Wondering in Winnipeg
Trip Start Jun 01, 2002
74Trip End Sep 11, 2007
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Me: Australia - but you have a great country and Winnipeg seems pretty nice.
BT: Not a bad town at all, so have you been to the Forks Market?
Me: Umm Yep
BT: What about Osborne Village?
Me: Yep just came from there...
BT: Well you have done Winnipeg time to move on...
Well that is how it would have been if it was not for a super duper tour guide I had to show me the in's and out's of downtown Winnipeg. During the course of my travel research (I work as a project planner - it had to be done), I was flooded with information about certain places in Canada - one paritucular person (Andrea) offered to show me around Winnipeg if I passed through
So after 24 hours on a train (was not too bad) and seeing some amazing scenery I pull into a place known as Winnipeg! Let me try and explain what I was expecting and my short impressions.
It has tall buildings... was my first thought, I was actually expecting something from a John Wayne movie with Indians and Cowboys running around and people trading fur.... It is set in the midle of priaries which is just argicultral farming area so what do you expect. The place has tempatures ranging from minus 45 degrees (Celcius) right up to plus 45 degrees in the summer (and people chose to live like this). And here is the best thing Neil Young actually lived in this place and wrote a song about a street corner (Portage and Main) being minus 15 below.. so you can imagine what I was thinking!!
Walking down the main street towards my hostel I am looked at like a weirdo (no comments), it is like they have not seen a backpacker before (or such a great looking Aussie.;-) - Drop my gear into the hostel and touch base with Andrea and organise to catch up for beers and nachos (ok maybe this town is not too bad....)
But alas, Andrea did come to the rescue and with the advantage of a car, she drives me around the place and floods me with information about the town and surronding areas at 100 facts a minute - very impressed with local knowledge!!. We head through the downtown area and even through the corner where Neil wrote the song (it was not minus 15 though) and head to a place called St Boniface. This is known as the French quarter of Winnipeg and Andrea's way of giving me an introduction of French Culture is to sit in a French Cafe drinking coffee for 3 hours talking to some of her friends... more Winnipeg culture -an opportunity to cook up some food and taste some of local Winnipeg beers... not bad decision at all!
Next Day - mild hangover an on the road again! This time a day trip, yes a trip out of the town and heading north. The car full of local Canadian tunes (Tragically Hip, 54/40 and of course Mr Neil Young). Yes we are off to where - but a beach.... yes square in the middle of 7000km from east to west of Canada there is a freshwater beach (including sand)- GIMILI
Yes this is the same beach that they skate on in the winter. I choose to read each piece of critical information about the area and to be honest am quite impressed, chat to some locals and run some film off (had to have proof of the beach/lake). For the people at home - it had a hint of Sorrento but could not find a better camping site than the local Easter residence!
Burger and fries at a cafe over looking the beach, minus the crashing waves and absoultey no sign of Pamela Anderson (Baywatch style). After lunch we are off with Neil Young blarring through the speakers... the odd stop here and there for me to take a shot of the "Priaries" - lots of sky and lots of farmland as far as the eye can see!
Dropped off back at the hostel for a late afternoon snooze preparing for the Big Night out! A decision to head up to the local shops allows me to witness the local Winnipeg Police (would they be known as Penguin Police) kick down the door of some guys house and arrest him as he tries to escape (I assume he tried to steal some farming equipment ;-).
Catch up with Andrea and Co for dinner (some of the greatest sushi around) and some of the best made up cocktails I have tasted for a long time. I of course introduce some quality Australian Wine . And here is the best thing - we head to a Reggae club. Now that was a funny night. A few sore heads!!
Next day - worse hang over than previous day. Nothing like a greasy breakfast and the thought of a 40+ hour train trip coming up to clear the mind. Farewells are made and a big thanks to Andrea and Co for making the time and effort to showin me the "other side" of Winnipeg - seriously thanks! ;-)
With buses running every 2 hours on a Sunday I am informed, a decision to walk to the train station was in order. Seemed to cut it a bit fine and make it there with 5 mins before departure. If I missed the train - there would be another one in 3 days - 3 more days in Winnipeg and I would be deemed a local and might have to experience minus 45 (no THANKS).
So there you have it - on the train heading to Montreal via Torronto...
Until next time