A Travelogue

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Leaving Winnipeg

Driving around and through Winnipeg, what struck me first were how many churches I saw. Churches with steeples,and bells, which is something I haven't seen much outside of Quebec. And other than churches, the most plentiful item we saw were parks. Gorgeous green parks everywhere. Down Portage there's an incredibly wide boulevard flanked by rows of huge, mature trees marching in a straight line down both sides, facing the streets. The center of the boulevard is lush greenery with park benches and looked very inviting. I bet on a nice day it's full of people. Today it was empty. Ergo, not a nice day. Also Sunday, so maybe the people were in some of the many churches.

Lots of the little buildings and older shops downtown are brightly painted with flowers and other pictures. Looks cheerful and cute, and much better than being graffitied with tags from the local gangs.

On the outskirts of the city, heading east on TC #1, the road was a patchwork of repairs and hideously bumpy. Really, one of the worst roads on which we've ever driven and as part of the Trans Canada, a real embarassment. But maybe it's because the weather has been so bad and they haven't had time to fix the roads. Evidently they've had 3 weeks of solid rain and the ditches on either side of the highway were so high with water in parts that you could have canoed down them. In fact, bruised and bloated clouds hung low in the sky, ready to drop some more.

The CBC kept us company on our drive and early in the afternoon we were entertained by Stuart Maclean and the Vinyl Cafe. Today he was broadcasting from The Canadian, the train that crosses our country and like us, he happened to be somewhere in Ontario.

The rain and clouds hung around most of the day, but we managed to find a little picnic spot and eat our lunch without getting wet. A small red squirrel was very interested in our company and hung around, probably hoping for a handout, but he wasn't very interested in the edamame husks.

On the road again

We're off to the Rotary International Convention.

First stop, Mike's place in Calgary where we enjoyed a beautiful evening but short night. Barely 5 hours of sleep and off we were on a long drive to Winnipeg.
In the end, it took us *only* 12 hours of concerted driving to get there. Hans, as always, did the lion's share while I suffered through 2 hours of driving.

SASKATCHEWAN

Saskatchewan: an old Indian saying meaning, "No hill high enough to jump from and hurt yourself."

Saying the road in Saskatchewan is boring is an understatement. It could have been the minimal sleep, or the straight but bumpy road, but soon the silver tanker truck in front of me was shimmering. It was unclear whether my eyes were out of focus or the sun was to blame but luckily, it was time to fill up the car and then Hans took over again.


HILTON HOTEL SUITES

Well, this turned out to be everything we hoped for!

We have a one bedroom suite. You walk into the living room with desk, sofa, armchair and TV. Also, a bar with microwave and small fridge, fancy coffee maker and martini shaker. Well then!

A sumptuous bathroom separates the LR from the bedroom, with king size bed and flat screen TV where Hans is currently lounging and watching the early soccer game. We'll probably never get a room like this again since this was severely discounted courtesy of a Rotarian we've never met but who, thanks to a mutual friend, has offered us a night here in Winnipeg at a fabulous rate.

And now, the morning's come and we're off on the next step of our cross-country adventure.