Walktober – St. Helen’s Island and Marie-Victorin Park

It’s October and that means it is time for Robin’s Walktober!  I had plans. Big plans. Was gonna go to St. Helen’s Island on one day (okay, that part I did, but not as much as I wanted to) and the next day was going to go to Mount Royal in Montreal (which didn’t happen because I was just too damn lazy to get up and out of the house early enough). So instead of crossing the bridge and half the island of Montreal to get to Mount Royal, Zeke and I just went to the next town over as there is a lovely area by the St. Lawrence River in the town of Longueuil, called Marie-Victorin Park, we enjoy walking along.

Actually, I am totally going to cheat here. Yep. Imma combine THREE walks, adding in Parc de la Frayère in Boucherville because I got some amazing shots that I want to share with you. And this walk did take place in October.  I do hope you don’t mind…

On October 5th, Zeke and I went to the Parc de la Frayère (which means spawning ground park) for a sunset walk. For once the stars were aligned, or rather, the sky was clear and I was able to take advantage of the golden hour followed by the sunset.

Yesss! We parked, went right to see if maybe, just maybe the heron was hanging about and he was. I did catch a little black duck but that photo is a tad dark as well.  So we turned around towards the little bridge when I spotted the moon between the trees

A half-pie slice of moon.  Crossing the bridge, we made our way towards the water’s edge and were rewarded by a woods tinged with gold.

Even Zeke took on a golden hue

The sun then put on a spectacular show and it was difficult to NOT inundate you with a bazillion pics…

Satisfied, Zeke and I climbed back into the car but I glimpsed a little marina on my return and had to stop. (Sorry, Zeke, you stay in the car for a minute or so…)

I couldn’t make up my mind on which one to share, so you get two.

October 8 was a Tuesday and the first of my two days off that week.  Into the car we went and off to St. Helen’s Island between the south shore and Montreal. There are so many things to see but we stayed within one little section.  It was a glorious day with the bluest of skies and brightest of colours all around.

Up the steps for a nice view.  I took this angle of the Tour de Lévis (built in the 1930’s, usually we have access to the steps inside bringing us to the top where we can have a spectacular view of Montreal and surroundings) but now gated shut for repairs

We walked along the lovely leaf-strewn trails (seriously? a construction cone? are there no construction-free zones in all of the province?) and then down a hill past this huge boulder. I loved how the moss draped over it.

We walked some more and whoa! I have been on this island countless times and have never ended up here. And if I did and don’t remember it then I must have been otherwise preoccupied. A little oasis in the middle of seemingly nowhere.

 

I let a friend know I was in his neighbourhood so we ended up going to his backyard to have a beer before heading home. The view from the communal backyard is lovely.

As mentioned at the start of this walk post, Wednesday was supposed to be a totally different walk but I hemmed and hawed and took my time – so much so that the idea of driving into Montreal no longer appealed to me. Plus the sky was not quite as blue so, I decided to go to another lovely park in the city of Longueuil. This is also along the St. Lawrence River so we had a chance of seeing geese, ducks or simply lovely trees.

The entrance of the park has this… thing. There are no signs and I have no clue what it is.

As I walked towards the official path, my eyes were drawn to this bright red…

And then the entrance to the park

There were a couple of ducks but the light was shite and they were far and I took ’em anyway. Thank goodness for PicMonkey to play with settings.

We walked along and I was struck the by colours… yellows, reds, sticking up out of nowhere.

We kept on walking and arrived at this easily walked into water… which Zeke, as per, did not hesitate to enter. Which is fine because I had arrived at a busy section with some sort of seagull (I think) and a heron.  While Zeke played in the water, he didn’t disturb the birds or me!

The seagull was busy fishing and every time he’d dive down to pick at a fish he’d caught, his wings would flap. I took so many photos but will not bore you with more than two 😉

And then Bob (for you, Mr. Paxson) was standing there waiting for me.  I took pictures as I got closer and closer with the intent – I know, I am mean – of hoping he would fly away and I could attempt to capture him in flight…. I got my desire.

I was pretty pleased with myself even though I felt a tad guilty.

There is a wonderful new overpass that has been rebuilt after an unfortunate accident – a dump truck with its dumper raised hit it and it smashed it.  My sons and I were on our way to the movies and never made it because we were stuck in the traffic it caused. I wrote about it here.

