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Published: February 23rd 2019
Looks like our flag - for a flower!
I awoke to birds twittering in the early sunshine. Our breakfast was at 8:00 – muffins, homemade strawberry jam, fruit, juice, and hot lemon water. The annex off the kitchen retained some style from the original house. We walked to Greg’s condo, where most of the others from yesterday were gathered again.
Greg led us on a walk of historic Kitchener, a tour he does for a few organizations. We were in the historic “Berlin District
”, where the original inhabitants worked in the German language until the first World War. Our Green Gables B&B was typical of the original large multi-storey houses with wide verandas and large front and back gardens, dating from more than a hundred years ago. Many modern houses replaced the old, usually with designs sensitive to history.
Outside one narrow wooden house, the owner and a neighbour were removing wood-framed storm windows. Greg stopped to chat and was able to tell her why the house was the last wooden house built in Kitchener: so many houses burnt to the ground, that the town council ordered that only stone buildings could be built henceforth. She knew that the house was 151 years old and had originally been
the manse for a church next door, long gone, perhaps because of fire.
After a time we passed through the modern architecturally dramatic City Hall and the busy city plaza. Down a few streets was Victoria Park
, the cool treed oasis near the river. We played around with sculptured luggage that appeared to have been suddenly dropped in panic, including in the fountain pool. Greg pointed out specific trees, some in bloom on this spring day. Gardeners here seemed to love purple-leaved trees and bushes, and even the flowers were often purple. (Our B&B had Canada 150 tulips
, painstakingly bred by a research centre in Ottawa to resemble our flag.)
Now in the Victoria historic district, we inspected Greg’s and Jeanette’s community garden plots, featuring Greg’s tight little cactus plot full of a type that lasts through the winter. Close by was the river and a walking path that reached all the way to Waterloo. We chose the opposite direction and came into the modern centre of town, with buildings rising only five to eight storeys. We passed the Oktoberfest hall
and a Glockenspiel
across the street. A wonderful public art installation consisted of pedestrian statues walking down the side of a
Friends remember hiking
Camino de Santiago de Compostela
building, across the flat roof of another and one on the sidewalk!
Back at the condo, we were grateful to rest on the sunny patio and eat leftovers from last evening and drink cold tea. One woman who had done two Camino walks insisted we all should accompany her to a location about ten minutes away by car for a surprise – she resisted all blandishments to preview the nature of the surprise. We piled into a few cars and found what had been a sugar beet processing plant and was now an event centre. On the back patio, shaded by early wisteria, was a detailed map of the Camino de Santiago
trail painted around a decorative pool. The tour participants, most of whom had walked the Camino with Gregg and Jeanette, were charmed and delighted as they giggled their way around, following the dotted footpath they had once trod in reality. In the adjacent vegetable garden were large whimsical metal statues of a valiant Don Quixote
on his horse Rocinante
, Sancho Panza
wrestling with the mule, and a windmill in the distance.
At last on the road to our next destination, Elizabeth and I managed to miss the turnoff for the
highway, mainly because we saw no sign and we happened to stop at the gas station on the corner of the turnoff, which confused us. Once on the right road we drove about forty minutes to our first stop at the falls near Hamilton. Most of them are only accessible by walking the Bruce Trail, too long and too muddy for us this day.
After some difficulty finding a spot to put the car, we joined a lot of day-trippers at Great Falls in Smokey Hollow
. Behind a screen of young trees, the Grindstone Creek tipped over the Niagara escarpment in a pretty cascade. Elizabeth had once seen them as a trickle and a couple of weeks ago as a torrent. The path to the bottom was muddy in places, and the wooden reinforcements for the stairs were a bit hazardous. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the fresh scents and the cool shade.
About ten minutes later we pulled into the parking for Borer’s Falls Conservation Area
. We walked back along a little path and a bit on the road to see the fine tracery of Borer’s Falls. Because of the growth of new trees, only one viewpoint afforded a full view of the
Lace in a cool bower
crashing water. Off again to another location, Elizabeth stopped at a specialty pie store to stock up on meat pies, cakes and croissants. Thus we were feeling benign when we discovered that access to the next falls had changed to a shuttle system that rendered the trip onerous. With no regrets, we headed for the 401 and Toronto.
Elizabeth cooked a rack of lamb for dinner, complete with roast potatoes and green beans, followed by lemon ice and date squares from the pie shop. Mmmm!
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