Bonjour Montreal

Hi Bloggers,

Today I’m in Montreal. First time for me. My impressions? Its big. Its cosmopolitan. It’s French. Its all the things you would hope a modern Canadian city would be. It’s the first place I’ve seen with those winter coats with the coyote fur around the front – in blue. Not sure if I’m seeing a new trend and its everywhere, but I thought it looked great.

One of the biggest highlights was the cathedral on Rue Saint Catherine. It had the most beautiful stained glass windows. The real feature though, was the stone carvings – especially the ones right up the back. I did not think that this type of wonderful detail in stone carving was even possible. It looked like something computer generated and carved out of a machine. It’s truly a wonder (there are some photos below).

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It was a about -20C in Montreal today. With a breeze that freezes your skin after a short while. I had to grab a neck warmer from the dollar store to keep something over my lower face. I had the rest of me covered up pretty well.

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I took a walk down Rue Saint Catherine. A long walk, all the way to the village. There are a lot of shops and food places. As you get into ‘the village’ at the far end from where I started, it gets very gay. It was a novelty to browse in the ‘speciality shops’ that cater to all kinds of kink and fetish.

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On the way back, I found my way into the subway system. I was able to negotiate – I think that’s the right word – in a mixture of English and French that I didn’t understand – my way to the right platform and onto a train that took me back the way I came. At some point I realised I lost a glove when I was juggling the ticket, my phone, a toque, neck warmer and other stuff. I realised that getting a new pair of gloves was a very high priority based on the frigid conditions. I walked, with one hand in my jacket pocket past store after store that had closed for the evening.

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I jumped off the subway at a stop that i knew was well before my stop. I surfaced through a miriad of art gallery type shops. I wandered, lost for a while, but laughing along the way, and found myself in china town. I found a pair of cheap gloves, but of course, the store didn’t take plastic, so my search continued. Eventually I found one of those souvenir shops and now I’m the proud new owner of some woolen CAN-ADA gloves (letters on the front and back of the gloves).

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Fredericton, New Brunswick … a photo essay.

Hi Bloggers, this morning I went to a café. Actually it was the second time that I went to the same café – I had breakfast there yesterday also.

This morning I was served by a nice young man. I ordered the sausage and eggs. He came by shortly after to apologise for not having any sausages. I went with the bacon and eggs.

So this afternoon, I’m sitting in another café. Guess who walks in? The young guy from the café. He was dropping in to by a coffee for himself and his girlfriend who is working up the street. He stopped to say hi – he recognised me from this morning. We chatted for a few minutes about rentals and selling cars and other stuff. That’s the kind of place Fredericton is. People are friendly.

I looked at some places to rent. I’m tempted by a large living space that is a ‘Victorian’ era ground floor property that was a quilt shop. It’s got bags of character. The heating costs could be a bit scary though. If I get that place I might be keeping the skivvies on in the winter. It’s got an awesome verandah out the front and its very close to the city centre.

Anyway, here are some photos from around town yesterday and today… hope you enjoy. 😉 SAM_4776

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Hello New Brunswick – a photo essay…

Hi Bloggers, I’m writing this post from Fredricton, New Brunswick, which is on the Eastern side (Atlantic) Canada. The only provinces further east are Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, which is an island at sea.

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Fixer upper. This house is very close to the border of the United Grapes. Going for a song. 

New Brunswick should conjure images of moose, lumberjacks, fishermen and hunters. For our American friends, its like Maine, but in Canada. It’s actually bordering on Maine. There is a smallish river (more of a brook, really) between the two great nations. The border post I saw today was a smallish affair. It seemed like a formality, and hardly a well guarded border at that. I could have walked across a train crossing only a few hundred metres from the border post, and probably not got shot at, but I erred on the side of caution.

 

 

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Proof – I was in NB!

 

Last thing I need is to get on the naughty list of Donny Trump. Especially after the last little mix up with the ESTA visa waiver system, in which I accidentally clicked one of the radio buttons where you have to answer whether you’ve ever done anything bad, or maybe said something silly about the administration. I got locked out of the visa system, and when I tried to cross the border later that day, I was told to ‘park up’ while I got a stern talking to. Thankfully, they realised my error, done in haste, and I was allowed to enter the great land of the free once again. But that was on a previous trip.

 

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Found a spooky abandoned church. 

 

I digress, this post is about the Maritimes, damn it! I only have a couple of words to describe this place: Obscenely beautiful! and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

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Check the photos out. Of course, you can’t really capture the true beauty on camera, but it still turned out pretty good!

 

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Inside the spooky abandoned church. 

 

 

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Coming in a clear first in the spookiest house competition……

 

 

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I found out the house is used as student accommodation. This was in the town of St Stephen. 