It is quite spectacular at night and I have promised myself to go there and cross it.  But till then, here is the view during the day.  It was built specifically for bicycles and pedestrians.  Zeke and I planned on going to  the top to see the view. Unfortunately, once we got to the second floor, the stairs were metal teeth-like things and poor Zeke tried the first four. I couldn’t let him go up so I told him to stay on the landing whilst I went up. I don’t usually get the willies but you can see through the stairs and my stomach did flip-flops. Since when am I such a wuss?

It was time to go home and the golden hour was arriving. Walking back I noticed there were crabapples and had I a sac, I would have filled it. (Thief that I am.)

I hope you enjoyed my walk and didn’t find it too long! I apologize. I got somewhat carried away.  Should you want to join in, the link is above on Robin’s name.

 

Steps – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #40

Good Thursday night… for twenty minutes, anyway!  I wasn’t sure I would participate in Crispina‘s challenge this week and then, I thought I would just supply a “reply photo” but then found two and couldn’t decide on which one to use and decided to use both, then thought: “I can’t just plop two photos!” So I thought I’d write a little story but then nothing came to me and, driving home from work, a haiku came to mind. Only to promptly disappear as I parked my car.  Sigh.  As I played with my pictures, other words came to mind so. Well. This is what you get!

Where do these steps go?

In the middle of no where

How can I resist?

Do I see a light?

This is an invitation

I cannot resist

More steps up ahead

A neverending journey

Makes life worth living

The Walls Have It!

Yesterday I “regaled” you with my evening at the Montreal Symphony House on Tuesday and promised you another post on all the wonderful graffiti/wall art I encountered on my walkabout before the show.

Today is the day, folks!  Now, I mentioned I had to let my inner Resa out because she is the Queen of Graffiti finds.  Just check out her site right here. The only bummer was that I was not prepared for such a ‘happening’, so to speak, so I had no camera, just my phone – which, it turned out, was not so bad after all.

I mentioned that I had spotted one mural yesterday that I had to go back to see once I parked my car, and on my way east along Ste-Catherine Street – I did say we can walk right in the middle of the street in this part of the island and they have removed the asphalt and replace with lovely, bricks? or tiles? Whatever…

Ste-Catherine Street

Bright colour caught my eye on my right and I felt compelled to go investigate. It is a street but feels more like an alleyway – plus, as you can see, this one is a certain kind of colourful 😉

As you can see the sun (yay! the sun!!) was shining in such a way that it was difficult to capture properly.  I kinda wish I had taken a few more but, one must be reasonable…

Stepping back onto Ste-Catherine Street, I realised I was right in front of Foufounes Électriques – or as we like to call it, Les Foufs (translation: Electric Buns (or Butt, or Tush or… you get it…). It’s a three-story bar/show venue.  The times I’ve gone there, the show going on upstairs was lots of noise being enjoyed by peeps in all manners of tatts and piercings and hair of every imaginary colour. Not trying to say I’m too old for the joint… but maybe I’ll just stay downstairs at the bar. Or in the courtyard.  I dunno know why I just took just a shot of the entrance to the courtyard and not more of it.  How I roll.  Don’t think, just do. Ah well. An excuse to go back, right?

I walk past Les Foufs and turn into the alleyway/street just east of the building, figuring I was getting closer to the aforementioned mural I wanted to capture.

Whoa.  Along Les Foufs east wall, I found this:

I turned around and the other building had this:

I keep walking and get to the back wall of Les Foufs… Jeez Louise…

And then, on the wall to the right, was this.

Is that a bright little neck of the woods, or what?

So, I end up at yesterday’s mural, take a few pics of which I shared that one yesterday and keep on walking. Well. Guess what? There was more!

Feeling properly satisfied with my discoveries, I continue to make my way back and discover this bedazzled by mosaic balcony… who does that?

Shake my head, grinning, turn the corner. And.

Wow. Can you believe all that art in less than one square mile?

I was practically skipping my way back to Ste-Catherine Street to find me some grub.

Our Hydro-Quebec is one of the sponsors of the “Quartier des Spectacles” (Entertainment or Performance Quarter) and has these whimsical statues, if you will, placed here and there. How fun (never mind just how much it costs me per month in hydro bills…)

Hydro-Quebec “Art”

I’m hoping I’ve not gone on too long this time and that you’ve enjoyed the joy I found on Tuesday.

 

 

Fields of Green – Crispina’s Creative Challenge

A lovely Thursday to you all! The sun is shining (finally) but it’s not overly warm. I’ll take it over rain any day! Crispina’s challenge draws me in so… a little poem between our images! Why not?

