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Sabin’s on the Sea 2023 - Day # 4 Nova Scotia, Canada

by Nina Sabin - Travel Blog

It’s great to wake up than to look out the window and see the beautiful sea as we pull into port. Today’s port was Sydney, Nova Scotia. 

As I mentioned yesterday, I have never been to Nova Scotia but John had been as a young boy on a family vacation. 

We started our journey in Sydney by walking from the port to Enterprise where John had  reserved a rental car. 

Excursions off the ship would have been $200 per person and wouldn’t have traveled as far as we did. 

It was a 45 minute walk from the port to the car rental company. Since we knew we had a driving tour, we figured this would be the best way to get our exercise in. Plus, the staff at Enterprise couldn’t pick us up till 10:00 am. We docked at 8 am and wanted to get an early start before it got too hot. 

After getting to the rental company, they explain the only car they had available for us had a crack in the windshield and some minor dents and scratches. We didnt mind because then we didn’t have to worry about being the first one to add scratches to the car. What was unexpected is the lowered the price for our inconvenience. What started our as paying $100 for the day, became $65 with the  minor damage discount.

Once on the road we felt like we could be in any northern state with beautiful scenery. However, once we saw the speed limit in kilometers, we knew we were in Canada. 

Sydney, Nova Scotia means New Scotland, and the sound of bagpipes is not uncommon here. Early Scottish settlers felt the land resembled home. The most popular excursion is a trip to the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Park, an amazing re-creation of a 1744 French fortress. Bird-watchers will want to venture out to Bird Islands to spot the Atlantic puffin and bald eagle. The Cabot Trail along the coast offers one of the most dramatic drives in North America.

Our trip was planned to drive the scenic Cabot Trail. 

From the car rental it was about two hours to get to one of the highest spots on the Cabot Trail. There were a few lookouts along the way, however, the scenery was so amazing that we found our own places to pull off to take pictures of the majestic countryside. 

One of the highlights that many tourists enjoy on the Cabot Trail is Cape Smokey. They have Gondola cable car rides, kayaking and guided hiking trails. 

We stopped at the Cape Smokey Park to use the bathroom, enjoy the views, and walk some trails.  

An exciting event was as we began walking the trail the path appeared to get smaller and smaller because the vegetation was so overgrown. We needed a machete to continue so we turned around to avoid getting ticks of chiggers. 

Just North of Cape Smokey is the  fishing village of Ingonish which is known for its picturesque vistas. This is what inspired Alexander Graham Bell to say, "I have travelled around the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes and the Alps, and the Highlands of Scotland but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all." We were experiencing the same views as Alexander Graham Bell.

The drive back was another 2 hours. So about four hours in total to explore from Sydney to Ingonish and back.

Before returning the rental car and returning to the port we stopped to check out a Canadian Dollar Store. We picked up a few candy bars that we like to give to the room stewards and our waiters as a thank you treat a couple of times during our voyage.

The rest of the evening will be about the same as other nights. Dinner at 8 pm with our table mates, enjoy the show, a comedian tonight, maybe do a few more slots and a walk around the deck. 

Our next port tomorrow is Corner Brook, Newfoundland. 

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