Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nova Scotia - Canada's Ocean Playground

Nova Scotia – New Scotland was a part of French Acadia lost to the English in the 1765 war. Not before too long, French speakers were evicted, their houses burnt and any sign of their presence destroyed. The peninsula, connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, was repopulated by Northern European immigrants who eventually make the area look like Denmark with brightly painted wooden plank houses perched on gently sloping granite cliffs.

Nova Scotia’s highly photogenic coastline makes it a popular destination for luxury cruise ships. Some say its handsome ruggedness is reminiscent of Scotland or Norway. It should take months to do justice to this scenic peninsula but in just two days we managed to do the most of the Lighthouse Route with Canada’s star attractions, the Peggy’s Cove and the Mahone Bay.

We also lucked out with visiting Halifax, the provincial capital, and its twin town Dartmouth on the Canada Day when fireworks drew festive crowds from the near and the far alike.

We stayed in Lunenburg, a former fishing settlement. It is very picturesque and well preserved but appears to be hit by the dwindling arrivals of American tourists scared off by the bullish Canadian dollar and high gasoline prices. Very deservedly, Luneneburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site just as the Mahone Bay a short drive away - reputedly the most photographed site in Canada. The area's diet relies heavily on the fruit of the sea but, Anglo-Saxon as they are, Nova Scotians deep-fry the last whiff of marine scent from it.


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