Far and away, over the fields of green

One could be treated to a lovely scene

Just follow along the flowers of white

A gaggle of geese before they take flight!

A Colourful Monday Walk

“The World is divided in to two, One is vibrant with colours and the other is drab and colourless..”
Biju Karakkonam, Nature and Wildlife Photographer

There are days where nature is most gracious in sharing her colours.  Monday was one of those days.  Strange, really, as the sun was not shining and the skies were mostly grey.  Or maybe it was just me.  Searching for and finding colour to brighten the day.

Though my full-time days at the golf course came to an end October 30th, I feel I’ve been running around doing stuff yet getting nothing done.  Back and forth to hospitals for Yvon, my mother’s spouse; notary, financial adviser and bank to finally settle my  mandatary duties for my mother-in-law (still not completely done, but close); readying the house for visits – all for naught – bloody thing is still not sold and that mandate is up in three days.  Next!!  Time to take the time for these walks of mine.

On Monday, Zeke and I decided to go for one of our long walks.  He kills me.  I cannot say the word “walk” without him getting excited.  He sees me pick up my camera bag and he loses it.  Before doing any of that, all I said was:  “Do you wanna?”  and this is the look I got:

Then I picked up my camera bag…

We decided to go way over to the other side.  The weather was pretty decent.  I didn’t need my snowpants nor my big mitts so happy days!

Crossing the pedestrian shortcut we came face to face with this fella.  You can tell there are snow enthusiasts who will do what they can to create their own Frosty!

We got to my favourite willow tree in de Normandie Park.  I know, I know.  I take its picture every single time I see it.  Can’t help it as I’m a tad obsessed.

Ya gotta admit it’s pretty spectacular, eh?  And look how colour-coordinated Zeke is!

We moved on towards the Parc des Coutances and I was struck by these trees.  One marcescent- not planning on losing any leaves this winter, one, that didn’t finish shedding theirs before the snows came and then the two different conifers.  Colours and textures.

“Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours; let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.”
Khalil Gibran

We moved on towards what I once called my dog park because way back before we lost Mick, I used to get up much earlier and would end up meeting up with the ladies and their dogs around 8:30 am.  Those days are gone!  Maybe I’ll get back into an early to bed, early to rise rhythm one day.  Just not yet.  Was amused to see the two seasons mixed together.  A carpet of leaves on a rug of snow.  Or is it the other way around?

On we went towards the Parc de Provence, leading to our secret (hey, I’ll call it secret if I want to!) woodland path.  Upon entering the path, I was struck by the white branches against the blue wall.  How strange!  I have been down this path many times and never did I see a pure white branch like these.

We kept walking towards the centre of the pathway and I, again, saw a series of colours.  One grouping after another

Cutting through, we returned to the Park des Provences from another entrance and there, again… an unexpected duo of colours

Back to Parc des Coutances and this time it was a pop of yellow that caught my eye.

The anemic sun that was, was slowly disappearing and I could feel a chill so we picked up the pace towards home.

“One should be a painter. As a writer, I feel the beauty, which is almost entirely colour, very subtle, very changeable, running over my pen, as if you poured a large jug of champagne over a hairpin.”
Virginia Woolf, The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume Six, 1936-1941

Before getting making it to Parc Marguerite-A.-Tellier and that much closer to home, the skies darkened.

No wonder I felt so cold suddenly.

Just before crossing the boulevard towards home, this pop of red shouted at me.  Another caught by the snow before it could lose it’s petals!

Zeke was quiet for the rest of the evening.  The boy was spent.  Maybe the walk was too long?  I’ll have to ease him in more gently.  The boy is now 9 and probably felt like I do when I overdo it!

Have a fabulous weekend!

 

 

Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Take Me In

I headed south, not north; was not running away from anything but towards; not planning to never return but stay for a few days… yet I still love this song and it resonates with me, so there.

