Wednesday September 24


Sydney - Cape Breton Island

Sydney - Cape Breton Island

Blue skies, a very chilly wind, and one hundred thousand Gaelic welcomes awaited us this morning in the port-town of Sydney on the beautiful island of Cape Breton. And we weren’t long on our coach tour before we were wishing (yet again) that we had more time. This delightful corner of Nova Scotia (Latin for ‘New Scotland’) is riddled with French, English and Scottish history – and boasts of highland villages, the scenic Cabot Trail and golden inland seas.

Fort Louisbourg

Fort Louisbourg

Our choice for today’s shore excursion was the Fortress of Louisbourg – where every barn, barracks and pipe-&-drum corps appears just as it did when King Louis’ troops occupied the site in 1744. Our mad Kiwi midlifers explored its nooks and crannies, engaged in animated conversation with the costumed locals (who played their parts with enthusiasm), watch a musket-firing demo (a big bang and a even bigger cloud of smoke), and munched on hot bread (fresh from an 18th-century oven). It was great fun!

Reading the Riot Act

Reading the Riot Act

Then, for something a little different, we met at the World’s Largest Fiddle (Sydney’s 10-tonne steel landmark) and followed the piper to an intimate musical performance of lively Scottish fiddle-playing, singing and step-dancing. To note the occasion, we were officially inducted into the World’s Largest Fiddle Association and required to pledge “always and within the bounds of reason that each year on the anniversary of today’s date we will turn towards Cape Breton Island and listen for the sound of fiddle music being played and kick up our heels in a joyful ceiliedh-style dance.”

We also got to sample the famous Cape Breton Oat Cakes. Yum!



Tonight, as the Maasdam rides the ocean waves, we’ll be heading for our usual four-course banquet – followed by another evening of top-class entertainment in the Rembrandt Lounge. Last night it was the colourful ‘Showtime’ – with broadway favourites from the 50s and 60s. Tonight, a comedian takes to the big stage.

Oh, and at 10:15pm, if you’re free, there’s a Dutch Chocolate Extravaganza on the Lido Deck. See you there …

TOMORROW: We’ll enjoy a lobster-bake in Halifax, Nova Scotia – and visit Peggy’s Cove, one of Canada’s most photographed sites. So don’t change channels …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) under the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and don’t worry: we’ll make sure they get these messages. Also, if you want a better look at our route map and some of the photos here, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – magic!

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About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!


  1. Hi Jean &Greg
    Hows the trip going. Ive been keeping up with the blog…almost as good as being there. Sounds like a great trip…dont enjoy yourselves too much.
    Love John

  2. Hi Annie & Mon,
    Great to keep up with the blog. Your postcard arrived today and Lucy was thrilled! Cast off today too. Had Lucy’s school production last night and Pat came too…Lucy did really well as one of the narrators..Last day of term tomorrow then we’ll go to the beach next week.
    will catch up with your news next Friday….until then keep on having a fantastic time!
    LOL Pete, Kate & Lucy xxxooo

  3. Hi guys … hope you managed to control yourselves with the Chocolate. What treats you are having .. whole trip sounds like magic. Hope you are both well and enjoying out of this world s## 🙂 LOl us xx

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