The first port we arrived at on our recent Norwegian Cruise to Canada/New England was Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. Arriving in Canada we didn’t really think the atmosphere would be much different from here in the States, as we live a stones throw away from Windsor, Ontario. Actually though the greeting we received was somewhat surprising.
The terminal where we were docked was set up like a mini-mall. Up and down the terminal building outlining either side there were booths full of hand-crafted as well as standard souvenir items. At first I thought we might be bombarded with the hard-sell of desperate sales people, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Everyone greeted us like we were old friends, not worrying about selling us anything, but definitely concerned that we knew what there was to do while we were in Halifax.
We walked through the terminal chatting with vendors and making our way to one side. When we got to the end we stopped at a booth where a man was selling coffee and home-baked goods. We asked him what there was to do while we were in Halifax, as we hadn’t booked any tours. Without missing a beat, he left his coffee pot, picked up a map and huddled over a table with Hubby, pointing out all the sights that were within walking distance, which was pretty much everything.
As he talked, the one site he highly recommended was the Halifax Citadel, a British fort built in 1869. He warned us that it was a bit of a walk and pretty much all uphill, but well worth the effort. He told us if we got there by noon we’d get to see the canon being shot. After thanking our “tour guide” by buying some coffee and cookies, we began our long walk to the Citadel.
Leaving the terminal we were surprised at how quaint the city was. It was a wonderful place to just mozie about. There were cafe’s, parks, and tiny restaurants on the boardwalk along the shoreline for what seemed like miles.
Once we left the boardwalk we found ourselves surrounded by local art painted on many of the buildings along with monuments and statues.
It was a hard trek uphill to the Citadel, but when we finally got to the top of the hill, it was well worth the walk.
While we were at the Citadel we saw the sentry change, the firing of the noon gun, performances of the pipes and drums in the parade square, and of course visited the barracks and troops.
I have to say the walk back to the ship was much easier than the walk there, but the day was perfect. Halifax is a place that we would like to visit again and spend some serious time exploring more of the boardwalk and surrounding city. Grace told me that she would love to just vacation in Halifax for a week because it was so welcoming with a small town feel, without being a small town.
Halifax was the perfect way to kickoff our port experiences on our cruise and definitely worth the trip. If you get the chance to ever go there, I highly recommend it. Warm, friendly, quaint, and lovely, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.