Thursday, October 4, 2007

Canadian Cruise

As promised, a post about our summer adventure.

My Mom turned 80 in August (balloons, applause). I was trying to think of a special way to celebrate when I realized that I could not count the number of times she had said to me that she would like to go on a cruise someday. At 80, someday really ought to be now, so I organized my sisters and we settled on a 5 day cruise out of New York city, stopping in Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Here is the really big ship, docked at Saint John:

My Mom & I live in Virginia, but my sisters are in Philadelphia, Vermont and Kansas. I drove my Mom up to sister Sally's in Philadelphia the night before our cruise date, and while we were repacking the car for the trip to New York, sister Annie called from the Burlington airport to say that her plane had been delayed twice and finally cancelled! It was too late for her to drive to New York, and after some brain storming and hair pulling, we determined that she would have to join us at the first port of call.

So she took a bus to Montreal the next morning and flew to Saint John via Halifax. We were among the first people off the boat at Saint John, looking for Annie. It felt like the trip wasn't really right until we were all together.Here are my three sisters, in typical attitude:
We had a happy reunion on the ship and then headed into Saint John for an explore. Mom has a walker, and we were able to borrow a wheelchair at the tourist center. Saint John has an indoor walkway that goes from near the docks up to the City Market, and we made our way through this series of corridors elevators up to the old market.
There were vegetable and meat stalls, touristy gift shops, and a yarn stall! I picked up a ball of Trekking Natura and some tiny short double points for glove fingers. We had lunch and headed back down the walkways and then back to the ship.

We went up on deck to watch as the ship left the docks and there was a bagpiper in full traditional highland dress piping us out to sea. I could hear him playing for some time and I didn't see him leave his post until we were nearly out of sight. Can you see the piper in front of the pavilion?

I have been buying yarn from Fleece Artist for a year or two, and I had emailed Kathryn Thomas to ask if we could come and visit her dye studio while we were in Halifax. She generously offered to meet us and drive us out to her place in Dartmouth. It was wonderful to meet someone from Nova Scotia and get away from the touristy bits; I really enjoyed meeting Kathryn and talking with her.

And see how lovely Fleece Artist HQ is:
It's very colorful inside, as well - there is no storefront, and as all the yarns are dyed to order there is not a lot of stock on hand, but we feasted our eyes in this room!

That's Kathryn in the green shirt.

One more swoon of color?

The Fleece Artist doggie has a wide choice of comfy fleecy beds!

I had to get a picture of this unusual sign:

Kathryn drove us back into Halifax where we collected the non-knitters in our party and then she took us to lunch. There is a pier walk that goes from the dock to the Maritime Museum about a mile away, with stalls and outdoor performance spaces all along the way. There was a Buskers Festival going on and we got to see several performances and do a bit of shopping as we made our way back to the ship.

It had been very foggy when we arrived in the morning, but by midday it was just lovely. Then the fog started to creep back in - you can see it low on the water here:
We got caught in a sudden downpour about halfway back to the ship and were wetter than fish spit by the time we got to the pier, but we had a hilarious time pushing our Mom with her seated on her walker and trying to duck in and out of shelters along the way.

The fog was remarkably thick by the time we sailed; here is our last view of Halifax:

The remaining sailing time was full of fancy food (as pictured below)and a brief excursion into group karaoke - the latter alas, was not recorded for posterity.

And I would be remiss if I did not include some towel animals. Every night when we returned to our cabins, there was a different towel animal on the beds. It's sort of like origami with towels. Only different. Twisted.

We docked in New York on the final morning and went our separate ways home. Here, at last, is a photo of my Mom. She vetoed all the rest!


vanessa said...

i will never look at a plain deviled egg in the same way again.

Melanie said...

Wow, what a wonderful trip! Of course the best part is the visit to the Fleece Artist.

LisaK said...

Thanks so much for sharing. It sounds like you had a great time and made some good memories.