Besides from the small booking mistake, Halifax primarily greeted us with a splendid amount of sun and warm air from the sea. When leaving the plain both Kira and I were wondering if we - regarding the weather - had landed in the right country. While at home we had been worrying wether or not our sleeping bags would be warm enough, we had to take off our sweaters as soon as we entered Canada. Luckily we weren’t the only ones amazed by the temperatures: over and over again surprised and delighted Canadien were heard calling out: „What a beautiful day in September!“
Even disregarding the weather it became clearer in what a terribly nice country we had landed. The many helpful people, the uncountable „excuse me’s“, the car drivers who are already stopping the car when you had not even thought of crossing the street before them. We even ran into a group of well behaved rockers on motorbikes stopping their bikes in order to gesture us to cross the street right in front of them. We have never felt this save in the traffic before and hope this feeling will last when driving our bikes outside of the city.
Which leads us to the topic of the week: Bicycles.
It feels like we have spent our first week in the bike shop next door. Cyclesmith, as well as our hostel, is in the North End of Halifax, a district of the city which became extremely popular and therefore is experiencing the advantages as well as the disadvantages of gentrification. Nevertheless one gets the impression that living together (right now) is working out very well and that the backpackers hostel and the accompanying café/bar Alteregos (being already 18 years old) has become a small authority in the social structure of the district. The hope remains that Gottingen Street and the whole district are going to manage to unite the growing contrasts between Salvation Army on the one and the up and coming cafés, craft beer breweries and concept stores on the other side of the street. The people and the street are definitely not lacking the openness needed for this task. The Rainbow flag is more often being hoisted than the Canadian flag and also the various clubs and bars like e.g. the Menz Mollyz right across the street or the Torpedo Saunaclub are offering plenty of space for an open arrangement for living your life in general as well as your love life.
Which again - leads back to the topic of our week: love life and Cyclesmith! Even though on our first day in Halifax we only wanted to say „Hello“ to the staff at at Cyclesmith, we spent several hours getting our bikes adjusted and cycling our first rounds through town on our new Trek 920. The staff, best of all Mitchell, advised us extremely professionell and friendly. All in all on three days we spent approximately 12 hours in the shop and tested everything taht can be tested on a bike. Unfortunately we are still waiting for a dynamo hub which is being imported from the USA. We are hoping that it will arrive before the weekend because other wise we will have to extend our stay in Halifax ones more and by that, the time until it will be really really cold, draws nearer.
Cyclesmith has been a true home port for us on our first days and - regardlessly of the topic of bicycles - has always offered many helpful tips according life in Halifax. So whenever you will be in Halifax and may even be wanting to buy a bike or just wanting to know where the best coffee in town is being served, you should go to say „hello“ to the boys an girls - just like we wanted to do. ;)
For everyone who now (like us) thinks that Canada and Halifax consists of Cyclesmith, here some things we also have experienced:
The town centre of Halifax is on a hill. Therefore between the blogs again and again you have a beautiful view across the water. However the truly beautiful small streets with little Canadian houses and the cozy patios you will more likely find outside the town - on the way to Walmart for instance.
French fries, gravy and cheese curds. Popular fast food dish in Canada. Of cause also very good in the vegan version: French fries.
We have always enjoyed this dish at the harbor and have gotten used to the Canadien portions more and more.
Halifax Public Gardens:
Stunningly victorian garden. Outside and free of charge.
Located on the pier of Halifax, where also the big pollutants land daily to spill out their passengers on to the waterfront, there is a Farmer’s Market, which actually should (which the name is implying) sell locally grown vegetables or local products. Unfortunately when we visited there were only one stand selling fresh goods and otherwise many small, more or less nice craftsman stands. The only bright spot was the little restaurant Norberts Good Food, which sold me (feeling a little under the weather) a wonderful chicken soup with big chunks in it. It was so good I even had to order a another big serving right away.
MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op):
This shop is so exclusive that you have to become a member in oder to buy anything there. In case you will ever bei in Halifax and need to buy equipment for your „outdoorsy-holiday“ - here is the place you will get everything.
The ferry to Dartmouth:
For only 2,50 $ there and back. There is no reasonable way to get a big trip around the harbor. Like Mitchell says: The best part of Dartmouth is the view of Halifax. If you want to enjoy this thoroughly you can take the 40 minutes walk from the one ferry terminal to the other. Enthusiasts of industrial sides will be satisfied totally. Whoever is not so much interested in this should take a walk up and down the main road and eat a bite in one of the many restaurants.
Of cause Halifax offers many more attractions and museums. However our focus was more on organizing our next steps for our trip. Keep your fingers crossed that the dynamo will be making it to Canada soon so we finally can start our trip.
Update: The dynamo-hub got over the border and is now in a bright mood for our adventure. Sunday will be the first funday.