Saturday, July 9, 2011

halifax is hopping

Boy, it was hot around here the past few days with temperatures that must have been close to 80. There's a line of enormous cruise ships parked at the pier making me wonder who these days has the money to ride around on them? It's the Season in Halifax and if the sparkle from the water isn't enough to dazzle your eyes then the flashing diamonds of promenading matrons will do he job. Many of the tourists here for summer holidays find walking not to their liking but summer provides several choices for getting around town other than hiring a limo, hailing a taxi, or waiting an interminable amount of time for a bus. Here's a picture of one of them (taken by a news service) across the water from George's Island. There are many stories about that little place but this one isn't about that.

The horse drawn wagons travel the city streets at the stately pace of a strolling Clydesdale. I love horses and many times when I hear the gentle clopping and tinkling bells I look out the window to see them pass. It's also not unusual to see a long line of cars forced into a slow moving parade behind.

Another choice for those who prefer spending their time at outdoor bars and cafes or meandering along the harbor piers rather than hiking up and down hills is one of the big pinks. Retired from duty in London, double decker buses ferry weary tourists around the major historical sites of the city. I wonder why everybody seems to prefer the top deck?

Of course there are the boats that will take people out for harbor tours or even whale watching but that's a different thing. When you're planning to travel across broad stretches of water it's kind of handy to have a boat unless one is an exceptionally strong swimmer.

There is one means of transport seen around summertime Halifax that includes both city and sea and that's the Harbour Hopper. It can be quite disconcerting to see something that looks like a cross between a dump truck and a tugboat driving around the city streets and I must say that the passengers do tend to look a bit silly perched up in the back as it lumbers along. Nevertheless, I may have to ride on it one of these days even if I do have to wear a big hat and dark glasses so none of the other locals will recognize me. You see the Hopper is an amphibious vehicle that dives down a steep ramp into the water. It kind of looks like fun:

It's a bit strange living in a city that appeared to be fairly normal up until 2 weeks ago that has turned into a fun park for the infirm. I think I'll keep on walking.

Enjoy your days ♡


  1. Looks like a fun place Susan! I like the presence of routemasters and a DUKW... just like London!

  2. Looks almost like Vancouver (minus the mountains) with all the summer cruise ships! Ours go to Alaska mostly. I love the doubledecker after riding a couple in London and Berlin - you have to hang on tight upstairs and especially navigating the stairs while in motion but the view is worth it. The amphibian looks hilarious on the streets but sounds like fun getting into the water. We saw photos by some NZ friends who rode one a few months ago when visiting down under. Have a great summer and enjoy the views of your city from the ground.

  3. It sounds like when the sanity returns to Halifax so does the cold weather.

    In Boston and Philly these amphibious vehicles are called "Duck Boats" or "Duck Tours." They do look silly AND like fun.

  4. jams - It's funny to remember my Dad learned to drive when he became a London bus driver. A major test was to stop while driving up a steep hill and not allow the bus to roll back over a sixpence placed under a rear tire when it restarted.

    marja-leena - Tourism in big cities like Vancouver and Portland isn't quite so noticeable as it is in a little place like this. I remember riding double deckers a lot when I lived in London and depending on how far I was going I'd nearly always ride on top as well - at the front. We make the harbour part of one of our long walks a few times a week but I rather prefer it when we have it to ourselves.

    steve - You're right. I almost posted a picture of traffic during a winter storm but it seemed unnecessary. Thanks for telling they're called duck boats.

  5. i'm glad to hear your weather has improved. a friend returned recently from a business trip to Halifax, saying it had rained the whole time. i thought of you and Crow.

    tourists are strange animals. hard to understand someone who travels across the country or around the world to sit on their butt. though not all do. my youngest son is traveling in Kenya just now. he helped install water storage in a school there, then went on photo safari and is, at this moment, climbing Mt. Kenya.

    i suspect that walking, being a mode of transport involving direct experience with the landscape, imprints your brain with images and impressions that give your art its delicious details and depth. keep walking!!!

  6. fun park for the infirm

    Cracking me up, susan. It's all very colorful, isn't it?

  7. Wow, that last vehicle is funny looking to me but I bet the kids would like it. So your home becomes a theme park when it gets warm eh?

    Maybe you can set up shop and sell artwork during the tourist season? Just a thought...

  8. gfid - One of the interesting things around here was seeing Spring last for just about as long as it does in Portland. The only difference is it starts 5-6 weeks earlier there. Yes, there's been lots of rain but the moisture and the cool temperatures made the first flowers last a very long time.

    What your son is doing is not the way I'd define being a tourist. He's most definitely an adventurer and that's altogether a different thing. It's also extremely cool.

