Thursday, 2 October 2014

Road trip: Part 2 - Winnipeg to Lake of the Woods

Day 4: cafe breakfast, including a chew on Granny's glasses (Photo: Michael).
Day 3 ended at a hotel in Winnipeg, after dinner with our family. Jimmy wasn't sure about the bath, but I thought it was great! And it was nice to be inside given how cold it was that morning (not that we were out in the coldest part, but it was single digits Celsius). So, on to Day 4 of our road trip!

Day 4: Winnipeg to Lake of the Woods
Did I mention a cafe breakfast? My uncle booked a table at Stella's Cafe and Bakery, which meant being out of our hotel room by 8:30 am, which we managed! Was it the lure of coffee or food we didn't have to prepare or the fact that we'd all showered the night before that made it possible? Meh... doesn't matter! We made our breakfast deadline and were greeted by a busy cafe. The food was great and the coffee hit the spot and there was a queue of people waiting for tables, even before we were finished eating. So, we didn't spend all morning there, taking up 4 tables (there were 9 of us...), plus we had to see Winnipeg!

"Done! Breakfast had, get me out of this high chair!"
After breakfast we headed to Assiniboine Park for a quick stroll around the lovely gardens. Yeah... no words, just look at the photos.

This bronze is one of many in the park, all by Dr. Leo Mol.

Bronze by Dr. Leo Mol.

Detail. Bronze by Dr. Leo Mol.

Detail. Bronze by Dr. Leo Mol.

I was just a little too excited to see a game of cricket being played and wished that the geese were still there...
After seeing a little of Assiniboine Park, we took in more of Winnipeg from inside the car. With Cousin Am. playing guide, we followed Granny and Uncle C., her brother past cafe's, shops, big landmarks, and a historic site in the French Quarter.

Most of the trees in (what was probably) downtown Winnipeg had sticky rings on trees for control of insect pests.
The Human Rights Museum (taken from the car, hence the angle).
What a bridge!

By the time we reached the French Quarter, to look at a particular church, Jimmy was asleep. But we couldn't leave him in the car because that would mean missing out on a great opportunity for walking, so he enjoyed hugs with Dadee as he woke up.

Now, this church: this church is pretty cool, mostly for the stone used to build it, but also because the front survived a huge fire, and because in its graveyard rests Louis Riel, a founder of Manitoba and supporter of the Métis people of the Canadian prairies. What Riel is to Canadians probably depends on who you speak to, but he played a major role in Canada's history and helped ensure that the Métis of Manitoba and Saskatchewan were not (entirely) driven off their lands. 

But back to the church... After the devastating fire in 1968, the remaining church face was preserved, with a new church build in its shadows. And yes, this church has a name: St Boniface Cathedral. It's actually kind of amazing and well worth visiting, even if you only go virtually.

Tyndall stone has been used in many important buildings in Canada and the United States and it's covered in fossils and mottling, thanks to the marine creatures that once burrowed through the lime deposits long, long ago. Yes, long, long ago, there was an inland sea in North America. Pretty cool.

One of the many fossils to be found in the rocks that make up the old face of St Boniface Cathedral. 
The connoisseur seems to approve of Winnipeg.
After our tour of Winnipeg (and a much needed reminder that a) cities exist and b) Michael and I are city people), we had some lunch and then headed to the cottage...

And didn't the landscape change! As I only have really bad in-car-while-travelling photos, you'll have to take my word for it: we hadn't been travelling east of Winnipeg for very long before the plains gave way to birch, spruce, rocks, and water. I'm sure we were at a higher altitude at the cottage than in Winnipeg, because the air was crisper, but that could have had more to do with a nearby, large body of water keeping its temperature.

This part of the world is breathtaking and peaceful and a little scary. There are bears, wolves, timber wolves, cougars, ticks with lymes disease, and a fungus in the soil that means dogs (and babies) can't go off and dig around in the  without getting sick. Yikes!* 

A glimpse...
But it's beautiful. And so quiet. It's so different from anywhere I've ever been. We went out on the lake that afternoon, all rugged up against the cold air. Did I mention that it's beautiful? Jimmy wasn't impressed, and fell asleep.

Jimmy rocking the double hoodie and dinosaur life jacket (Photo: Michael). 

To be continued!

*I am aware that I come from a country with some of the worlds' most venomous snakes, some nasty spiders, paralysis ticks, crocodiles, surrounded by ocean full of stinging jellyfish and hungry sharks.

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