We planned this trip through Porter Escapes who co-ordinated the air and hotel, both pet friendly so we decided to make this Pingu’s first escape as well. Fortunately we had got him used to travelling in the carrier (to which he is confined for many of our car trips now to avoid having to constantly vaccuum up his fur which he sheds constantly).
Alex consented to drive us to (and from) Billy Bishop Airport since our departure and arrival was conveniently on a Saturday afternoon, putting an end to any Saturday afternoon plans he might have had on those days. We arrived with plenty of time to spare and checked in to the #1 airport on the continent.
You wouldn’t have guessed it’s ranking by the long lines to check in until you got to the waiting lounge after security to feast on the free snacks (shortbread cookies and savoury mix) and drinks (water, pop and coffee/tea). There was a snack bar where you could buy food and drinks but it didn’t seem to be doing much business. Wondering when Pingu might have his next bathroom break, I decided to find a doggy-potty area and was told that I would have to check back through security on my return to the lounge. Not having much of a line initially I thought it would be a breeze when after finding the area and realizing the Pingu was not impressed with it, wound up a the back of a long winding line to re-enter security. However we had lots of time to get back and found our way back to the lounge eventually. When our flight was called, we boarded one of Porter’s traditional turbo props and found our seats easily. Pingu was tucked unceremoniously under the seats infront of us and occasionally made eye contact until we took off after which he figured he was there to stay and promptly fell off to sleep.
We were offered a complimentary snack and beverage (which included light alcohol) and were pleasantly inebriated by the time we landed in Ottawa. Lisette promptly fell off to sleep on take off while I accepted another (tall) glass of red wine to keep me company until we landed in Halifax, an hour later than our phones told us until we turned off the airplane mode. We picked up our bags (promptly with Porter’s 30min gurantee) and were surprised at the number of dogs walking around the terminal on leashes (possibly coming in to meet arriving passengers). We found our way to the empty Budget counter and were immediately greeted by a very friendly agent who tried to upgrade us to a Dodge Charger!!! We declined and were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves in a new Toyota Corolla after expecting a Yaris. We had to exit the parking garage before we could get a GPS satellite signal and were wondering how the Swedish couple who couldn’t figure out the automatic transmission were making out in the rain.
Fortunately for us the GPS took us flawlessly through the blinding downpour but not having real-time traffic updates, we ended up at the MacDonald bridge which was closed for repairs. Using maps given to us by the Budget agent, we found our way to the alternate “new” MacKay bridge and from there it was smooth sailing down to Hollis street (one way) on which the pet friendly Four Points Sheraton was located in downtown Halifax. We checked in and were surprised by the pet-friendly staff who offered to dog-sit any time we needed it during our stay. Fortunately, Pingu is now used to sitting on a chair when he has his leash tethered on him even if it is not anchored anywhere. He claimed the comfy armchair in the room as his own and that was his safe zone when we were not able to take him out with us, which was rare as most of the restaurants we visited allowed dogs on their patios.
Click on the image below for more pictures