We have reached the tipping point in our travels to Eastern Canada, where we have seen and remember most of the most well-known tourists sights, but we still continue to find many places we are happy to visit. We now describe ourselves as "Summer Canadians", because instead of feeling the need to visit many places, we are content to move slowly and stay longer. Our challenge has been to visit places we have not yet seen, and experience new adventures. Sydney Tour Guide
One of the delights of travel is to take time to talk with the people who live in the towns and cities we visit. Of course, since we are tourists, these people are generally those who are engaged in tourism in one way or another. They make it easier for us to ask questions and exchange opinions because they are accustomed to speak with strangers, and they enjoy telling anecdotes about the people and places they represent. They give us insights into their lives and surroundings.
Lately we have had the pleasure of visiting with several people whom we will remember fondly.
Sydney, Nova Scotia, is a harbor and cruise ship port near Cape Breton Island. One day we visited the oldest house on Cape Breton Island, the Jost House, which dates from about 1780. It is located near the spot where cruise ships dock, and has become a featured stop for their shore excursions, along with its neighbor right across the street.
The rooms are filled with a variety of museum objects, but the trip was fun primarily because of the smiling plump lady dressed in a white servant's Summerside Machine Shop costume who gave us a guided tour of the whole place. She had carefully memorized her lines, spoke in the Cape Breton friendly slang to the two of us, and peppered her comments with the life of men and women in those olden days.
Actually it was not so long ago that her aunt had 21 children. We were suitably impressed.
The house was occupied until 1979 and then restored and stabilized and furnished with museum things -- old furniture, tools, clothing, ship models, merchants' books, charts, stuffed birds, photographs of trees and animals, the contents of an old apothecary shop, etc.
In the basement she showed us the whitewashed (to prevent insects) walls, and the fireplace and oven which had been plastered over at some earlier time and were a complete surprise to the renovators.
In Summerside, on Prince Edward Island, we visited the Bishop Machine Shop Museum. This is also fairly new as a museum, having been a working machine shop until its owner died. It was also a foundry. Our guide was a high school student with a deep love for machinery and science, working as a tour guide for the summer. He knew and loved the machinery he displayed, including a 13-foot-long lathe. He has grown up with farm machinery and has learned how they are made and repaired.
About halfway through our tour, another family arrived, a father and Eager Young Men mother and their two eager sons. The boys were filled with questions so it was not long before we adults just stood back and let it flow. The young guide carefully explained how things work, and let them operate a couple of pieces of machinery. It was delightful to watch.
On another day, in New Glasgow, we were at lunch when a gentleman approached Bob. Seems that Bob met a local standing at the urinal, the weather was talked about, Bob opined that it was colder and wetter in Sydney than in New Glasgow, and then after we had eaten, two of these old geezers (older than us, we think, but in good shape) came to our table and marvelled at how Texans could travel to Nova Scotia (although one of them had taken his RV through Texas and wintered in Florida). They were warm welcoming ambassadors of good will for New Glasgow.