Days 69 and 70, 2023 North Atlantic Adventure
Wednesday and Thursday, July 19-20, 2023; Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Let the packing begin. Yes, I broke down and started packing on Wednesday and found a surprise! In one of my suitcases was the duffel bag “pillow gift” from the world cruise. I thought I had sent it home in mid-May. Now I won’t need to buy a suitcase to get everything home.
On Friday morning I will mostly complete the packing, before leaving around noon from Portland, Maine, for Freeport and LL Bean´s flagship store. I like the fit of their clothes and want to try different styles and sizes, having lost about 12 pounds since coming on board, If I get too much, they will ship it.
Today our better-than-expected weather continued as the forecast rain held off. Unfortunately, the Zuiderdam drew the short straw and moored at a commercial pier that required a shuttle bus to the cruise pier area (the Zaandam and Liberty of the Seas docked there).
I love the Halifax waterfront, so set off on a four-mile walk along it. The North American Indigenous Games are coming to an end in Halifax, and there were activities and cultural celebrations along the way.
Families were everywhere. The area is designed for children, and they take full advantage. All you need to do is give them something to follow on the sidewalk.
There’s nothing like a “no climbing” sign to encourage all ages to try it out. Others find creative ways to corral the kiddos.
I passed by the maritime museum – well worth the stop, but I was there four years ago. Plenty of benches line the boardwalk, so of course I sat to sketch and watch everything from sailboats to larger ships pass by. I looked for Theodore the Tug, a favorite tourist boat, but learned it is gone. And of course, I had a lobster roll — very expensive but delicious.
There are some ports I like more than others, and I can find something I like about almost every port. Sydney yesterday was one of those ports that required some effort to really enjoy. It has a great pier pavilion with shops and a restaurant. A craft market fills one end of the building, and smaller booths selling crafts and souvenirs line the walkway.
The real star of the pier is the giant fiddle. Sydney is on Cape Breton Island, which is known for traditional fiddle music, brought from Scotland during the highland clearances.
I had what must have been my shortest shore excursions ever. We walked up the stairs in the pier pavilion to a private room, which now houses the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club. There a guitarist sang familiar folk songs while we enjoyed mussels and a flight of local beers and ciders for 90 minutes.
On my previous visit to Sydney, I took a tour to Baddeck, a resort village on the beautiful Bras d’Or Lakes. Among the attractions there is the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, and as a retiree from AT&T, I couldn’t skip it.
This time I decided to explore Sydney after my brief excursion on the pier, but unlike Charlottetown the day before, it didn’t offer much to see. The main commercial street is in the midst of major construction. So I ducked into the Governor’s Pub looking for a lobster roll (10 mussels aren’t that filling). The server steered me away from it, describing it as not the best, so I enjoyed calamari and a Thai peanut soup that was outstanding. I’ll be back here in late September and will plan to explore out of town.