Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Halifax: Day 2

Having explored the entire Waterfront yesterday, I set out upon the ambitious task of walking back and forth along every street in downtown Halifax, all the way up to the fort on Citadel Hill.

(The view of the harbour from the top of Citadel Hill.)

My first task though was to buy some fresh fruit from the Farmer's Market (today being a Saturday when the Farmer's come in), because I had finished my last Ontario apple on the train, and there was no way I was going to eat another one of those Hummer apples - referring to the pollution generated in transporting them to Halifax, not the size of them.

(This is not the Farmer's Market, it's some sort of Catholic church.)

(This is also not the Farmer's Market. This is a Korean church. What's that I hear? Is it the sound of potential networking possibilities? I'll be President of South Korea yet.)

The Farmer's Market is actually getting a brand new, Platinum Grade ultra low emissions building on Pier 21 later this year, but for now it is still in the cramped, sweaty building next to the Alexander Kieth's Brewery. That didn't change how delicious the six Jona Gold apples I bought for $3 tasted though.

Grown right in the Annapolis Valley, I've never experienced an apple so crisp and juicy. It's as though the farmers took a normal Jona Gold apple and then inserted extra apple juice.

Like yesterday, the weather today was beautiful, and the streets were filled with buskers and young runners who had been participating in the Blue Nose Marathon events being held this weekend. I continued along Lower Water Street in good spirits until I found an excellent tea shop with every flavour imaginable, including chocolate chai, where I sat down and enjoyed a pot, and read the local paper.

(On a warm day, the best way to see the city is on an amphibi-bus like the Harbour Hopper. All the good cities have one of these: Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, etc. Challenge: Can you find this bus in another picture in this post?)

When I came to the public library about a half-hour later, I noticed a giant pet bear, and a man on stilts. The bear, actually a St. Bernard, was part of a program at the library to promote literacy, while the man on stilts was promoting his new circus arts school, in which I was very interested.

(Don't show those stilts to a female Seoulite, or she'll likely try to add even higher heels to her shoes and break an ankle.)

I also popped my head in to the library to see if two books I was interested in reading were a part of its collection. Both were, although one was so popular, it had a hold list of 30 people. Since I'm technically homeless I was not allowed to get a full membership, but the library allowed me to get a probationary card and so I was able to sign out the one book that was in, and download the other on e-audio book format (the e-book copy was also signed out).

(Now this is the kind of "retro" or "vintage" bicycle I can get behind. Would you get a load of that neon? Radical, dude!)

From the library, I continued upwards, and was pleasantly surprised to come across a YMCA. Remembering that the YMCA was where Hank Hill learned how to box, and also how to swim, I bought a four month summer pass and will train hard, since I figure after I master the marathon the triathlon is the next logical step.

By this point I was starting to run out of time before I needed to get back for a late afternoon dinner appointment, so I decided to make the trip more efficient by making a bee-line straight for the unbelievably beautiful Halifax Public Gardens. Officially opened in 1867, they are as old as Canada, and in my opinion rival even the fabulous public gardens of Princes Street in Edinburgh, Scotland.

My tourist map only showed as far north as The Citadel, so it was quite a surprise when I went past it, to find a massive urban park/playground just north of the hill; the oldest urban park in Canada. In my short walk through the Commons, I saw criminals... I mean teenagers practicing stunts on BMX bikes and skateboards in a large bike park; free-style rappers performing on a loud speaker at the Pavilion for the bikers; a men's fastball game; people playing tennis on a massive six-court, hard court, outdoor tennis complex; and a pick-up basketball game. When I am not at the YMCA, I will be spending a majority of my time here at the Commons. It's everything Muskoseepi Park should be, but isn't.

Eventually I made it to The Citadel, and while I had only wanted to walk around the outside of the walls and take a picture of the city below, I was so handsome and charming I was allowed in the National Historic Site for free (that, or because it was closing in a half-hour). Obviously I wasn't able to explore the museum in depth, but I will return at a later date to give interested readers a more thorough review in my soon to exist Nova Scotia blog.

At this point my trek was done, and I had to turn for home. It had been quite a day of sight seeing, but I was somewhat disappointed for I expected to see a restaurant called The Fireside. When I was in Halifax about 8 years ago for a music festival (oh no, I'm just like those teenagers I can't stand walking around now), I found this lovely dining establishment that makes the best grilled chicken Caesar salad in the world. Unfortunately, even though I had checked nearly everywhere I thought it could be, I still had not found any sight of my beloved Fireside.

And so it was with heavy heart that I walked home, thinking my beloved Fireside had gone out of business. But then, just behind the library, and not 20 metres from where I walked before on my way to the Public Gardens, came a sight so magnificent, so awe inspiring, it instantly healed the war-torn hearts in the Sudan, and caused all terrorists in central Asia to put down their vests filled with explosives...

(Oh FireSide, did you miss me? I missed you too. I promise I will return to sample your delicious grilled chicken Caesar salad at a later date.)

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