Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Voyage of the Vikings Cruise - Cruise Day 4: Sydney, Nova Scotia

Today we had to get up at 7:00 and if that wasn’t bad enough, we had a time change last night and we lost an hour of sleep.  The ship was docked at 8:00 AM in Sydney, Nova Scotia and we wanted to be off the ship as soon as possible as we had rented a car for the day and wanted to make the most of it.  Our goal was to drive to Cape Breton Island and see as much as possible before we had to return the ship.

We sail into Sydney, Nova Scotia.
The town of Sydney.
After getting dressed and a quick breakfast in the Neptune Lounge, we were off the ship just after 8:00 and found the Avis shuttle waiting for us.  Getting the car went quickly and we were on our way out of Sydney by 8:45.  The weather was overcast with drizzle this morning, but at least it wasn’t cold.

Last year we went to a concert by Natalie MacMaster who lives on Cape Breton Island and during the concert she described and showed pictures and movies of the Island.  After seeing the photos of Cape Breton we really wanted to see the area and here we are today.  We won’t have nearly enough time to see very much, but hopefully this will prepare us for a return trip.  It took us about forty-five minutes to get from Sydney to the Englishtown Ferry that took us across the mouth of St. Ann's Bay to Cape Breton Island.  The ferry was kind of interesting as the channel was very narrow and the ferry went back and forth via a cable.  The whole journey took less than five minutes.

The Englishtown Ferry

Foggy weather greeted us as we drove up the Cape Breton Coast.
After crossing the channel, we headed up the coast, but the fog and overcast had deepened and we didn’t really see much.  As we went further up the coast and out of the highlands, the weather started to clear and it turned into a very nice day.  The area was not very commercialized and it seemed like there were mainly just small fishing villages.   

The northern part of Cape Breton is in Cape Breton Highlands National Park and it is a beautiful area.  We went as far north as we had time for, but turned back after visiting the fishing village of White Point.

As we drove back we stopped along the way to take some pictures, but as we neared the ferry, we put away our cameras and headed straight back to Sydney.  We didn’t want to take any chances on missing the ship as they will leave without you if you are not there.

We made it back in plenty of time so after getting gas, we looked for a store where we could buy a case of bottled water as it expensive to buy on the ship.  After stocking up on water we took the car back to the rental agency to drop it off.  The office was closed as expected so we dropped the key in the lock box, called a taxi and were soon back on the ship.

The Sydney and Cape Breton area is known for its music, which is symbolized by the giant fiddle in front of the cruise terminal.
This turned out to be a great day and my only regret is that we didn’t have more time.  One of the items on our travel wish list is to drive up through New England and the Canadian Maritime Provinces and this trip is just whetting our appetite for that.  To squeeze as much time as possible out of the day we skipped lunch so the first thing we did after returning to the ship was to head to the Neptune Lounge for some snacks.  Thank goodness there is some sort of food available there all day as a makes a quick bite very easy and without the crowds of the Lido.

After getting settled back in, Val decided to take a nap so I rested for a while then worked on the blog.  I finally was able to publish what I had written for our train trip west, but didn’t use any pictures as I didn’t want to take time to edit them.  This trip has really been short on spare time so I’m beginning to question how much I’ll actually be able to publish before we return home.  After working on the blog I downloaded today’s pictures and backed those up and then read for a while.

It was soon time for dinner so we headed off to the dining room.  We made our usual trip to the casino after dinner, but after gambling for a while we decided to go to the show tonight.  The entertainers were Cassie and Maggie McDonald who performed Celtic music.  They came from Nova Scotia and were only on the ship for one night and we really enjoyed the show.  After the show we called it a night and returned to our room.  Tomorrow we have a ship’s excursion, but it doesn’t leave until noon, so we are looking forward to sleeping in and catching up on our sleep.

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