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Le Boreal Travel Journal - Boston to Montreal 10-Day Cruise

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Day 4 - Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
The barracks building in historic old town Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

The barracks building in historic old town Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

Louisbourg, Nova Scotia (c) Linda Garrison
The next morning Le Boreal was at sea on the way from Halifax to Louisbourg. The ship only has a maximum speed of 15 knots, less than bigger ships. I liked not having to be up early every morning; it seems very civilized.

I ate a light breakfast and attended Sophie's talk on Samuel Champlain, who was the famous French explorer responsible for much of the settlement of Quebec. Lake Champlain in New York state is also named for him.

The theme for lunch was Canadian cuisine, and we had crab legs along with other sea food. Unfortunately, I was on a 12:45 pm tour, so had to eat rather quickly. We took a tender to shore in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, followed by a short bus ride to the Louisbourg Fortress. When we arrived at the fortress, they gave us the audiovox machines and divided us into two groups--English (about 14 of us, which was almost all the Americans/British) and French (the rest). Nice to have such a small tour group.

The French built the fortress and town on this site in 1713. It was partially destroyed when the British took over Nova Scotia in the late 1750's, but was at its height in 1744. The site was abandoned and left in ruins before it became a Canadian national park in 1928. Most of the reconstruction was done starting in the 1960's, and today about 20 percent of the town has been reconstructed, making it the "largest reconstructed 18th century town in North America", according to the brochure. The ruins of the rest of the town are still there, and archaeologists continue to work at the site.

The Louisbourg tour guide was quite good, and the reconstruction excellent. She walked around with us for about an hour, and then gave us about 1.5-hours' free time. We toured the homes of the governor, his adjutant (second in command), and the engineer (third in command). Workers in costumes provided commentary about life in Louisbourg. It was especially harsh since the weather is so bad and summer is very short. However, everyone had plenty to eat because the cod fishing was excellent. The soldiers were almost in slavery since they usually were borrowing against future wages.

We also toured several other buildings and watched the re-creation of a public punishment of a man who had stolen an ounce of cognac. The soldier's barracks were particularly impressive. Three men were assigned to each bed, with one sleeping and the other two on duty or out of the sleeping area. There was also a chapel in the barracks, which was only open to women on Sundays. The barracks were never open to women except on Sunday morning for services. They gave a demonstration of musket shooting, and we walked around and had a cup of hot chocolate to take off the chill. There was a light rain, and I was glad I had my raincoat, but never needed the umbrella.

After the tour, we took the bus shuttle back to the tender. It was only 4 pm, so I walked into town and found a post office to mail my postcards. I also found what I think was the only bar in town and tried the local beer. It was an amber called Alexander Keith. Very tasty. Back on the ship by about 5:10.

I had dinner with the onboard naturalist and historian. The two onboard experts/lecturers are young French people who are very interesting and have a passion for their topics. Sophie has been lecturing on Acadia and Quebec, and Jose (pronounced Jos-A) has his doctorate in marine biology and has loved whales since he was a little boy. The dinner was the best yet -- I had the mushroom soup, which was delightful, the very yummy tuna tartare, duck with a spring roll, and ice cream with caramel for dessert.

After dinner, I went to the show, another performance by the five dancers. It was innovative, but the music was too monotonous for me, with not enough tempo change. The dances were also too much the same. As good as the dancing show was the first night, this one was not to me, although others seemed to enjoy it. Guess that's why they have different shows every night.

I was back to the cabin at 10:30 and ready for bed. The next day the pace picked up. I had two shore excursions scheduled (morning and afternoon) in Iles de la Madeleine, a group of French islands at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.

Le Boreal New England and Atlantic Canada Cruise Travel Journal

  1. Overview and Embarkation
  2. Bar Harbor, Maine
  3. Halifax, Nova Scotia
  4. Halifax - Peggy's Cove
  5. Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
  6. Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec (Magdalen Islands) - Morning Tour
  7. Iles de la Madeleine - Afternoon Tour
  8. Perce, Quebec
  9. Perce - Bonaventure Island
  10. Havre St. Pierre, Quebec - Niapiskau Island
  11. Havre St. Pierre, Quebec - Quarry Island
  12. Tadoussac, Quebec
  13. Saguenay, Quebec
  14. Quebec City
  15. Montreal and Disembarkation
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  8. An Afternoon in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

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