    I must admit the longer I live here the more I grow to love the place. It's a small city compared to some I've known but it's very walkable and mostly beautiful. I hope it transfers a bit.

    lisa - You noticed :-) I remember hearing before we came that halifax has a reputation for being quirky. Now I know why.

    liberality - If the Hopper was full of kids it would be funny; the fact it's full of obese middle aged people is kind of sad. Yep, it's a summertime theme park all right.

    A lot of people have that idea. I might do that sometime if I could find other good artists to share duty with. Thanks for imagining it.

  9. The top deck is for throwing things at the locals.

  10. A bit like Lake Tahoe in the summer. You just have to grin a bear it for a few months. I try to remember that these people are on vacation - that's why they seem to have left their brain back at the hotel and walked right out in front of our car.

  11. randal - There are a few locals who'd be throwing things back - like bricks.

    nancy - Have you noticed a lot of people seem like that all the time?

    I hope you're enjoying a wonderful summer there.

  12. Lovely photos Susan..and while you seem to be adapting to all seasons, summer sounds wonderful indeed. I love the main arboretum/city park in downtown Halifax. Anna, in fact, has a lovely roll-up tree map from.

    Best to you and the man.

  13. Everybody complains about tourist - even here in rural Maine the people always grumble about people from Massachusetts or from away. Yet, they bring money. And, of course, when we go out of state we are not tourist - we are home people visiting aliens.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  14. gary - We had no idea what to expect since autumn had arrived once we did. Winter was wild indeed but Spring was a very pleasant surprise as it unfolded. Our long walks and drives this summer have been amazing. The Public Gardens are very nice but our favorite local place is Point Pleasant Park.

    I hope you're well and enjoying your new job.

    ol' buzzard - Ain't it the truth? Much of what's nice around here for all of us is done for the visitors so I won't complain but will continue to avoid when necessary.

  15. people ride the top deck of the double-deckers because they can peep in the windows of houses as they drive by.

  16. sera - That's always a good reason for an evening walk as well.

  17. This is a marvelous voyeuristic sort of travelogue, making me want to get up there and ride the Harbour Hopper (Boston calls them "Duck Boats") in a thong. Give the Blue-Hairs their money's worth, you know. ;)

    Good luck surviving the touristas, with hopes that they provide some sparkle to your year.

  18. cr - You'd definitely be the life of that duck boat tour. The tourists mostly keep to the touristy areas so they're easily avoided. There are places we've visited around here that are really in need of someone with good photography skills (hint).

  19. Those amphibious vehicles are here in the tourist mecca of Wisconsin Dells. They call them the "Ducks". Ride the Ducks is their mantra on billboards.
    Thanks for the tour of "what the tourists do." I much prefer to see the shore and countryside. I don't walk very well these days, I am slow with a lot of stopping, and sometimes I just can't do it. That is discouraging, but I have to live with these limitations. I'm sure I'll see all I can and I am looking forward to seeing the North Atlantic up close and personal.
    I guess one ride around to lay an eyeball on the historic places and then on to a good place to eat, other than that, no tourist traps and gift shops for moi. (Maybe a good cigar shop for one of the Cuban cigars we can't buy here would be okay, and I would sit inna public park and smoke it as i watch people)
    Probably won't be so busy in October and we'll need coats and hats.


  20. As CR said, we have the duck boats in Boston which I rode on only once during my daughter's 6th grade class trip many years ago. I don't know who was more obnoxious, the 6th graders collectively or the driver single-handedly!

    I like Halifax in summer. Good people watching and the locals are very outgoing, friendly people. I find Canadians cheerful and warm people, in general and NS-ians particularly so!

    Love the pink double-deckers! They made a very long trip to turn pink!

  21. spadoman - It had to be my blog friends who told me what they're called :-)

    There are lots of very cool places around here the tourists never see - or if they do they just look like everybody else walking around. I'm not that big on local history myself but there's lots of wonderful sights to see near and far and I can guarantee you won't be disappointed. The Public Gardens are nice as is the big park at the bottom of the peninsula. You can drive down there and a walk to benches on the shore is easy. Yes, do bring something warm to wear - temps around here went from 85 to 55 this past week so there's no telling.

    Take care and 'hello' to Mrs. Spado.

  22. gina! - It happened again :-) If I had one reason for not riding the duck boats it would be the overenthusiastic announcers who ride up front with their loudspeakers.

    Halifax is really very nice year round - at least the people if not necessarily the weather. You'd feel like a jerk not smiling and saying hello. It took my husband a little getting used to.

    All the best and make the moments last.