had an unexpectedly lovely saturday.
daves work colleagues, isabelle and djordje (pronounced like georgie), invited us over to their house in portuguese cove. we had been there once before for a dinner and it wasnt like we didnt think we would have a good time, but we didnt know how long X would stay calm in someone elses house. so it was yet another experiment.
we arrived at around noon and there wasnt a cloud in the sky. their house full of windows seemed so light and airy. we snacked and chatted and eventually took a tour of their backyard since we hadnt seen it in the winter when it was both cold and dark out. they had lots of flowers, which we reviewed both their french and english names (isabelle is french), and now i know that "weeds" in english is "les mauvaises herbes" in french. we ended our tour of the backyard on their rocky cliffs to the atlantic ocean. not too shabby. they get to hear waves crashing at night, and can sit in their sun room in the morning and watch the sail boats, cruise ships, and huge shipping barges coming and going from the halifax harbour. nice.
after the tour we made our way inside for a cold lunch of great variety. there was white fish, zucchini, hard boiled eggs, potatoes, asparagus, bread, and handmade garlic aioli. so simple and fresh and so european (french provence to be exact). it was a mini heaven for me. we also mentioned the mussel preparation we saw in mahone bay (l'eclade) and isabelle said she had heard of it, that it comes from the region in france right around la rochelle and that her mother had actually made mussels that way once during her childhood. always learning something new. and, to add to my gastronomic delights, i learned about a new kitchen accessory that i want to have one day (alongside a tortilla press and a raclette machine); its a swiss seed/grain mill that allows you to make your own muesli (or grind any other whole grains or seeds for whatever purpose). yum.
then, after finishing with some chocolate mousse and the necessary european post-meal tea and whatnot, we were ready to leave. more than 4 hours had flown by and X had done a great job. she required 6 feedings and nearly as many diaper changes and even a clothing change, but she didnt fuss and even took a nap. shock and awe.
(X with isabelle)
since she seemed to be doing well, we decided to push it and see if we could get a short hike in at duncans cove. while we had had a horrid time here during the winter, we were up for trying it again in the evening light with the warmth of the day at a good balance to make us happy but not sweaty. plus, it was only 5 minutes down the road from where we were.
at duncans cove we parked and loaded X in the sling. the wind was whipping at us at certain points and X seemed a bit fussy. our hike prospects were not looking good. but, we took her out and i fed her while sitting on a rock in the middle of the trail and she seemed good to go after that. we were then able to get down to the coastline and see what we had missed in the winter.
first, the coastal bog was in bloom and it smelled great. honestly. then there was the impressive and massive rocky coast that we were walking toward. then the thick salty ocean air hit us. yum. so thick it coated your lips. even though we live on the harbour and you can occasionally smell the "ocean smell," often it just smells like dead fish...or nothing. i LOVE when you can actually feel the ocean in the air. this walk was shaping up to be as good or better than the first bog hike we took when we arrived...
and then, as we neared a rocky island just off the main coastline...black heads popped out of the waves...seals!! real live wild seals (bummer i couldnt get any good pics). they were swimming around the island, flopping up on the rocks, and sunbathing. if you looked around you could see a seal pop its head out every few minutes. i couldnt exactly tell what kind they were but they looked similar to the ones we saw in sweden. SO cool. ive never seen such large mammals in the wild. and people we know have seen whales around this trail too. we NEED to come back. we will come back.
(the huge queen mary II cruise ship as seen from duncans cove departing halifax harbour)
so it was quite a day. definitely positive all around.