Halifax and Bar Harbour

Thursday, 9th June

A rare sight this morning. The sun streamed in through our window promising a better day than yesterday. Although there was a fair bit of cloud during the day and the wind was strong, there is nothing like a bit of blue sky to brighten things up.

We had breakfast in our room and then tried to get ashore but for the first time found the gangway blocked with other people with a the same idea. We were soon ashore and decided to walk along the waterfront which looks like it has recently been upgraded with a boardwalk and lots of cafes. We watched a French square rigger coming in to dock after a voyage across the Atlantic.image

The Maritime Museum was well worth a visit as it had not only artifacts from the Titanic but it told of the immense destruction of the Halifax explosion in 1917. Two boats collided in the harbour, one loaded with explosives. People came down to watch the event and then there was an almighty explosion. Two thousand people died. Much of Halifax was destroyed. This was only five years after the dead from the Titanic were brought to Halifax for identification and burial. There were a few remains from the ship. An original deckchair brought to mind the saying, “moving the deck chairs on the Titanic”.

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Looking for coffee we ventured into Starbucks. They offered flat whites but I knew they served them in cups the size of soup bowls so managed to get “child size” which is smaller than small. There was still too much milk but it was drinkable. Thus fortified we climbed the hill to the Cidadel. Met by pipers and entertained by cannon explosions, we spent an hour admiring the view and exploring the displays. Down the hill again and we returned to the ship after catching some wi fi in the terminal.

I did a load of washing, watched and listened to a talk by Jeremy about Bar Harbour and Boston and dressed for dinner as it was another gala night. We had a sparkling French white as we watched the sunset before our dinner at the Pinnacle at 8.30 pm. It started well with an amous bouch of salmon in a spoon but I am afraid the rest was more quantity than quality. Probably ordering seafood on a ship is a bad idea as my prawns and crab had obviously been frozen and lacked flavour as a result. The Bomb Alaska was disappointing as the meringue was runny. The wine service was slow. The only good thing was that there were plenty of vegetables. The food and service in the free dining room was actually better.

We caught the end of a singing and dancing show at the theatre, had coffee and a macaroon at the Explorers Cafe and still managed to sleep well.

Friday, 10th June

Our bags are packed and in the hallway, ready to be unloaded after arrival in Boston tomorrow morning. We will be “debarking” at 9.15 am and catching a taxi to Charlestown.

Today was the first and only day where we went ashore by tender. First the people booked into Holland America excursions went ashore. Next were the people on deck 10, 9,8,7,6,5 and finally us on 4. However before we could do that we had to go through American immigration which took about half an hour of queuing through the casino and the Explorer’s Cafe. Once we cleared immigration we were given our tickets to board the tender but had to wait another 45 minutes in the theatre before we were called.

imageimageimageimage.Bar Harbour is a resort town. It once equalled Cape Cod as a summer haven for the rich and famous but a fire in the 1940s destroyed many of the elegant houses and saw a downturn in its fortunes. The bar in its name us actually a sandbank out to an island which is only visible at low tide. If you are not careful you can be trapped by the tide.

The town is very pretty but totally geared up for tourists with every shop either selling souvenirs or food. We had coffee in a shop advertising espresso and used the free wi fi to check on emails, download the Mercury and the Herald and upload some of the blog.

After wandering around town some more we caught a boat back to the ship and had a late lunch. As the weather was milder than usual we explored the ship and found some decks we had not been on before. We had a great view of the surrounding harbour and islands and watched as the ship picked its way carefully between lobster traps. We were happy to return to our regular table in the dining room and enjoyed our meal and a chat to a Tennessee couple at the next table. The staff sang an Indonesian song of farewell and paraded through the dining room. We sadly said salamat malam to the food and wine waiters we had come to know well and went back to our room to pack. Oh well, another part of the holiday over! It is going to be hard to go back to shopping for food, cooking and making my own bed.

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