My Canada 150: Day 4

I set out to discover more of the beautiful homes in the downtown core. Let me say now that walking an average of 20,000 steps per day is extremely tiring when pounding the pavement! I only had a coffee at Crave, trying to be a thrifty spender. Then met met my daughter on her way to work – taking full advantage of her proximity to drop off my rather laden down bag. I had left the house prepared for stormy weather – only some squirrel spit. Although not nearly as entertaining as having my daughter be my tour guide I managed to unintentially cover two of the walking tours in about 2 1/2 hours. I started with Earl Street, and ended with William Street when my curious mind wanted to see what was there. Lo and behold it was one of the streets listed in my guide.

Earl Street is one of the oldest streets in Kingston, gaining its current name in 1850. Many of the homes were built as far back as the 1830s. The gentry and industry workers had dwellings here. Of course the grander homes belonged to the wealthy, although it appears some of what we now call duplexes, and row houses, were occupied by various professionals who had tenants, or offices, in the adjoining spaces, and several of the smaller homes were owned by businessmen and managers in trades such as hardware, and various shops. These days doors, verandah and sometimes even the facade of a duplex or row house may be painted in unmatched colours – owners do not seem to discuss choices. At the corner of Earl and Sydenham is the Rosemount, built in 1849. It is now a bed and breakfast – I stayed one night there two winters ago. Quite a difference seeing it surrounded by green. I love the chimneys. 

My room two years ago on 2nd floor. Restored cast iron fence
An early skinny house? Note the 1/2 in the address. I did not find any information. There are a few of these.

I did stop at the Springer Market outside City Hall, not many vendors to entice me to spend my money. Perhaps it is busier on Saturdays. At the urging of my pandas I bought a goodie baked on Wolfe Island. I am quite sure I have had too much doughy stuff since arriving in Kingston. The walking tours are a great way to get in at least 10,000 steps (to make you feel less guilty about a treat) and learn some of he local history of the area. I downloaded the App, so far have not listened to the audio but found the information more useful than in the booklet. 

In an attempt to keep away from a routine I am trying to eat any meals out at places I have not been to. Lunch was at Chez Piggy, although pricier than what I would normally pay for lunch I decided it was about time I checked this hidden place put. A nice outdoor patio, shaded enough for me to not regret the decision to eat al fresco. I chose the Cha Gio Salad: Vietnamese spring rolls (chicken, pork and shrimp), fresh greens, coriander, mint, glass noodles, cucumber, bean sprouts and chopped peanuts with a light dip/dressing on the side. Absolutely delicious! I sometimes worry that a popular tourist spot will be a disappointment, this was not. Attentive service without feeling I was rushed. Very fresh greens, a snap to the bean sprouts – they must grow them in house or buy locally – spring rolls lightly deep fried, none of the usual greasiness often encountered in spring rolls. A satisfying meal that did not sit heavily. I love a good salad. No photos, and my pandas were not happy with me when I told them they could wait until dinner.

The final photo is of Wellington Place, having gone through a major renovation I first noticed in 2014 and watch with interest whenever in Kingston. It is nearly ready for occupation; personally do not like the modern additions. I expect it is better than having it torn down.

2.50 coffee Crave; 2.50 chocolate de pain; 24.00 lunch; steps: 18,007

My Canada 150: Day 3

There is something comfortable about returning to a place previously visited. I expect it is along the lines of going to the cabin, or snowbirds flying to Florida, enough familiarity to encourage exploring without being completely out of ones depth. Kingston has become like that for me. It took this long to also discover that few of the tourist sites open until June. Kingston has become one of my cities to discover and what better time than for Canada 150.

I am still staying in the country which means up early for a ride to town. For my first week I expect this will be my routine. Crave was my first stop. Fortified with a good cup of coffee and a spinach feta danish I finished my book and worked on my first blog entry for this trip. With photos not uploading in town then sporadic internet in the country I was doubting my adventures will ever read. I shall persevere. I plan to shed books as I read them in an effort to lighten my load for going home.

A walk up Princess St., the downtown core, I eventually met up with my daughter for an early lunch (for me, late breakfast for her) at Geneva Crepe Bistro where I tried the Great Canadian crepe with peameal back bacon, (I am absolutely certain I have never had this before – it must be an Eastern Canada thing) scrambled egg, mushrooms and green onion. It was very good but far too much. I only ate half. A doggy carton spent three hours in my hand – next time I will insist on a bag also. My daughter had the Elvis crepe, topped with banana, bacon, maple syrup and chocolate ganache – and peanut butter on the inside from what I could see – somehow my darling child (28) ate the whole thing. We definitely needed to walk off our meal. 

Always feed your pandas first

A self guided Walking Tour of Kingston was the perfect outlet. To suit the upcoming Canada 150 festivities we chose to “Walk in Sir John A.’s Footsteps.” Rather than plug into the App I had downloaded my daughter became my personal guide, reading aloud each short blurb in the booklet I also had. Until recently she worked with Haunted Tours of Kingston proved an easy transition and she added some snippets of unexpected information along the way. (No secrets of the trade were revealed).
Sir John A. was the first prime minister of Canada, with Kingston slated as the capital of the country. Rather short lived, with Ottawa eventually becoming our capital city. We spent a lovely afternoon looking at some of the homes Sir John A. either lived in or rented for family members. Kingston reminds me in some ways of Victoria, maintaining many homes built in the 1800s, the main difference is that homes in Kingston were build using stone, brick or limestone. Some of these were beautifully crafted with many retaining their fabulous brick or stonework. 
Few of the grand homes are single family dwellings these days
Just look at the detail!

