Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TransCanada Trail: Walking the TransCanada Trail, Winnipeg

Distance : 85 kms

TransCanada Trail - Winnipeg
In anticipation of my trip to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in October, Sharm and I have decided to walk the TransCanada Trail in Winnipeg. The total distance is about 85 kilometres. I would encourage you to read about the trail which is the longest such trail in the world (24,000 kms.) yes, that's twenty four thousand kilometres! 

We hope to start at the end of May and do about 10kms once every weekend until it's covered. I'm looking forward to the walks with Sharm. We plan to go every Sunday morning starting at 8 or 8:30 and depending on how fast we walk, we should be done in under 2 hours. Usually when I train for half marathons, I am timing myself but in this case, I am less concerned with time and more concerned with endurance.

Most of you know that Winnipeg is pretty flat so there won't be any hill training but some of the trails are covered with gravel or wood chips and some of the surfaces may be uneven. That will allow me to get used to using my walking poles and hiking boots and to gauge when I will feel fatigued. At some point, I will also wear a backpack packed with the appropriate amount of weight that I will be expected to carry while I am on the mountain. That should be about 15 pounds including water.

Barring any weekend plans that get in the way, we should be done by the end of July or early August.  Follow us each week to see how far we've walked. You are welcome to join us and if you can't do it in person, join us in your city/town but be sure to let me know.

Happy (walking) Trails

Monday, May 20, 2013

USA: Washington, DC

Sunita and I spent the whole day yesterday walking up and down the National Mall and a few Smithsonian  museums. By the time we were done, we had walked over 17 kilometres. How did I know? I was wearing my Fitbit pedometer and I felt rather proud of myself. Today I went to the Arlington cemetery thinking that I would do a quick walk through and then walk my way to the Pentagon but one of the guards at the cemetery said I would not be able to walk from there to the cemetery because there was an unwalkable highway in between. Later in the afternoon, I met Sunita at the US Capitol. It is quite an impressive building from the outside so of course we wanted to see the inside.
We wanted to go for the last tour which left at 3:30 but by the time we got past security at the main door, it was closer to 3:45pm. We stood there grumbling that we couldn't do the tour. A man standing near us overheard what we were saying and asked what our trouble was. We said we missed the tour and if we could only see the rotunda, we'd be happy. We were about to ask him for directions because he had on a museum uniform when he conspiratorially told us to follow him. He got us each a tour pass ...
and took us on a private tour of the places we wanted to see. His name was Brian and he was quite excited to explain the many features of the rotunda, the original House of Representatives, the two each statues from each state and the paintings and architecture of the rooms we visited. Some of it was quite spectacular.



We saw a beautiful picture of Pocahontas:

And a statue of Rosa Parks - sitting of course!

Columbus' arrival in the New World:

A statue of Ronald Reagan

one of Martim Luther King (I didn't think it was an accurate likeness)

and a plaque for in honour of the people on the plane on September 11, 2001 who stopped the suicide plane from hitting the US Capitol. Brian was a bit sad that the plaque was somewhat hidden and could easily be overlooked. 

Brian was such a wonderful guide that if anyone at the US Capitol ever reads this, you should realize that you have a gem in him.

We went back to Alexandria for dinner and another good night's sleep. I will be going to Bayney's place in Bethesda for lunch tomorrow and then it's back to Winnipeg in the afternoon. It's been a good trip. It'll be home for another couple of days before heading off to Winkler Manitoba to teach my first course in there.
Ohhhh, I would be remiss if I did not mention the superb Greek restaurant we ate at last night in Alexandria. We were tired as heck but we had been eyeing that restaurant since Friday night when we went for a short walk after we arrived at the hotel. And Taverna Cretekou did not diappoint. The restaurant can look quite non-descript from the outside, but when we went in, we asked for a seat in the courtyard and it was quite beautiful. Our server was from Egypt but he took some pleasure in telling us he was from Alexandria, Egypt and he has been working at this same restaurant in Alexandria, VA since 1979. The food was as great as anything I ate in Greece and every meal there was excellent. Everything was fantastic and I mean everything., down to the superb bread and premium quality olive oil infused with pesto. I usually don't like baclava but theirs was crunchy and just sweet enough to make it delectable. I wish I had more time to go a second time.
You know what this means. I'll have to go back to Alexandria - if only for the Greek food at Cretekou. If you are in that vininity, you have to check out the restaurant and you'll be as delighted as we were.  Sunita says that she'll go back after I leave - maybe on Wednesday.