November break is a good chance to catch up with all your studies and make a start on those couple of term papers that you’ve yet to look at…
or, if you’re like me, it is also a great chance to hire a car and go explore the province!
At the tip of mainland Nova Scotia lies a bridge connecting the Mainland to Cape Breton Island, and this is where I spent my reading week.
Cape Breton Island has a population of only 147,000 people, but it has a very interesting history. It is the only place outside of Scotland where Scottish Gaelic is spoken as an everyday language. This is due to the settlement of Cape Breton by Scottish immigrants fleeing from the Highland Clearances. And it is easy to see why they chose Cape Breton, the highlands are so reminiscent of Scotland – it felt like home.
During my time there, which was only 5 days, we tried to cram as much in to our week as possible, obviously – including, but not limited to, a lot of drinking (which I will, for my own dignity, leave out the pictures for)
My favourite part of my reading week was when we visited the old, disused, Chéticamp Gypsum mines. Off the beaten track, they are hidden behind the settlement of Chéticamp. With a little bit of off-track climbing (good shoes are recommended), you reach the top of these sheer gypsum cliffs, which look out onto the mines, now full of water. The gypsum outcrops give the water a brilliant turquoise colour, not captured too well in my pictures, but you’ll have to see for yourself.
We also visited the main city in Cape Breton, Sydney. It reminded me of a smaller Halifax, although a lot like Scotland – the locals l.o.v.e a bevvy.
Since coming back from Reading Week however, it has been all hands on deck. Finals approached with terrifying speed, and my social life took a back seat – as is to be expected with exchange; as much as you are there to enjoy being abroad, studying obviously takes precedence.
I am writing this from the comfort of my bedroom back home in the U.K as I prepare for my second semester of exchange. If it is anything like the first, then my flight back on Monday cannot come quick enough.