I was quite happy to see that St. George’s Cathedral was open to visitors. My last visit to Kingston found only one church actually open to the public, this was not one of them. Playing in the air was the sound of what the flock might encounter, an organist was practising the pipes, quite enthralling. Finding signs of the inane in places too often sombre always delights me. I was not disappointed – pews are uncomfortable so why not soften the seat with a personal cushion? On the way out I was tempted to give a go on the two bell pulls flanking the main doors. I refrained. 
Sunday’s best outfit

I was also quite exhausted by the time we made our way to where my other daughter had parked her car. My grandson had a friend over so the early evening and dinner were quite boisterous. I was in bed by 9:00 and probably only woke up once until I had a near cramp in my thigh. Wearing my runners tomorrow. 

4.60 coffee and danish (Crave); my daughter treated me for lunch; 21000+ steps

My Canada 150 Day 1-2

It was beginning to be doubtful I would actually even make it to the airport yet alone get on the plane. Fortunately I was able to put my full trust in my daughter to look after my cat, Mozzy, without feeling exceptionally guilty. I was lucky to begin my trip in a relaxed manner rather than dealing with the frenzy of taking three buses to the airport. Dinner with live music, thank you Sean McCool (his real name). After some discussion about sustainability I decided to have the snapper – I could not find any information when doing a quick search on my iPhone – as it seemed the best choice for a light, and still satisfying, meal. My travelling companions insisted on sharing two very small nibbles of a gluten free, heavy on the chocolate, ‘cake’. Like a dense cheesecake. They then fell into a stupor for the rest of the evening and would not emerge until we arrived in Kingston where I was greeted by my two daughters who live there. I was worn out and my internal clock did not want to switch to Ontario time so we decided to forego lunch. I had a relaxed afternoon in the country, took a rather late nap before a delicious BBQ, a hazy double rainbow when going for an evening walk before crashing for the night. My body is older than my mind.

Death by chocolate

Flight: delayed 1 1/2 hours due to a weather system in Toronto. I later heard it was a potential storm. Everyone exhausted. This was a red eye flight, nothing was open for anyone in need of sustenance. There is a water fountain.

Trains: if anyone needs to go to downtown TO from the airport the UP train is wonderful and only $12.00. I believe the GO Train is even less expensive but I was already familiar with UP going to Union Station. This station remains in the throes of a major overhaul. I believe every trip I make I am given a different completion date. The most recent information I found is completion of Stage 2 in 2018. There are three stages. Official statement, “Union Station Great Hall and the VIA Departures is going through extensive renovations through multiple phases as part of the City of Toronto Revitalization Project.” That is putting it mildly. 

Via, GO & UP passengers are affected so it is adviseable to give yourself time. I slated in delays and was happy I had. It gave me about 1 1/2 hours to find some breakfast and coffee. No mean feat, when I say in the throes of construction I am not kidding. Stairs make finding your way around even more arduous. As I take a lot of trains in my travels I am grateful I stuck with a backpack. Cumbersome but easier to maneuver. 

 Via Rail to Kingston, window seat. Slept. Trains tend to lull this tired Beast.

Kingston Station is also going through a major overhaul. More stairs. I did manage to get a couple of tickets dealt with while there.

Expenses: 25.00 dinner (Evedar’s), 12.00 UP Train, 6.75 breakfast (turkey sausage, scrambled egg on pumpernickel bagel, coffee (Bagel Stop), 5.60 Flat White (Star Bucks), 23.28 cash portion of Via ticket for July 22nd (I had $40 in E vouchers)

Travelling with pain

I saw my physiatrist again. She thinks cortisone is unnecessary for the chronic pain I have in my left knee, and now my right knee. Seems that not rolling on the floor, crying to be put out of my misery, means I must be fine. In Canada we have an excellent medical system, however, there are ways for clinics to make money. Such as getting a market hold on all the needs of patients in one field – do that and the money comes rolling in from sales of all the extras. Also the fact so many medical personnel are under one roof churning through patients. I am of the opinion that there is too much pushing of expensive, not covered, devices over medication or other means of alleviating pain that are less costly. The other issue is that a number of practices are not covered by our medical system – depending on which province one lives in. 

Kinesiology was suggested by a friend of mine. Specifically the tape I have seen runners and other athletes use. I have less than three weeks to look into if visiting a kindsiologist is covered. I doubt the tape would be. My main interest is that tape is far less bulky than two braces. That being the suggested action I should take. I am weighing the pros and cons without having learned more about taping so thought I would ask around, here and elsewhere, if anyone else has had to deal with chronic pain and how they dealt with it.

How is it possible to travel on a motorcycle for ten days wearing one or two braces? Carry baggage without falling over?  Rush to catch a train/plane/bus because traffic was crazy. Or run away from polar bears? (It is unlikely I will encounter any this time of year but who knows) How to fit the things into an already tightly packed backpack to meet flight carry on specifications. Perhaps just keep taking NSAIDS and using one of many topical ointments. Except the latter would not be allowed in a carry on bag. Just how does anyone travel when in constant pain that only subsides when visiting the doctor!?

Abkhazi Garden: an oasis from a mad, mad world

Royalty in the ferns
Baby pinecones
Majestic trees share the one acre garden
Resident turtle. Down from two.
Installations of sculptures in various forms are new.
Rhododendron bushes are over 50 years old. If only I could look so beautiful as my age advances!
Calla lilies and driftwood by the pond.
Peonies, another flower to blend the East and West life of the original gardener.