 

 

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I know, I know, just gorgeous. 

 

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Pointed right at you, Maine… USA. 

 

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Canada’s modern artillery battery will keep those pesky ‘merican’s at bay. They have never been fired in anger, though. 

 

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The HMCS Still Haulin’ pulled into port when I was there. It was greeted by well wishers and neglected girlfriends. 

 

 

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All Done – that would be my boat! 

 

 

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Genuine NB rope and tie thingy, this is not a prop. 

 

 

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Sailors unload the precious bounty amid cries of ‘arrrgghhh and arrgghhh’ (said like pirates). The east coast accents are very apparent. and it just works with all the fishermen types. 

 

 

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Genuine. Canadian. Lobster. Y’all. 

 

 

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I know, I know. 

 

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Horse Whispering

Hi Bloggers,

I was recently back in Iowa. I went to help my friend trim her horses hooves. There were four other horses in the same paddock. I really like horses. In a previous life I was a horse owner (had 3 at one point). I would really enjoy riding and caring for them. I had some great times out riding trails, etc.

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I won’t pretend to be a horse whisperer or any sort of expert. I know enough about how to care for them and enjoy their company, and that’s enough I guess.

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When you have a calm temperament, you can really get in the zone with horses. It’s what I would call a human-animal energy exchange. It’s very real. I think somehow we can find ourselves in the same brain wave patterns (or something). Horses can be so calm that they are literally nodding off in your presence. I had a little four-way hug with three horses. It was a simple, special moment!

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Walking on a November Day – a Photo Essay

Hi Bloggers, its been a while since I posted some pictures. Yesterday it was about -11C in Saskatoon. That’s actually fairly moderate as far as cold weather temperatures go. I decided to go for a walk. I walked all the way up Broadway Avenue, including a few back lanes on the way.

I ended up arriving at a church. Two of them actually. One was advertising an art exhibition. I walked in as mass was about to start. It was a older crowd, maybe 65+ age group. It was a very catholic traditional scene. After sitting for a few moments I went to have a look at the art show.

A bit later, I walked onto Broadway avenue. I was looking at some pictures of Canadian servicemen from the wars. A guy pulls up in a Mazda 6 and after checking his cell phone he dashes across the road and into the theater. I thought to myself how different the times and culture are today. Guys his age were getting trench foot and being shot at. It’s important to remember those who served in all the wars from all nations for the peace and privilege we have today.

I ended up following the guy into the Broadway theater. Seems that there is a church gathering there. I was greeted by a few enthusiastic pastor-type people with a hearty handshake. I took my seat and a band played. They were very, very good. You can appreciate the real passion that they have for their faith and their music.

Hope you enjoy my photos!

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Tumbler Ridge Road Trip, and Catching Up With My WP World.

Hi Bloggers, I went away for a week or so, and have been so busy that I haven’t had much time to catch up on my blogging obsession. But, I’m back.

Last week, I went out to visit my old home-town-in-Canada, Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia. I say home town in Canada because it’s the place where my family and I lived for 5, 1/2 years after arriving in Canada. The place is awesome and beautiful. It’s very small – a town of a few thousand people. Having lived there for so long, I got to know everybody in town, and they got  to know us.

 

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Somewhere in Alberta….. 

 

Its a long and fairly uneventful ride from Saskatoon, across the prairies of Saskatchewan and Alberta. A stop in Edmonton. On the road again. It starts to get interesting once you cross into BC and the terrain gets more hilly and scenic. Alberta has lots of awesome scenery, but in the north the mountains are more into the BC side of the border.

 

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Tribute to a young girl who has a cross of remembrance near these teddies on the road side. 
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The wind farm project – there are a lot of these turbines around TR now. 

 

It’s in the north of BC. Largely away from any major centres, relatively remote. It’s tucked into the mountains and foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a refuge from urban living, and even farm land as much of the country is bush. It’s a centre for mining (coal) that is exported to markets in Asia. Being that it’s tucked away, and not on any major thoroughfares, its kind of like a world unto itself. There’s no traffic lights, no Starbucks or Tim Hortons, no Walmart, or anything else for that matter.

 

 

 

 

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On the road from Dawson Creek to Tumbler. 

 

What it lacks in services, it makes up for in natural beauty, and the people are truly wonderful. After being away for 4 years, I was surprised to run into a LOT of people that I know from my days living here. It was really nice to see people at the hardware store, and the grocery store, and the community centre that I knew and worked with.

 

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View from the town. 

 

I got back into the gym there. I put in lots of workouts at the community centre gym. Its small-ish, and quiet, but has all the equipment you could need, and being small its quite social so people are inclined to say hi and chat a bit too.

 

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I hiked up to the Bald Spot overlooking town. 