Woodstock last July was a wonderful getaway so we decided to have another. Where to meet this time? Brooklyn became the number one choice and so it was booked. There were things on our list to do:  cross Brooklyn Bridge by foot, see Bohemian Rhapsody, eat authentic New York pizza pie, go out for a nice meal.  However, we didn’t have a firm schedule. Go with the flow is how we roll…

As I mentioned to David Kanigan, a little nod to his style (my favourites of his posts) is how I’m gonna go about this…

Heading south – Toll-Free on Taconic State Parkway

I set my car GPS to my destination AND my phone one too.  Because the one that comes with the car is a programme and not necessarily up to date – I know this cos I’ve taken Autoroute 30 West and when I hit the “new” part the highway, the GPS freaks out and thinks I’m in space…

As a result, I was amused when the two “argued” over which route to take, and I sided with the phone.  All good, the car one would recalculate. It kept trying to get me to change and I kept saying:  “Yo, give it up Car”.  Then I woke up. Shit!  I’ve driven to New York twice now and I had never taken this road… I dunno how but I had the “avoid tolls” button checked on the phone.  “Sonova…..” Taconic State Parkway is a lovely scenic route.  No use in being angry with myself at this point.  So I enjoyed the fact that the trees were still mighty colourful compared to back home and at my next gas stop, I texted my partner in crime to tell him I’d be later than planned…

It started to rain and finally, around 2:00 p.m., I was on the Brooklyn Bridge.  Woot!

(Shhhh I pointed and shot, hoping I’d catch something decent…was watching where I was going, not what I was shooting…)

We could not have access to our Airbnb until 5 pm instead of 3 (seriously??) so we looked for a place to have a late lunch.  Well, not true.  We didn’t look.  Said partner had had loads of time to scope out the area and we ended up in some nameless joint for forgettable chicken empañadas and shared a sorta Cuban sandwich we didn’t order.  No matter!  Groceries, parking, schlepping and settling in and a joint effort towards nachos, salsa and brewskies were on the menu.

Riding the Subway Trains R and A – Eventually Make it to Brooklyn Bridge

A late breakfast of coffee, bagels and frittata we made our way to the subway.  Before leaving, we did Google Map how to get there.  Problem is, neither of us is familiar with the subway system and while we consider ourselves relatively intelligent peeps, could not figure out exactly where to go.  So we asked a teller at the station.  Thought we got it straight.   Hopped onto the R train and realised we were going the wrong way!  Buddy could have told us to go on the other side to take it, no? Got off, hopped over to the other side and then continued on.  Then got off at the stop we were told to.  Could not see any connection to the A train.  Back to a teller who told us to go back on R, do two more stops and hop onto the A train and get off after three stops.  Sheesh.  Good thing we can laugh at ourselves… I was thinking, what would DK write? 🙂

Random Subway Station

Of course, they had called for rain.  But no matter.  We were going anyway. There is something about fall colours popping when the skies are grey.

There is something special about this bridge.  You see it in pictures, in countless movies and TV shows but it was still a thrill to walk it.  And I think I’ll do it again and again!  I must admit I fell in love with the Manhattan Bridge as well and am promising myself that on my next visit to New York, I shall try to get better pictures of both bridges!

It was later than we thought so we skipped the movie and opted for a small pie at Grimaldi’s Under the Brooklyn Bridge.  It was a short walk away and boy was it worth it!  We decided to get a small plain pie as we were planning on my chicken parm for dinner.  It was rather late.  Don’t ask me why… I forgot to take a picture of the pizza!!  The waiter delivered it and – in heavy Brooklyn accent, please, said:  “Sorry, I made a mistake and you got a large instead…”  We forced ourselves NOT to eat the last two slices.  But we coulda… easily.

Leftovers packed away and most generously given to me, we made our way to the subway and back “home” like a couple of pros who knew where they were going!

A Date with Freddie and a Steak in Coney Island

Wednesday brought beautiful blue skies and warmer weather.  So, of course, we decided to go to an afternoon viewing of Bohemian Rhapsody!  A shortish drive brought us to Cobble Hill Theater to enjoy this fabulous movie.  It doesn’t matter that timelines were played with and certain events were fudged.  Rami Malek inhabited Freddie Mercury’s spirit and a shy bravado that no one else could have mastered.  Everyone has been talking about Rami looking so much like Freddie…. Did anyone not notice how Gwilym Lee is the spitting image of Brian May?  Holy smokes…  (Roger Talyor, played by Ben Hardy and John Deacon, played by Joseph Mazzello were no slouches, either…)

Dinner was a most delicious steak on Coney Island at the lovely Atlas Steakhouse.

Time to go – But First, A Walk

All good things must come to an end and we had to leave the Airbnb by noon.  After a good breakfast using up all the leftovers we had, we packed up our cars and went for one last walk.  Down 52nd Street to 1st and then right towards about 40th, give or take (I wanna say direction North but frankly, my sense of direction there was zero).   We were hoping to find access to the water’s edge for some nice pics of Manhattan.  A bunch of warehouses of all sorts and no access.  We did go down towards the “Bush Terminal Piers Park” (have no clue what they do) and was able to take these pics.

