Wednesday, September 10, 2014

back in time

somewhat early (for us) the next morning we head out into a steady drizzle to the Fortress Louisbourg... located along the far eastern coast of Cape Breton...

The Fortress of Louisbourg is a National Historic Site of Canada and the location of a one-quarter partial reconstruction of an 18th-century French fortress at Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Its two sieges, especially that of 1758, were turning points in the Anglo-French struggle for what today is Canada.  The original settlement was made in 1713. Subsequently, the fishing port grew to become a major commercial port and a strongly defended fortress. The fortifications eventually surrounded the town. The walls were constructed mainly between 1720 and 1740. By the mid-1740s Louisbourg was one of the most extensive (and expensive) European fortifications constructed in North America. It was supported by two smaller garrisons on Île Royale. The Fortress of Louisbourg suffered key weaknesses, since it was erected on low-lying ground commanded by nearby hills and its design was directed mainly toward sea-based assaults, leaving the land-facing defences relatively weak. A third weakness was that it was a long way from France or Quebec, from which reinforcements might be sent. It was captured by British colonists in 1745, and was a major bargaining chip in the negotiations leading to the 1748 treaty ending the War of the Austrian Succession. It was returned to the French in exchange for border towns in what is today Belgium. It was captured again in 1758 by British forces in the Seven Years' War, after which its fortifications were systematically destroyed by British engineers. The British continued to have a garrison at Louisbourg until 1768. The fortress and town were partially reconstructed in the 1960s and 1970s, using some of the original stonework, which provided jobs for unemployed coal miners. The site is operated by Parks Canada as a living history museum. (wikipedia)

as we drove the 40 minutes from Sydney the weather actually improved - so that while it was gray and overcast, it was not raining when we arrived at the nearly deserted site. We rode the bus out to the site with about a dozen other people and headed off to explore the pretty substantial grounds of the site.

as we alight from the bus- we spy the fortress off to the right as we head down the path to the entrance

I am sure that many of the days the settlers lived here the weather was this bad or worse--- pretty depressing...

a "soldier" from the guardhouse greets us-

the view of the town from the embankment-

inside the house where the sheep grazed- some schematics of the development of the fortress over time-

not surprisingly, there were a lot of storehouses in the town-

a blacksmith's shop -

the well inside the bakery which offered several kinds of bread (baked for various social classes)

inside a few of the dwellings there were exhibits on various topics-

the next group is from the engineer's house-

the engineer (having high social rank was required to entertain (hence the spit roasting mechanism and the large numbers of place settings for his table)

a visitor at the engineer's house- the local priest-

the engineer's study/office

the public well-

the Inn (only place open for lunch the day we were there)

inside the Inn - drawings decorated the wall and we were given a large napkin and our one spoon for the meal - we both had the pea soup to start and Phil had the fish and I the turkey pie.  The food was better than expected and good on a wet chilly day- it started to rain just as we were heading towards the Inn so our lunch was perfectly timed on the front end-

we exited into a steady drizzle which turned into pouring rain by the time we got back to the visitor's center and we were soaked clear through by the time we made our way to the car park... one last shot as we headed out to drive south off Cape Breton and down along the eastern shore of Nova Scotia...

tomorrow we head to Lunenburg (UNESCO World Heritage site and charming fishing town!)  so stay tuned...

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