May 17-21, 2012
by Pat Deal
Eleven of us were booked on three different flights to Burlington, Vermont, to attend the Volksmarch Convention in Ottawa. Nina and I were the lucky ones! Our flight was a t 8 a.m. The other nine were up bright and early, in order to catch the 6 a.m. flight. (Did they even sleep the night before?) By the time Nina and I arrived, four were waiting for us, so after a quick bagel and coffee, we were on our way. With good navigation and the help of Mapquest, we had no problems getting to Montreal, but somehow we missed a turn off and ended up 12 km out of our way??? We were hopelessly lost trying to find the Start Point, and lo and behold, right next to us was the other car- also hopelessly lost!!!
Eventually we found the Start Point, and enjoyed Montreal, allowing four hours for our 10 km walk. It is an old, and beautiful city. Some ate in the Chinatown area, and some of us had a delicious meal at a wonderful French Restaurant.
By 8, we were on our way, and without mishaps, we were at the Residents quarters at the Algonquin College in Ottawa, by 11 p.m. (I think we all slept well that night!)
We were up bright and early for a Continental breakfast at 6.30 a.m.
It was another beautiful day, and we had our choice of walks. Nina and I opted to walk the13 km walk. Public buses took us to the Start Walk, and we followed the bike trail all the way following the river back to the College. Even though it was 80 degrees, it was a delightful walk with a lovely breeze. the only wildlife we saw were hundreds of Canadian Geese. (I thought they had all moved to Maryland!) No wonder they are so prolific! They all had about 12 babies each!
That night was A Meet and Greet, and an opportunity to catch up with fellow walkers and acqaintances from all over the U S and Canada.
Another early start, and there were still long lines at the coffee machines!
This time our walk took us on the outskirts of Ottawa, again on the bike trails. Imagine having 450 people traipsing through your neighborhood!!
That afternoon, Nina and I opted to see Ottawa. Public transport is excellent, so we found our way to the center easily. It's an interesting city - blending the old and the new. We wandered throught he famous Bylaw market, sampled Beavers' Tails, (delicious!). the Art Gallery. Notre Dame, Parliament and Museums and lots of monuments!
That evening was a banquet with an interesting presentation by Walking Adventures.
[This was the hottest day - 92 degrees !! (Why did I pack a scarf and gloves??)] This was the hottest day - 92 degrees !! (Why did I pack a scarf and gloves??)
[(missing from photo are Claudette and Nilda)] (missing from photo are Claudette and Nilda)
This morning we were on shuttle buses that transported us to the Arboretum. It was called the Tulip walk, and even though, we had missed the peak for the tulips, we could still see what a magnificent sight it would have been!
Our two vans left at 5 a.m. for the long journey back! Breakfast was a maple syrup donut and coffee at Tim Horton's and we were on our way.
There was no holdup at the US border, Mapquest did not let us down and we were in Burlington, Vermont about 10. Another interesting walk along the river to begin with, and ending up in the town- even passing the spot where the original Ben and Jerry's once stood!
We had lunch en route and were finally back at the airport by 3.p.m.
It was an uneventful fight back to BWI- with so many good memories of a great convention!