Thursday, January 17, 2013

Country Walk In the City

I am lucky enough to live in a city with a mountain in the centre of it. I'm also lucky enough to live close enough to be able to walk to the entrance of the 200 hectare park that surrounds this mountain. Within minutes, of climbing the stone steps up the road, I'm surrounded by trees and birds and I can almost forget I'm in the middle of a busy city. It's remarkable.

This park was designed by the same architect who designed Central Park in NYC, and it's been a park since 1876. There are monuments and sculptures, you can picnic or cross country ski, depending on the time of year. You can pretty much get to the park from any street downtown. Just start walking uphill!

I took these photos last November, just before the big snow.

 Yes, that is a hand knit sweater on my dog. No, I did not knit it myself. Yes, he needs to wear it. No, I am not embarrassed to walk a dog in a sweater. Yes, I am lying about not being embarrassed. What's worse is that he now needs boots to handle the salt on the sidewalks. What's next, a bonnet?
 I live at the bottom of this hill. Yes, I walked all the way up this hill to get to these steps.
 Stairway to heaven.
 One minute you're dodging cars (and believe me, in Montreal, you literally dodge cars. Pedestrians are seen as some kind of Hunger Games tryout)
 And the next minute, you're walking on fields of green. See the top of St. Joseph's Oratory in the distance? It's on the west slope of the mountain.

Beaver Lake was built in the 50s. In the summer it's a pond, and every winter there's skating except for this year because it's undergoing a major renovation. Otherwise I'd be skating there every day. Or thinking about skating there occasionally, or maybe watching other people skate while I sip something warm from a flask. But at least I would have the option.

Now you know why I always carry seeds in my pocket.  Chickadees are the Golden Retrievers of the bird world.
 Then you come to Mont Royal summit.
 And you are rewarded with this view.
 And then we come home and do this.
 

This is a video I took which shows you what the summit looks like in the fall. I suggest you turn down the volume unless you want to hear the guy hocking a loogie right next to me. I mean, seriously Mr. Fancy Pants jogger? You had to do that right beside me while I'm filming?

Now, if you're wondering what the same park looks like this in the winter, check out this video of Seb Toots as he snowboards in this park, sometimes on the same paths I walked. Unbelievable. Maybe I'll try this next time.

Seb Toots Montreal snowboarding run from Seb Toots on Vimeo.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Video of 100,000 Stars

An interactive exploration of the Milky Way.

If you'd rather, you can just sit back and watch the video without doing anything.

Just prepare to be amazed.

Or at the very least, to have your fancy tickled vigorously.