to the village.

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Foggy Peggy’s Cove lighthouse and village
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Foggy Peggy’s Cove lighthouse
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Foggy Peggy’s Cove lighthouse up close

As well as snapping numerous photos of the lighthouse for Instagramming, we also admired the awe-inspiring power of the rough sea waves crashing upon the rocky shore. A few days prior, a huge storm swept Nova Scotia, causing choppy seas out in the Atlantic Ocean and eventually reaching the eastern seaboard of Canada. Some people have actually died trying to admire the strong waves and getting swept away by the force, drowning or being crushed against the rocks.

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Rough seas at Peggy’s Cove, NS
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Rough seas at Peggy’s Cove, NS
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Rough waves at Peggy’s Cove, NS

After getting a good enough look of the lighthouse and the rough waves, we visited a small gift shop just up on the shore, where I found a vast array of Nova Scotian goodies, like keyrings, mugs, snow globes and hats. I even found some real live locally-caught fresh lobsters in a tank… and some Nova Scotia toilet paper!

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Fresh Nova Scotia lobsters in a tank
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Fresh Nova Scotia lobsters in a tank

As we headed back to Halifax, the fog slowly began to lift, giving way to some beautiful sea, forest and lakescapes. Once we arrived back in Halifax, we had some lunch at a Mexican restaurant, where we had burritos with chips, sweetcorn, tortillas and a cheesecake! We then relaxed a little by going to Victoria Park, where I found a statue of Robert Burns, the Bard of Scotland (I told you, Nova Scotia means “New Scotland” in Latin) and walking around nearly the whole perimeter of Citadel Hill, enjoying spectacular views of Dartmouth and the Angus L. MacDonald Bridge linking Halifax and Dartmouth.

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Robert Burns statue in Victoria Park
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Dartmouth and the Angus L. MacDonald Bridge from Citadel Hill

As we relaxed back in the hotel, I couldn’t help but feel sad that I couldn’t stay in Nova Scotia forever, as I’ve always dreamed. But I also felt happy that I would finally be returning to my London home after a week away. (An Inside Out reference there, maybe? Could Joy and Sadness be making a new happy and sad memory inside my Headquarters right now?)

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