 

 

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View from the cabin I camped at. 

 

 

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Endless trails for hiking with views like this. 

 

 

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I camped overnight at this cabin. 

 

 

Accept yourself as you were designed – a photo essay.

Hi Bloggers. I had a late summer bike ride today. I was taking pictures down by the river. There are a number of painted rocks there. Lots of feel good affirmation type of quotes and sayings. It’s very colourful. One of the rocks had painted on it ‘accept yourself as you were designed’. Yes, I think that makes for a nice title for today’s photoblog.

 

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Accept yourself!

 

 

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U of S grain elevator. I didn’t even know they had one… 

 

 

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University cows. Smartest cows in SK. 

 

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Feed bins at the U of S dairy lands.
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Don’t look into the sun!
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Soon these lovely walking avenues will be frozen ice rinks…. 

 

 

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That’s pretty gay… 

 

 

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The observatory. 

 

 

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Broadway bridge, I love you, man. 

 

 

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I’m Canadian, and I’m ok! 

 

 

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I was NOT meaning to be all dramatic in this shot. It was done with the timer and I had to straddle two rocks. That awesomely composed cool look is co-incidental, I had sweat stinging my eyes pretty badly at this point! 

 

 

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Give me my bike and some good weather and I’ll see you in a few hours, maybe. 

 

Floral Arrangement – a Prairie Photo Essay

 

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Prairie wildflowers in a take away coffee cup from a gas station. Notice the elevator in the back ground. 

 

 

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Where the f is Manitoba anyway?

 

 

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I caught this little birdy at an elevator. It flew, I ran. It flew again, I ran it down. I let it go unharmed. 

 

 

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Keeping it Canadian, eh?

 

 

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Yet another old barn… 

 

Today’s bike ride…. a photo essay.

Hi bloggers,

If you know anything about me from following my blog, you know I like nothing more than pulling on my lycra shorts and riding on the trails around the city I live. Its fitness, its fun, and it feels wickedly kind of nekkid ;). No underwear, as per usual. 

 

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Self absorbed selfie. 

 

Ok, so I went out the front of the house this morning. The sun is shining, its not yet too hot to enjoy the day. There is no breeze at all and its a super comfortable 20C or about 70F. ‘That’s perfect for a bike ride’  I though to myself. Even the bugs are having a day off. Unbelievable.

I started my ride after pumping the tires in the shed. 50 psi, I like them kind of hard. As I pedalled off I thought about how damn nice it feels with no shirt and just a thin layer of spandex between me and the world. There was very little traffic, I took the back streets. My mission today was to ride from the south traffic bridge all the way up the river to the north traffic bridge. It probably took me about 1-2 hours, but I had no agenda, no where to be and only myself to answer to. Awesome.

 

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The south traffic bridge. 

 

 

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Sweaty jogger. I wonder if it was a personal best?

The air had a mild coolness about it as I rode onto the river trail. I stopped to grab some pictures at the area with the bench seats. A sweaty jogger came up the trail and stopped to check her watch before making the arduous climb up the steps to the parking lot above. The river level has come down a bit. It snakes its way gracefully alongside the city. In a way it divides the city, yet provides a focal point that brings us together.

 

 

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Saskatoon Shines. 

 

I crossed the first bridge and rode along the river trail on the far side of the bank. A lot of people are out enjoying the mid summer weather. There are  families and joggers, and bike riders, and everything. I rode by the skateboard park. A surprising number of people are using the park so early in the morning. I rode past the area that later would host the yoga in the park.

I continued on through the pathways at the city centre. I continued north, and rode past some bicycle cops. Eventually,  I found myself at the far north bridge. I crossed over it, taking some pictures as I crossed. Some people were fishing in the river. As I went onto the trail on the other side, I passed by a guy on his bike, out with his kids.

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The trail winds in and out of river bank tree stands, and occasionally opens up to panoramas of this beautiful city. A small furry mammal crossed the path and entered a burrow. ‘Was that a ground squirrel?’ I thought. A bee buzzed its way across my path. At the University crop area a harvester was collecting what looked like grain, loading it into trucks that drove along side it.

 

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I wonder what a police pursuit would look like on bicycles? I wonder if I could out ride them? I don’t want to find out. They have Tasers and shit. 

 

Soon enough, I was back at the Broadway area. The last piece of the trail that I took on was a windy dirt side track. It was a real rush scooting along and taking the turns and rises and falls among trees and bushes. I passed a couple of joggers, and had a close call with a bike rider coming the other way. It was a great day for a ride, and I’m happy to share it with you all, enjoy!

 

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Some tai chi ladies posing for a photo, with their fans. 

 

 

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The north traffic bridge. 

 

 

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Mural on the north bridge underpass.