Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 12: Thursday, August 13, 2009

Our first stop of the day was at the Discovery Centre, where we were able to score free admission for being Ontario Science Centre members. It’s also a hands-on type of place, so Will navigated the hordes of day camp kids to try the various activities, appearing to have quite a bit of fun. We stopped by 11:45 to go the Grand Parade, a square in the middle of Halifax that’s used for various purposes; on this day it was for a noon-hour concert featuring a band called Grassmarket. One of the band members is an old high-school friend of Mike’s, so we really wanted to see them, and doing it in their own home town was a big bonus. The three of them put on a great show, with an impressive variety of instruments that they nonchalantly picked up and put down according to the song they were playing; guitar of course, but also double bass, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and fiddle. I liked the flavour of bluegrass that came through, although I guess you would categorize it as folk music overall.

After a quick sandwich lunch we let Will go back to the Discovery Centre to finish it up. Mike went with him, and I went back to the Loop for another hour or two of quiet knitting and socializing with the friendly owner and other patrons. I’m trying to finish the second sleeve of a baby sweater I’ve been working on for a couple of months, so I can start diving into the sock wool I’ve bought! I didn’t quite make it, but I only had five rows left to go when I left to meet the guys.

We were lucky enough to be invited over to the home of two-thirds of Grassmarket; Mike’s high-school friend Penelope and her partner Dan. We also got to meet their two-year-old son Clem, a classically adorable blue-eyed cherub with blonde curls. They also put in 16 square feet of garden this year, but their experiment has been much more successful - their tomato plants are over six feet high, and their peas were pretty close to that height too. We had a nice visit with them catching up on fifteen years or so of life since high school.

As we were pulling away we realized we were close to the “Hydrostone” district, an area of Halifax that was rebuilt after the 1917 Explosion with houses made of concrete blocks. We got to see some of those houses, and ended up at the Hydrostone Market, checking out the craft and antique stores. There are not just one, but two “Where to Eat in Canada” restaurants in that little strip of storefronts. We chose Salvatore’s for pizza, where they churn out thin-crust pizzas that appeared to be uniformly wonderful. My El Pomodoro special certainly was; the crust had sesame seeds, which I’ve never seen on a pizza, but worked well with the toppings of sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, Greek Kalamata olives, and fresh garlic. (Mm... I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it). The guys split a more classic pepperoni-and-green-pepper pizza, and the bites I stole of it also seemed excellent.

Since we’d had an early dinner, we had plenty of time to drive. Rather than take the coastal roads, we headed north to Truro, then swung east to point ourselves towards Cape Breton Island. We ended up in Antigonish for the night, where once again Mike’s freeware GPS program led us on a wild goose chase looking for the Wal-Mart. Fortunately it led us through a very pretty town with what I assume is a gorgeous university campus (Francis Xavier, maybe?). The Wal-Mart was, of course, just off the highway, so eventually we got to see the town again, and later had more tractor-trailers trundling by during the night.

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