Monday, September 1, 2014

A beautiful walk in Canmore

Canmore is a town of about 12,000 people a short ten minute drive away from Banff National Park.  It is nestled in the Rocky Mountains with Kananaskis, a popular area for winter activities and hiking close by.  This town is an alternative to staying in pricey touristy Banff townsite with gorgeous hotels and bed and breakfasts.  Mind you, it is getting more touristy than when I was there last but still not as bad as Banff is.  The day after the CVF convention in Banff we headed out to do the 11 km walk there and spent that night in the Hostel Bear  before heading east on the Trans Canada Highway back home the next day.

We arrived into Canmore in the rain so quickly legged it to a coffee shop for a cup of joe (and some of us greedy ones who may not be named had a cinnamon bun as well..)  Once the shops were open we had a quick look and before long  behold the skies cleared and off we went.   Judi did the 5 km walk while June and I did the 11 km walk.  A lovely couple from Edmonton were doing the 11 km walk as well so we all stayed together - getting a bit...ahem... "misplaced", hailed on and admiring the fantastic views. 

Not a bad way of starting a walk!!!

 I am just going to shut up now and let you walk along these paths with us and drink in this beauty...breathe deeply and smell....the smell was out of this world....but put your rain gear on because we get hailed on!  Volkssporters are NOT wimps! (and only witches melt in the rain)  Never mind, a few minutes and it was over and the sun came out again....

Getting near the end

The four musketeers happy to be back at the start point - the Grizzly Pub 

I tucked into this bad boy with gusto....
What a fantastically beautiful walk.  One of the best!   I would recommend walking with a partner - we didn't encounter any wildlife but it is possible.   Canmore also has another 11 km walk and a shorter 5 km walk.  Go to the CVF website for more information on this walk.  And go to the grizzly pub for a beer and burger after the walk - you won't regret it!!! 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hartford by (mostly) foot in 10 hours - part 2

When I left you last I was sitting filling my face with some awesome BBQ.  Fully sated with meat, coleslaw and cornbread I staggered out of the restaurant and waddled over to the Ancient Burial Ground in downtown Hartford which is the oldest historic site in the city.  Off the "official" route I was following but what the hell...I wanted to see it.  A young boy greeted me at the entrance asking if I wanted a "free " tour.  "Ha" I thought..."I wasn't born yesterday" and said no.  As it turned out it was legit but oh well....I wandered around taking photographs and admiring the markers, some of which have been there since the 1600's.  Once I got over the initial creepiness of walking over dead bodies a few years back I now enjoy visiting graveyards.  This cemetery was HUGE but now concrete and buildings cover a great deal of these former settlers and residents of Hartford. 

Apparently you had to have a bit of money to have one of these - people had picnics on these when they came to visit you so I was told....okay...

I found this very poignant

Then it was time to head over to the Connecticut river downtown. 

Loved this sculpture of Awesome Abe and Harriet Beecher Stowe - author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin".

There were quite a few of these Lincoln sculptures along the river path apparently and being a fan of Lincoln I was disappointed I just didn't have the time to explore. 

Old State house - gorgeous.  I can only imagine how beautiful inside - but sadly it is left to my imagination as it was closed on Mondays.   

I carried on walking until I came to the Mark Twain House and Harriet Beecher Stowe home which are side by side.

I enjoyed touring Mark Twain's home -his most famous works were written. here.  What a fascinating man! 
 I toured the Harriet Beecher Stowe house before then which was interesting - I did the two houses as a package but if I had to do it over again I would have just toured Mark Twain's house and museum as there was so much more to enjoy.  Sadly I had to leave when it closed at 5 and there was still so much more to see!!! So frustrating!!! 

I then took the bus back downtown and transferred onto a bus that took me back to my abode in West Hartford. I just could not face doing any more walking - I figured by then I was well over 10 km. 

I was a bit hungry so I went to a nearby restaurant called A C Peterson farms known for their ice cream so guess what I had for supper?  An ice cream sundae of course.!   Well you know when you are a kid and say when I grow up I am going to do this.  Well I do that quite a bit now - this isn't the first time I've had an ice cream sundae as a main course!  Accompanied by singing staff...well the less said about that the better....

