Arriving in Sydney

Is there another Sydney besides the one in Australia?  Yes, it is in Nova Scotia and it was our next port of call after 2 sea days sailing from Greenland.

We were quite surprised to learn of Sydney, Nova Scotia as the only one ever spoken of is in Australia which we would visit later on our 3 month trip. It was an attractive town with a very interesting history.

Arriving in SydneyArriving in Sydney

Being South Africans we once more had to show the Canadian Immigration Officers that we had valid visas and, once again, we had to wait 45mins for them to arrive. Bureaucracy is the same the world over. This time there were about 30 of us but fortunately we were at the front of the queue. Once approved as valid tourists we left the ship and did what most of other passengers did, headed for the free wifi facility at the Visitors’ Centre. It is quite fascinating to watch this huge movement towards free wifi whenever it was available. As I have mentioned before, wifi aboard ship is very expensive so most people don’t use it. Within the Visitors’ Centre was a large Craft Market where I purchased a beautiful hand painted glass magnet.

We then walked into the town passing a very pretty small park called Mariners’ Park and dedicated to all the mariners who had been part of life in Sydney. At the top of the hill was St George’s Anglican Church built in 1785. It is the oldest church in Nova Scotia and is now no longer used for services but is open to the public to appreciate. Members of the Parish, which meets in a new building, are on duty to greet and tell people about the church and its history.

 The SanctuaryThe Sanctuary of St George’s Church

200th anniversary bannerThe banner made to celebrate the Church’s 200th Anniversary

We continued down the street to Cossit House, the home of the first Vicar of the Parish, John Cossit, his wife and 14 children.How they all were accommodated is a mystery to many of us. There were many homes from the 18th & 19th Centuries for a few blocks some of which had been renovated and restored but most were in a very poor state of repair. Outside one of these homes was a statue of a gargoyle and it looked quite hideous. Not my type of garden ornament.

Gargoyle garden ornamentGargoyle garden ormament

It was while in Sydney that we had confirmed that the large Ford F150 SUV is the real favourite of both Americans and Canadians. There were 2 parked in neighbouring driveways and then we saw another 2 as we rounded the corner back on to the road above the pier.

Ford 150A Ford F150

On this lower road were a couple of other interesting spots to visit. One was a memorial to the first Scottish Settlers who arrived here in August 1802. This first settlement of Scottish settlers led to a great migration from Scotland, hence the name Nova Scotia or New Scotland. There is still a strong Scottish culture in Sydney with Celtic Celebrations and traditional Scottish dances known as a cèilidh or céilí.

The 2nd place of interest was St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church which is now a museum. It was originally built in 1828 for the growing population which came from countries other than Scotland and so they were not all Protestant. The government gave the Roman Catholics a small piece of land to bury their dead. They used this opportunity to build this small church as well. Like the Anglicans, the Roman Catholics built a new church in town.

RC Church now a museumSt Patrick’s RC Church now a museum

RC church museum insideSome items in the Museum

On the end of the pier beside where the ship was berthed is the world’s largest cèilidh or céilí Fiddle. It is 15m or 50ft high and weighs 10 tons. Music is often played through it. It is a truly amazing sight.

Fiddle on the pierThe World’slargest Fiddle

After seeing as much of the town as we could with the time available, we returned to the ship for lunch and then disembarked again to join a coach tour to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. That was a wonderful experience which took the whole afternoon so I shall write about that in a separate blog.

Sydney was an unknown town before we arrived but we certainly left a positive vibe and can recommend a visit to others.