Last Tango in Halifax
We caught up on some well-deserved rest and ended up leaving the hotel a little after noon. Our first stop of the day was an optical illusion called Magnetic Hill. Magnetic Hill has been known since Moncton was founded and the road was put in - there were reports of wagons and goods rolling uphill since the early 1800s. It was more publicized in 1933, and today, there's a whole Magnetic Hill complex around the illusion itself.
Magnetic Hill is bizarre. To look at it, you'd say that the road dips down before coming back up on the other side. But once we reached the bottom, we put the car in neutral (as the sign directed us to) and we began rolling backwards - what appeared to be uphill.
After reaching the end of the hill, we drove forward again and I hopped out to capture the illusion on video. However, I have to say that the illusion pretty much vanished as soon as I stood up, for even though it looked uphill, I could definitely tell it was downhill.
Disinterested in the rest of the Magnetic Hill complex, we got some gas and began the trek to Halifax.
The drive was surprisingly hilly, very woodsy, and utterly desolate. A brief change of scenery occurred right before we entered Nova Scotia, when we dipped down into a lower, more marshy area.
After getting information at the Nova Scotia welcome center and surviving the vicious wind in the area, we stopped in Amherst to get a cash advance at a bank. It took half an hour to get through the clogged line, so my dad did that while I walked around and took pictures with Yoder the Duck next to creepy statues.
We stopped for a quick late lunch at a Subway and then rolled out. We passed Oxford - Canada's Blueberry Capitol - and saw forested mountains in the distance. We paid a four-dollar toll and kept trucking to Halifax, and checked into our hotel a few minutes after 5:00.
Still hungry, and knowing of a great place just a few minutes from the hotel, we set out for it ... only to get turned around by the insane road system of Halifax, going over one of its two bridges over to the heart of the city, ending up near Citadel Hill, home of quite a bit of Halifax history - mainly, a fort that was used for defense against the French and updated for different wars, being manned and used for various purposes until World War II.
We paid a small fee to park and walked around the hill, though it was not open. Still hungry, we got back in the car, drove past an iconic clock tower on the edge of Citadel Hill, and took our second shot at finding the restaurant.
We found it - but only after going over the other bridge, winding our way through intersections with almost no lane markings, an extra helping of potholes, and no signs telling you what road you're on or what road you're intersecting with.
Despite all this - and did I mention the road work? - we found the place - Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers and Poutinerie - about five minutes from the hotel, but a trip that took us very nearly an hour.
It was worth it. I got a burger with a large hunk of fried mozzerella and some spicy chipotle mayonnaise. The bun was flimsy but the mix of flavors was delightful. My parents split a chicken burger and a lamb burger - but my mom couldn't finish her half of the lamb burger, so I tasted it. It featured a lemon hummus - a little strong, since I didn't know it was coming, but it had a unique flavor.
As a side, we split a poutine. This was not the fake, flimsy poutine we got in Moose Jaw last year - this was the real thing. A bed of freshly cut fries on the bottom, topped with a ton of cheese curds and a thick, rich gravy. Best of all, I finally got my dad to try a poutine. He exhibited some apprehension towards trying a poutine - which is strange, considering his general adventurousness, but I convinced him to try a bite, which he rather liked.
Tomorrow: Cape Breton on the northeastern end of Nova Scotia. We'll be traversing one of the prettiest drives not just in Canada, but the entire world - the Cabot Trail - over the next couple of days.