Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Today was cool but sunny for a scenic tour of part of PEI. We travelled through countryside which for the most part consists of farms, mostly potato farms. Potatoes, lobster and other fish and tourism are the mainstays of the economy. Tourism has been bolstered by the opening 20 years ago of a 9 mile long bridge connecting PEI to New Brunswick on mainland Canada. The pictures were mostly taken through the bus window so there are some reflections which I cannot fix with the software on my tablet.

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Sydney, Nova Scotia and the Fortress of Louisbourg

The Fortress of Louisbourg was the largest fortified town outside of Europe when built in the early 18th c. Louisbourg was once a thriving seaport, the third busiest harbour in North America and one of France’s key centres of trade and military strength in the new world. We started the tour with a drive through the historic North end of Sydney. On arrival at the fortress we were entertained by costumed actors who reenacted the lives of specific people who lived there prior to the sieges by the British. We first went to the engineer’s house where two housemaids treated us to hot chocolate made with a historical recipe using 5 spices. A soldier then told us about military life and showed us how to load and shoot a musket. We then had free time to visit the Governor’s apartments and military chapel. We also visited the centre describing how the fortress was reconstructed starting in the 1960’s using documents from the French archives. We also saw a military house. Boys were not educated but the nuns taught girls to read and write and do household chores and we visited the school. We also had a chance to purchase baked goods made from historical recipes. In the summer months the entire fortress is open to visitors.

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Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada

Winds delayed our arrival in Halifax but we had our stay extended to compensate. I have been here many times and today decided to visit the Halifax Public Gardens to see a tropical agave tree that had grown out of its greenhouse and had made the news in my local newspaper. It is about 40 years old and at some point will flower and then die. To me it looked Iike maybe it had already done so. However there were many other plants in bloom. I also went to see the new public library which has won architectural awards and is said to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. It is quite impressive. I then visited the Nova Scotia Art Gallery. Those who have seen the movie Maudie will know the story of the folk painter Maud Lewis. The gallery has a large exhibit of her paintings including her painted house. It is almost doll sized. Lastly I visited the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic which has an informative exhibit about the Titanic.

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Bar Harbor Maine, USA

Sunday we stopped in Bar Harbor where we tendered to shore. This is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the U.S. I was last here in August 2012 at which time I toured Acadia National Park. This time I wandered around the pretty town and took the Shore Walk along the bay. There are many large homes such as Breakwater built for a grandson of John Jacob Astor in 1903. At one place people were building small stone sculptures along the edge of the bay. Lilacs and other plants were in bloom. This is the lobster capital of the U.S. and there were many fishing boats out in the harbour. Our next stop is Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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Fort Hamilton, Bermuda

Today, Thursday is our last morning in Bermuda. It is raining so I will forgo my planned visit to the Botanical Gardens and visit Fort Hamilton. I got quite wet in the process. The moat surrounding the fort is now a tropical jungle. The main square is a garden. However the storerooms below ground can be visited. There are a few guns on the ramparts and the view from there is quite nice even in the
rain. Our ship, the MS Veendam is visible in the harbour. We sail for Boston at noon. Sunday, we will be in Bar Harbor Maine.

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St. George, Bermuda

Wednesday I took the bus to the Crystal Caves and then on to St. George. The caves are quite pretty though the advertising shows them as blue/green which they are not. In St. George I walked up the steep hill to the unfinished church, which was started in 1874 and never completed as the funds were always needed for repairs to other churches. I continued on to Fort St. Catherine which is well preserved and has interesting exhibits about the early existence of the fort. St. George is a pretty historical town with many of the older buildings near the harbour and the town square now used for shops and restaurants. The Town Hall is one of the oldest buildings and is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

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Hamilton, Bermuda, Royal Naval Dockyard, Aquarium and Zoo

Late Monday morning we commenced our sail in to the port of Hamilton Bermuda. It took about two hours to navigate the reefs and shallow waters and narrow entrance to the harbour. Mega ships dock at the Royal Naval Dockyard. Monday afternoon I toured Hamilton visiting the Anglican Cathedral and the art gallery and noting other buildings such as the parliament and court house. Tuesday I took the bus to the Dockyard, passing by many small towns on this rather densely populated island. I saw very little agriculture. Most of the food is imported and expensive. Bananas, for example cost four times more than they do in Canada. The Dockyard has been transformed into a shopping and arts centre though part of the fortress is now an interesting museum highlighting the history of Bermuda. In the afternoon I visited the Aquarium and Zoo. The photos are of the sail in, the Dockyard, Scarlet Ibis, flamingos and a Golden Lion Tamarins from Brazil that I saw at the Zoo.

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