When we arrived in Halifax, the weather left a great deal to be desired. So we decided to kick the day off by walking to and subsequently paying a visit to the Public Library. This hyper modern library is located in the heart of the city and contained an eatery which offers a fantastic piece of cake. And since it was the weekend, we also got the opportunity to play some pinball. Yes, pinball, in a library. On the third floor, where you can find all kinds of media for kids and teenagers, there is a room with pinball machines from all decades which you can play for free on the weekends.
We were making our way to the citadel when we were surprised by a rain shower. As entrance into the citadel was free, as a way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birth year, we used the opportunity to visit the citadel and the museum inside it. By midday, the raining had stopped and we could step outside to see – and hear – a historic canon being loaded and fired at 12 exactly. If you ever visit Halifax, we can recommend making sure you’re there for this midday ritual.
In the afternoon we took it upon ourselves to shed some of the Calories we consumed on the cruise. In two hour kayak tour, we explored the harbor and the nearby Georges island. Tons of fun was had! The weather got a lot better as the tour progressed and by the time we got back to shore, the sun was beaming down on Halifax where the ongoing busker festival had really kicked off. Myriads of food stands, musicians and acrobats lined the streets. Luckily we had time until 11:30 to board the ship.
On our first day in Iceland we went for a classic tourist attraction: the Golden Circle. The tour consists of several stops at iconic Icelandic sights of which the Thingvellir National Park, the Geyser Hot Spring area and Gullfoss waterfall are the most famous and impressive. Unfortunately there were tons of people at all these stops which spoiled the experience a bit. We later heard it’s better to go later in the day so that’s what we would do if we came to Iceland again. Here are a few impressions of these beautiful natural wonders:
Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir National Park was my favourite stop of the entire tour. Not only is it a really pretty place it’s also loaded with Icelandic history. The Vikings came to Iceland in 871 (or did they?) and as population grew there was a need for a general assembly to settle some affairs – for example passing laws. The Thingvellir area was easily accessible from the most populated regions of that time and offered some great acoustics so that’s where the Vikings decided to hold their parliament.
Fun fact: This is also where they some scenes for Game of Thrones, for example the battle between Brienne and the Hound.
At midday we stopped at a geothermal area that featured several geysers, among them the one in the picture, the Strokkur geysr, which erupts every ten minutes into a fountain of 15 to 20 meters. In between it sometimes does so called “fake eruptions” that are less high, so stay around for a bit as to not miss the real thing!
The eruptions are caused by water seeping down onto rock heated by magma. The water gets turned into steam but it can’t immediately rise, as steam usually does, because there is more water from above that keeps it down – until there is just too much energy and the steam breaks out. Or something like that, check out How stuff works for a way better explanation.
And finally what looks like it could be in New Zealand: the Gullfoss waterfall. Around 140 cubic meters of water fall down every second – in two steps of 11 and 21 meters – into seemingly nowhere. On the picture you can’t see it very well but there was constantly a rainbow in front of it that made it look quite magical. I’m not sure if the Niagara Falls will be able to top that.