We turned around and walked past 52nd towards 58th and discovered the Sunset Park/Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier.  Score!

Walking back to our cars, I had to snap a couple of streets.  I love the look of Brooklyn.  It actually has a similar feel to our Plateau Mont Royal area with the staircases.  Not the same as ours go up to second and third floors but still.

Driving on I-87 North – Homeward Bound

Now it was truly time to say good-bye and wish each other a safe trip home.  Set that GPS for home and oh my GAWD… It took me one and a half hours to get from 52nd street to and over the Brooklyn Bridge, to and over the George Washington Bridge!

Traffic not moving. Cool church

However, as soon as I hit the I-97 North, it was relatively smooth sailing.  Must say New Yorkers like to drive fast – and I have zero problems setting my cruise control to 130 km/hr (80 mph) to keep up!

Things were going great till I hit that dead zone in the Adirondacks where no radio stations come in.  Reminder again that my iPad was left on my bed!  Aaargh.  It’s 7:00 pm and I’ve got one station that is scratchy.  I press search and the numbers go all the way ’round.  Ain’t nothing coming in.  Turn off the radio.  Try again fifteen minutes later.  Same thing.  Try periodically.  Get some gospel station.  I ain’t that desperate.   Try again.  Talk, talk, talk, Trump, talk.  Ugh.  I’m not old enough to be into that stuff.  Try again.  Get some talk radio where a son and his mother are talking to the host, about the process of being transgender and how everyone deals with it.  Nope.

Signs for Whiteface Mountain but construction.  Ugh.  Down to 50 mph.  Good grief!  Spot a motorcycle ahead of me.  It’s 6 degrees Celsius! (43ºF)  The guy is wearing army-style pants, boots and a jacket.  His face is red from the cold as he has nothing protecting it and is holding the bike with one hand while the other is tucked into himself… I feel for the poor bugger.  I imagine he is riding a motorcycle at this time of the year because he has no other option.  Or he’s an idiot.

Sign says Montreal 98 miles.  Woot!  Try the radio again and I get Delilah!  Oh my goodness!   She is still on the air?  Not listening to her but now have options.  Get to the border around 8 pm-ish, sail on through and am home by 9.

Unpacked the car and was very pleased to see my gift had remained undamaged…

 

Woodstock – Fare Thee Well – You Rocked Us

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Last one in my little Woodstock series… Time to wrap it up and move on to the next adventure… Since I didn’t really share any pictures of the official town of Woodstock, I thought I would here as a fare thee well…

Thursday morning came way too soon.  The end of our little getaway-from-reality-and-live-in-the-moment escape was almost over.

We – okay, I – made one last breakfast using whatever leftovers from our little grocery expeditions:  smoked turkey, peppers, cheese, bread, and made a variation of a high-end grilled cheese.  B, of course, had a couple extra crêpes as well.  Any leftovers were going home with him and since I had made a ridiculous quantity, he was sure to have himself another breakfast back home; and, if his daughter was lucky, she might have some too!  (I did learn later that he did share…the pancakes but not the garden vodka!)

We had to pack up and be out of the Airbnb by 11 am so, after breakfast and a shower, we packed up and loaded our cars.  Then, loathe to part so soon, we took one last drive into the town proper, parked the car and strolled, while we chatted and I snapped pics.  We marvelled at how easy our three days had been.  We had become friends on line and our three days together just solidified that friendship.  We had found our beat and went with it.  A suggestion here, an idea there and we were in total cahoots. So very glad I can never say I shoulda, coulda, woulda.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

The town really does have a nice artsy vibe to it and shows how it has been, not just a hippie town (though, of course, it still is) but a town that welcomes artists of all kinds.  They still hold various festivals to this day.

You have the requisite head shops because, you know, Woodstock!

And there are lovely homes and buildings of all sorts.

As well as really funky joints and places to sit.

Though this sign explained the reason for the sad state of the flag, it was the car that drew me.  I had the feeling the car has been there as long as the flag has in memory of 9/11.

One last one before I go…  A lovely stream goes through part of the town, so I had to capture it.

There was still much to see but no more time to do so.  B drove us back to my car, we hugged and kissed and went our separate ways, basking in the memories we created.

“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye…until we meet again”
Jimi Hendrix

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3