Published: June 22nd 2010June 22nd 2010
19th - 21st June Where: Edmonton
, the capital city Highights:
A lot of biking, walking the WEM & of course the first camping experience in warm weather Weather:
30C - 12C Mileage:
Leaving home around 8.30am, we followed the almost straight road, the Deerfoot Trail, N to Edmonton. 299km and 3 hours later, we reached our campground. As expected, S slept most of the way. The campground was almost full. Thankfully I reserved it a day ago. Somewhere along the drive, both of us realized that it was a longer drive than we expected & since we started late, we would do justice if we stayed one more day. So.
After setting up camp, we drove right to Fort Edmonton Park
. Taking the River Loop Trail, we started our bike journey. We have a history of losing our way on bikes. We were right on, this day too. We got lost, but since we got lost in parks(park after park) we did not mind it so much. Edmonton's park system is vast & very well maintained. With the sunshine, everything was green. First day's ride(of getting lost many times) made me love the city instantly. We
almost doubled our initial route by getting lost(~20km RT). But a little pain hurts no one. S even managed to sleep for about an hr in her seat with her helmet on. That is definitely not a comfortable place or position to sleep, but who am I to disturb her. She didn't care anyways.
Half way, when we reached our "this-is-it" spot, we locked the bikes & walked up a huge set of stairs to the city. We reached a shelter just in time to get away from the rain. Just a tad. The rain slashed from all directions & the shelter could not defend its existence. It rained. Nah! Poured. And I watched people going about their work with opened mouth. Finally, an older man shared his presence in the shelter. We started talking. After enquiring about us, he told us that he moved from Vancouver recently. I was curious with the jobs in this city & when I asked him, "What do you do?", he smiled saying, "I am here to set up free strores."
"Free stores?", I asked unknowingly.
"Yeah, It is like the Thrift store concept. It is a community thing. People come drop off their
stuff & we give it back for needy people for free."
"Thrift stores does not give away for free. How do you manage to make money?" I asked.
"We actually charge people a meagre sum to drop off their stuff. That is actually quite a bit. A couple people are helping me here & we hope to set up a store soon. There are some needy people here."
I asked more details. But this man, should be in his later 50's inspired me so much. He calls it Recycling & Reconsuming. And the best part is he is doing it as a person. He is not backed by a great organization or nothing.
The rain just gave us some room & we were gifted with a double rainbow just above the Alberta Legislature building. We biked so long, climbed a bunch of stairs only to get caught in rain. But the rainbow, made it all worth it. Did I say it was a double rainbow? Double worth it!!!
Totally not wanting to get lost again, we chose to get back via sidewalks this time. They were green, nevertheless.
Back at camp by 10pm, we had time to
eat & hit the sack. Sunday, 20th June
Happy Father's Day! S wished her Father. Though the Father does not believe in such days/celebrating them, he still manages to make a big drama out of it. But we didn't budge.
Had a late start. But S was falling into this huge cycle of sleeping in the car. Within 2 hrs of waking up in the morning, she fell asleep. So, we changed our plans & hit the West Edmonton Mall
(the largest in North America). We walked & walked & walked. This place is huge. Their waterworld is amazing & we plan to go there sometime. S woke up soon & someone tapped my shoulder & asked, "Are you planning to be here for the rest of the day?". I said, "Yes".
"Oh, then do you want this stroller? We were just going to return it."
"Why. Yes. Thank you." I was just wondering if I should rent one, actually.
S loved her ride the whole day.
There was a sea lion show & S enjoyed every bit. We walked a little further to their mini aquarium & finally ended up at Galaxy world, their indoor amusement park.
Bike trail below the LRT
Across the Saskatchewan river
The best deal was kids under 5 ride free with an adult(free too). S had so much fun in the carousel, train-ride & balloon ride. A total blast after which she immediately fell asleep. By 6pm sharp, everything closed down. Monday, 21st June
Early start. We drove to Victoria Park
near the city. Off on our bikes to Muttart Conservatory
. How S managed to fall sleep with her helmet on, I have no clue. This time, we pulled over to let her sleep for a while. We were in no hurry to get to the conservatory. When we finally reached the conservatory it should've been a good 1pm or so. It was a tad difficult to keep S from not touching those plants, but I think she had fun.
Getting back to the car is always the easier way. That was it for us in this city for a while. We were thoroughly entertained here.
We got back just in time before the thunderstorms hit. It was a harder one this time & we were thankful were were inside this time. I saw about 20 lightnings in less than 20 minutes. And thunder!
River valley trail
minutes, each drop than fell down hit hard enough that it could hurt people. And then the hghway! It poured more than it could run away to the sides. The highway looked like a lake 1 inch deep. Dangerous! The temperature came down from 30C to 15C in just 15 minutes.
And then, a minute later, the rain stopped, abruptly. Sun was out & the temperature rose back up to 30C.
I couldn't just be more inspired by this country, the weather & all those Aboriginal people living all the way near the Arctic. True survivors!
I let Ganesh drive the uneventful journey back home. Reached Calgary to be greeted by Sunlight until 9pm. Observations
-Definitely more Indians here.
-Edmonton is a large city with a vast expanse of well maintained park systems.
-Whatever be the weather, wait it out for 5 minutes & it changes. So true!
-Locals are friendly.
-Weather is definitely more humid than Calgary. Love it.
-Their peak season is from June-August. A lot of people camp.
-Though we did not get to see any festivals, we saw street performers practising locally at the Alberta legislature park grounds.
-Unlike the US, everyone gets into
a fountain/any water body. It is so much fun to see it. They enjoy the weather.
-Impressive trail system.
-WEM. Another mall. Still you just have to be here.
-More parking in the city. Did not see any traffic congestion or parking issues on this trip.
-Should be lovely in Winter.
-The Northern lights
show up this low in latitude. The Univ of Alberta maintains a website for watching the aurora
in Edmonton. A definite try!
I am requesting Ganesh to take a break next weekend. Don't know what the big man will say. Hopeful, this time. But July 1st is Canada Day & we will be out camping, rain or shine!
There are more photos below