The next morning I knew there was really not enough time to go downtown and do more exploring so I walked over to a  huge shopping area of West Hartford where I did a bit of retail therapy - when there is a Whole Foods Store and a REI in the same vicinity I am a happy traveler!

Back to my abode where I picked up my luggage and said farewell to Natacha and Bastion.  I then caught a local bus out to the airport - quickly buying a sandwich at the nearby grocery store before I left.  It was a little gem and one of those "oh damn why didn't I see you before now" type places.

I liked Hartford and I feel I have unfinished business there - if planned right it's a short and cheap megabus trip from New York City so who knows...I have to do more exploring of that Mark Twain museum, take a walk along the river to see more Awesome Abe sculptures and get to know Bastion a bit better!!!  I really enjoyed my time there. 

I had to transfer downtown so checked out the small farmers market in the courtyard of the Old State Capital Bldg and had a homemade sorbet.  Very nice on a hot day.  Then off to the airport on my two dollar fare - can't beat that.

So off I went home....or did I?  Stay tuned! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hartford by (mostly) foot in ten hours - part 1

Hartford was US capital city #31...after my day of ambling around Albany I got the 3:45 Greyhound bus to Hartford.  Well supposed to be 3:45 but it was 45 minutes late due to waiting for passengers on another bus that was arriving into Albany late. We drove through the beautiful Berkshires which was a treat but sadly the car in front of us hit a deer and I saw it in its death throes.  Very very upsetting for me, the animal lover.   Upon arrival at the bus depot I texted my airbnb host Natacha (originally from Argentina and a professor at a local university) however it was not going through for some reason.  I hopped in a taxi and luckily she was there to greet me.  I was shown to my room - simple but covered the basics and worked for me.  It was like staying in a friend's spare room and for $51 a night much cheaper than a hotel room.  I even got my own space to store toiletries in the bathroom which is a first for my airbnb experiences.  Natacha and her boyfriend Mike were so friendly and helpful.  Their dog Bastian, a hound dog was even friendlier - coming up to greet me every time I came in and  walking behind me between my legs so I was almost riding him! (keep it clean!)   I am laughing just thinking about it.  Sadly I did not get a picture of him nor his "parents" as I was not there much at all. 

So we fast forward to the next morning and it was off for breakfast at the place Natacha had recommended - the oldf fashioned Quaker Diner just around the corner where I had a really good bacon, egg and cheese bunwich. 

All fueled up I then started walking to the start point of the 10km walk - Natacha and Mike had kindly mapped out a route for me to follow to catch up with the route near Elizabeth park.  After about a 40 minute walk I reached the park and sat down by the water and had a rest as it was starting to warm up.   

I walked around Elizabeth Park which was just lovely even if I couldn't find a damn toilet!!!  

The majority of the roses were a bit past their "sell by" date but to this Spring deprived Saskatchewanian they were beautiful!

After leaving the park I came across this board on someone's lawn -"Be Kind" was my contritibution.

Then it was on to the State Capital - there was major construction going on but a friendly cop helped me cross the very busy road to the park in front of the capital building.  And yay, being a Monday the building was open so I was able to go inside and have a snoop around.  I had just missed the tour but that was okay - I prefer to look around on my own sometime with a brochure.  I mean let's face it - they give you all this information which you promptly forget anyway.   However one thing did stay with me from that brochure...more on that in a bit. 

The building was completed in 1878 and was the third state capital building since the American Revolution
Very ornate - without the dome it could be a castle. 

A true heroine - read below.

Fountain on the grounds of Bushnell Park in front of the State Capital. 
What?  I know I walked a lot but how did I end up in Germany?   This is the Soldiers and Sailors memorial (Civil War) which was completed in 1886.  Beautiful!  I am only showing you the top as the bottom was covered with scaffolding.
 Okay time for a break...I wandered back downtown and was quite peckish and in need of a cold drink and air conditioning.  I stopped here....
Yes, a New Orleans style eatery - I am obsessed I know!

Vegetarians look away quickly!!!  Pulled pork, beef brisket, coleslaw, red beans & rice & corn bread.  Oooee!!  Need I add I couldn't finish it. 

Oh boy was it good...

To be continued....