Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Travel Update - Halifax and Sydney

Dearest Family and Friends,

We just docked in Saguenay, Quebec, Canada on the St. Lawrence River.   Still no fall colors to speak of but it is beautiful country.  But today I wanted to tell you about our time in Nova Scotia, our first visit to this lovely part of Canada.

Halifax has been in existence for over 250 years and is one of Canada’s most historic communities.  The capital of NS is a major port city and naval base but with the youthful vibe of a university town full of culture and heritage.  Halifax Harbor is among the largest natural harbors in the world.  We took a tour along the coast to a quaint little seaside community of Peggy’s Cove.  The lighthouse you see below is one of the oldest and most photographed structures in Canada.  The sculpture carved into the face of a huge granite outcropping is the work of a famous but now deceased Canadian sculptor and artist, William deGarthe,    Halifax is one of the lobster capitals of Canada and 152 million pounds are harvested each year.  At an average weight of two pounds, that is over 72,000,000 tasty crustaceans, a number that seems almost unbelievable. 



We sailed into Sydney, Nova Scotia on Saturday morning and even though it is late in September and this far north, the weather was gorgeous….clear blue skies and 70 degrees.  With the world’s highest tides, where sea level can change up to 30 feet, it is no wonder that the largest urban area on Cape Breton, founded in 1785, it took until 1820 for this island colony to develop into a major industrial center.  Blessed with huge coal deposits and other natural resources, Sydney became a world leader in steel production.  We took a walking tour through the historical district and visited the Cossit and Jost Houses, both built in the 1780’s, for a look into the past and how people lived in the colonial era.  Remember the old saying, “Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite”?  Well, the mattresses were stuffed with straw, which encouraged infestation, so the last part always made sense.  But do you know where the “sleep tight” part came from?  Back in the day there were no box springs, just ropes cross strung under the mattresses.  The ropes would stretch over time and need to be re-knotted to tighten them up so the mattress would not sag and you would not sleep in a hole.  Sleep tight now makes sense.

We visited St. Patrick’s Church, the oldest Catholic church in Cape Breton and the final resting place of some of Sydney’s early colonists.  Oh, and did I mention that Sydney is home to the world's largest fiddle.  Who knew?   We had a great lobster lunch with some new friends at Governor’s Tavern by the harbor and then set sail for Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.  More on that next time.

God Bless you all,        Jud and Vicki



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