Vacation in Canada Day 10

This was our last day in Canada. We ate at the Delta Hotels Halifax, a Marriott. We had enough time to hike through the nearby Citadel Fort before driving to the airport. I can’t believe how much of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island we have seen in ten days. Handsome said he had a great time. The stress of work had intruded a few times. He took a few calls and texts from work.

THE CITADEL FORT

At the Citadel Fort, I spotted more red chairs. Hehehe.

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Demonstration at the Citadel Fort in Halifax.

#Canada150 #sharethechair

#sharethechair in Halifax.

#sharethechair #Canada150 Canada

More chairs!

GOODBYE RENTAL CAR

Handsome filled up the tank on the rental car on the way to the airport. I mentioned that $1.07 seemed cheap for gas.

“That’s per liter,” he said.

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$1.07 per liter!

Oh. Yikes.

Before we left for Canada, we had added the international calling plan to Handsome’s phone for an extra $5 per day over his regular charge. It was worth it. We used Google Maps GPS to plot our routes. The phone charger adapter worked in the rental car, which did not have a GPS. The roundabouts apparently confused the GPS.

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The GPS apparently loves the roundabout.

I was somewhat eager to return to work on the third book in my Compass Crimes Series. Though my idea of a vacation was reading on the beach or relaxing on a cruise, this whirlwind tour of Nova Scotia impressed me. The Canadians have shown tremendous patience and hospitality. Many volunteered to take our photo at scenic places. Handsome saw all the places he had chosen to see, so he was happy.

At the airport, the news blared the usual strife and mayhem. I tuned it out in favor of a good book.

Grateful for a direct flight home, I was content.

Vacation in Canada Day 9

Our last full day in Nova Scotia Canada began at breakfast. The good people of the Queen Anne Inn B&B served freshly baked cinnamon rolls, a berry smoothie, and then offered either a crepe with berries or a ham and Swiss cheese crepe. I ordered the ham and cheese crepe. Handsome ordered the berry crepe. The owners, Laszlo and Kate Tanczos, pampered us. The local Town Crier arrived in period costume to announce the weekend events in Annapolis Royal.

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The Town Crier announced weekend events.

Handsome drove to Lunenburg, then through Lunenburg to Stonehurst. Enticed by photos of this quaint village, and reports that it was the setting for the Jesse Stone movies, we ventured the road to Stonehurst and where the road divided, we took the Southside Road. We chose well.

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Stonehurst, the Jesse Stone movie location.

Misty rain contributed a mood to the photos of Stonehurst and Lunenburg.

LUNENBURG

By the grace of God, we arrived at Lunenburg when the tall ships from many other places were in port. The ships were touring the island and we had missed them at each location up until today. Lunenburg has a few tall ships available for two-hour tours. Alas, we had not reserved a ride in advance. Parking was a chore. There were no parking lots near the wharf, so we parallel-parked six blocks uphill near a church and hiked to the wharf past blocks of shops and pubs.

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Lunenburg wharf.

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Lunenburg Nova Scotia

We ate at the Savvy Sailor Cafe on the balcony overlooking the harbor. After walking along the dock to see the tall ships, we headed east to Peggy’s Cove.

PEGGY’S COVE

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Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia.

#Canada150 #ExploreNB

Peggy’s Cove Nova Scotia, Canada.

canada vacation hike to lighthouse

Lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove

Poor Handsome endured many stops for photos along roads with minimal area to pull over. We hiked to the lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove where birds wheeled and dove for fish.

I LOVE MARRIOTT

By dusk, we arrived in Halifax at one of two Marriotts along the docks—Delta Hotels Halifax. I trudged wearily to the front desk to check in with our luggage. Because I had read that this was peak tourist season, I had reserved a King room with a harbor view, prepaid in full. The lady behind the counter said that our room had been upgraded to the Neptune Room, also known as the Presidential Suite.

Wait. What? 

Handsome arrived from parking the car and wondered why I was smiling. I handed him a small cup of jelly beans from the refreshment counter near the check-in desk.

“We have a room upgrade.”

“How much will that be?”

“Free.”

Handsome’s eyebrows rose.

Marriott Hotels have treated us like royalty at the beginning and the end of our vacation.

We reached the Neptune room and wandered through it with open-mouth wonder. The Presidential Suite was larger and better equipped than our first apartment. And our second. It had two bedrooms, a wet bar, three televisions, two bathrooms, and a living area with a six-seat dining table. Then Handsome found a placard.

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Found this in our upgraded room.

Well, well. Thank you, Marriott!

