in the morning sunshine i was able to give amy and tony a halifax tour while dave finished up some work stuff. our first stop was citadel hill, top of the city. clear skies actually permitted quite a view. the harbour, the bridges, the buildings, the church steeples, etc. and a bonus was that the actual historic site of the citadel was open. normally there is an entrance fee so dave and i have just skipped it, but this morning it was wide open. inside is the fort and military barack. you can walk up on the fortified walls that are built right into the hill and get a close-up of the cannons and the fake ship mast (which i believe was designed to trick enemy ships who might be out in the harbour).
(amy with a citadel hill cannon. she looks like the captain of a ship going into war.)
after we'd had our fill, we drove over to the dalhousie campus and walked around the old stone buildings of campus. in later decades they built more "contemporary" (read: ugly) structures, but the core of campus has some very beautiful buildings. and after campus, we rounded out our historic tour by driving along some of the streets with rows of beautifully preserved, colorfully painted old homes.
(amy and tony on the dal campus. this was a weird corridor that kind of separated the ugly buildings from the older stone building area. in the back there is a dorm. at least the brightly painted adirondack chairs were cheerful.)
and, then we were ready for lunch. even though we definitely arent in france anymore, every so often we like to try and recreate the picnic-style lunches that were so much fun and offered tasters of unusual items. the goodies picked out from the market yesterday were a large contributor to the meal. we had a block of white cheddar with cranberries in it, a small tub of lemon dill quark, some manchego cheese for tony, some boursin, an avocado, and some garden vegetable hummus to pair with slices of seasoned chicken breast and sandwich between some kalamata olive sourdough bread, honey apricot bread, or quinoa bread (mostly for tony. it tasted like a crumbly, nutty cracker). there was even a cupcake dessert of either red velvet or lemon coconut from susies. and if we'd had the meal as a true picnic, out in the gorgeous weather, the eating could have lasted for hours. but, as it was, we were pretty focused on the task of eating and enjoying and then getting out in the sunshine. which is what we did.
first stop was the lame horseshoe "park" by the huge roundabout where dave had seen a picture of some seals on the weather channel website. there were no seals today. so, we drove out to fort york redoubt. last time we tried this place it was snowy and windy as hell, this time was much more pleasant. we walked the fortified walls and got a nice view of the part of halifax harbour that opens out to the vast atlantic. it was a perfectly clear day so we could see everything. after a while, we were interested in enjoying the weather at a beach, so we headed toward crystal crescent beach to hear some waves.
(a lone lighthouse across the harbour from fort york; amy playing with cannons again.)
the road to the beach was PACKED! they hadnt opened the park gates for the season so people had parked all over the place and walked the kilometer or so in. i had to go to the bathroom and walking that far roundtrip to probably find the beach potties still nailed shut for the season didnt sound appealing to me, so we headed back toward civilization.
back in town, we separated briefly. i needed to rest a bit from all the walking and sunshine. and amy and tony hadnt really done the waterfront walking of halifax yet. so they were off on their own while dave started dinner. by the time they arrived, ready to eat, the smell of chili was thick in the air. bowls of spicy chicken chili and gluten-free cornbread were enjoyed to the point of near paralysis. however, amid chatting, we were able to manage a game of yahtzee and euchre before our friends needed to leave.
as they had a loooooong drive home ahead of them, i dont blame them for turning in early. the plan was to get up and rolling around 5a to hope to get back in time to hit the sack before their school vacation ended and they had to get up for work the next day! we were very lucky and thankful to have friends willing to spend some of their vacation time with us. it was great that we had good weather for them, and more importantly, that they are versatile people who can enjoy lots of activity or simple sitting in a nice spot, sipping beverages, and enjoying conversation. this is key when you find yourself sidelined as a limitedly mobile, easily tired, often needing to pee person. i thank them a million times over for their patience. :) cant wait to make the trip for their wedding in july!!!!!!
two final items:
1. they stayed at the waverley inn while here visiting. it is literally one block down the street from us in a cheerful yellow house. it is a city b&b and comes highly recommended by amy and tony. i guess the rooms were decent (with fridges if i remember correctly), breakfast was hot and varied, coffee was always on, and friendly service was akin to what you would expect at a more rural b&b but it had all the convenience of a city accommodation: free wifi, free parking, desk attendants at all hours, etc. good to know for future visitors... :)
2. i keep forgetting to mention that some of the pictures in my posts for these past three days were actually tony photos. he has a fancy camera and i stole his shots before he left. thank you! :)