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Inglewood

When it comes to weekends I like to keep them a blend of busy and relaxed. Sometimes planning activities or outings, other times they spontaneously happen and I go with the flow. Just enjoying the time and not wasting it.

This weekend, we went to the Inglewood bird sanctuary. Located beside Calgary’s oldest neighbourhood, it was a pleasure strolling round the 80 acres of land lying by the Bow River. Besides being a centre of monitoring bird migration, we came across Bambi and some very enthusiastic gophers who would fill the air with shrill squeaks. Here’s my day in snippets of pictures, just a few from the many, many taken.

The ever-vigilant ground squirrels (gophers) keep on high alert, running all over the place and bringing our presence to the attention of surrounding burrows.

We took a wrong turn and ended up at another wildlife reservation. Plenty of greenery but not much of anything else. Yep, that’s me on the right pondering, and for the record this is the first time I’ve worn shorts for the year. The average temperature for the week is 28°C, sizzling.

This structure had a Japanese feel to it, minus the lacquer it looked a whole lot more natural and was a great focal point for the photographs.

This might look some kind of idyllic, but trust me, mosquitos eating you alive isn’t fun. Time to move away from the still waters to something with a bit of movement.

The current was moving so fast and the babbling flow sounded musical above the silence of the sanctuary. On fine days Calgarians like to take rafts, kayaks and inflatable donuts to the Bow River and enjoy the ride down.

Then we sat still in the long grass, slowing moving forward toward Bambi. Thumper was nowhere to be seen, nor was Bambi’s mum – but we shouldn’t talk about that. We saw several deer on our expedition. I decided to edge closer but David said, ‘Don’t come running to me when it charges you and you get horrifically injured’. Hence writing this in one piece and not several.

I couldn’t resist this tree with its gnarled and twisted bark. If I was feeling poetic I might say it was contorted in agony. Maybe I’ll use that sometime. But it was an awesome looking tree, reminded me of the ones in mangrove swamps with their roots exposed. One photo taken was focused on the incredible root detail (thank you ridiculous number of megapixels) but this shows the tree hanging on rather bravely to the bank.

This is me dramatically walking into the unknown. Le Fin.

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Filed under Calgary, NABLOPOMO, Travel

Refold the Map

‘All of life is a journey which paths we take, what we look back on, and what we look forward to is up to us. We determine our destination, what kind of road we will take to get there and how happy we are when we get there’.

Day by day I notice little things that differentiate Calgary from places I’ve lived before.

For one, public transport. Calgary has a tram service, the C-train, which passes through the downtown core, 7th Avenue, bustling with energy, people and business deals. Projecting out into the NW, NE and SE of the city and supplemented by bus routes to go further afield.  I find it pretty easy to navigate my way around the city, want to go to the zoo? – you got it , the malls? – bingo!

The connectivity of the system is important as though I passed my driving test when I was 18 I haven’t touched a steering wheel since.

I was told by Calgarians and expat forums that the public transport was dire. I see their point as I notice the reliance on their cars. When the city become a snowglobe and you have to step out into subzero temperatures to make your way to a platform that might have suspended or disrupted winter services, you’ll be wishing you were nursing your Tim Horton’s vanilla latte at a stop light and pulling into your underground parking stall.  But right now I’m just happy to be able to get to where I need to be when I need to be there.

Fares are dirt cheap here, $2.75 for a 90-minute ticket that gives you access to all routes (bus or tram) within the time allowance. This harshly contrasts with the UK which is laughable, with the fares going up and up.

The only gripe I have with the public transport here is getting to other cities. I know it’s due to the vastness and spread of the cities and towns across Canada but I miss being able to hop on a train without a second thought and go to London for the day to see the museums, Nottingham to see a rock concert or York to see the more traditional ye olde England side of Britain. It’s great for visiting people and places, and means I’m not stuck in the confines of one place for too long. No one wants to be barricaded inside the city limits.

C-train in the shadows on 7th avenue. 10/05/2010

Pacific Railway train tracks going into the city. 10/05/2010

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Filed under Calgary, Canada