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The Baton Rouge Restaurant in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

We ate dinner nearby at the Baton Rouge Restaurant. Ample portions of steak, seafood, salad, and more. We were too full for dessert.

Our only goal for the next day was to take our direct flight back to Orlando on Westjet. If time allowed, we could tour the Halifax Fort.

Vacation in Canada Day 1

We needed a vacation. So, Handsome and I jetted up to Canada for ten days. Let me explain what vacation means to him. Handsome doesn’t idle well. He wakes up at five and works ten-hour days when he’s not on call at the hospital. He likes to keep the same pace on vacation. Seriously. Time is money. As a physician and small-business owner, he doesn’t earn a salary. He earns income through surgeries and clinic visits, so he wants to maximize vacation time to justify the income loss. Thus, each day is scheduled to minimize down time to eight hours of sleep.

I embraced Handsome’s vacation goals with energy, research, and vigorous planning. And maps, lots of maps. In 2017 Canada celebrates its 150th year as a nation. The celebrating lasts all year. We enjoyed ten days in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

My tightly-scheduled vacation agenda unraveled after the connecting flight to Halifax canceled, stranding us overnight in Montreal, Canada. Granted, there are worse places to be stranded.

Handsome was once left for hours outside at the airport in Sierra Leone, Africa the day after the peace treaty was signed. Remember the movie Blood Diamonds? Yeah, that place. He was there on a medical mission with Mercy Ships to repair fractures and the signature traumatic amputations of their war.

So whining about being stranded overnight in Montreal felt silly. Storms caused a power failure on the eastern seaboard that disabled air traffic control and telecommunications with Nova Scotia.

#Canada150We claimed our bags and called the 888 number to grab seats on the 6 p.m. flight the next day. Handsome wanted to get standby on any earlier flights to Halifax, so we trudged back upstairs to join a grumbling mob in line to rebook. In total, three flights to Halifax canceled that day. I was okay with the cancellations because I wanted air traffic control to have electricity when my flight arrived.

The Air Canada staff huddled near baggage check-in. They broke into groups. One group set up a series of posts and ribbons to corral the mob. Another group rolled out a cart of drinks and snacks to appease the mob while three lone workers manned the ticketing booths. Handsome ate a KitKat. Rumors rolled up the line that Air Canada would switch out a smaller commuter plane with a larger jet to accommodate the three flights of stranded travelers. A family with two children in line ahead of us said they were on their way to a wedding. We commiserated over bottled water.

Marriott’s Mr. Ming

In time, we tired of the line and checked in at the airport Marriott. There at the front desk stood a man identified on his name tag as Ming. He greeted us in French, then English. We told him our tale of woe. He then called the Halifax Marriott and somehow got the prepaid, nonrefundable reservation refunded without penalty and checked us into a room with a king bed on the 7th floor. If not for the counter, I would have hugged Mr. Ming.

The large room had an ultra-bare minimalist style. Dark wood, sleek lines, simple lights. The carpet, walls, and artwork created a Zen-monk vibe with shades of gray and black in muted patterns. The shower had one frosted glass wall separating it from the bedroom. The bathroom, oh, the bathroom. It featured a seven-foot long, two-foot deep counter interrupted only by the lovely sink. The counter space had to have been designed by a woman tired of trying to balance her toiletries and makeup on the back of a toilet. Handsome and I would not be elbowing each other to get ready in the morning.

Marriott counterspace

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Canada

Because we will arrive a day late in Halifax, Handsome called the rental car company to let them know. After a moment, he laughed. It wasn’t the kind of laugh over a good joke. It was his you-have-to-be-kidding-me laugh. Then he said, “so you’re going to charge me more for using the car one less day?”

After a pause, he held his phone to his thigh. “Because we’re starting our rental on a Saturday, the rate is higher.”

“Tell them we are keeping the reservation as is. We’ll just pick up the keys tomorrow.”

Handsome smiled and raised the phone to his face. “Forget I made this call. Keep our reservation as it is. We’ll be there tomorrow to pick up the car. No. No. Don’t change it. Leave it as is or let me speak to your supervisor…uh, huh. Great. See you tomorrow.”

Montreal Airport YULOur view from the wall-size window overlooked the 60s-style airport, tower, parking garage, and in the distance a church on a hill. It was a sign.

We ate, reviewed my carefully-planned agenda, and adjusted accordingly. The shower blasted away stress. The bed embraced us in comfort. We fell asleep knowing that we had seats on the next day’s evening flight. We prayed for power to be restored and for the weather to calm down.