Brockville – between 1000 islands and the big city [Across Canada – part 14: 08.-15.05.2018]

Brockville, Ontario, isn’t exactly a town you have on your must list (yet) when traveling across Canada. The scenic route which takes you along the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands from Kingston to Brockville is one way to end up here where you can enjoy the busy little town and its cultural activities for a weekend before moving on, maybe to Ottawa or Montréal.

I am here for the second time now because I have met this lovely Canadian couple on my last day of walking the Camino de Santiago 2 years ago and we had spent spectacular days together in Santiago. In October 2016 I had spent a wonderfully golden autumn week with them here and an additional canoeing and camping trip to the Algonquin Park. This time I couldn’t finish a coast to coast trip through Canada without coming here. And, well, the view from their deck might add a bit.

Brockville Adventures

It’s fascinating to walk through the old railway tunnel. The oldest railway tunnel in Canada as I learn later from Pat. Water is dripping from the sides, flowing down the walls where it has left beautiful mineral shapes in 150 years. It’s supposed to drop and flow so there won’t be too much water pressure on the tunnel construction. It also leaves the heat outside and I have to shiver a bit. There’s a continuous light and music installation throughout the tunnel, sometimes changing colors and flow matching the music they play and which will only stop to let a train “pass”. I think I must have spent 20 minutes in the tunnel fascinated about the work and art they put in here. I warm up afterwards with a nice coffee in the rockabilly Spitfire Café which is a perfect spot to wait for Pat to pick me up again.

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I can’t remember the last time since I left Frankfurt that days have been filled so constantly with good and also healthy food. Pat prepares delicious meals from big salads with avocado, capers, dates, walnuts and salmon to buckwheat pancakes with fresh strawberries to “better world burgers”. I’m happy to take ideas for combining ingredients back home and mastered the “massage the oil gently into the kale” task how the cook book literally asked for when Dan and I were allowed to take over the kitchen for dinner.

New ideas for cooking with sirtfood is not the only new thing I tried. Painting with alcohol inks was another item that made it into my list. When Pat told me about this way of painting which she started to try a bit ago I was immediately fascinated. After she retired Pat started spending more time with what she always wanted to do: painting. When I see her pictures made with watercolors or alcohol inks I can’t believe she’s been doing this only for two years. And not at all full time but just for a couple of hours every week as both Pat and Dan still have a full schedule.

So we sat down on two afternoons and while Pat worked on pictures for an upcoming local artists’ display I tried and played with colors, flows and manipulating everything anew with a drop of alcohol. I learned to resist the urge to just wipe everything when I wasn’t happy with it but kept on working with the colors. “You have to take your first two tiles back home so you can see your improvement,” Dan told me when I looked skeptically at my pictures. Well, as this is my second last stop I might do so as the extra weight won’t bother me long.

A weekend around Toronto

A bachelor party golf tournament in Toronto and Mother’s Day brought us a weekend trip to Missisauga with Glenn and Gwen and a delicious barbecue – „I use the bbq 52 weeks of 52 weeks a year.“ -, a hike to the Hilton Falls with Glenn on Saturday and one or another glasses of wine in the evenings with small talks about The Outlander Saga – “The Scottish porn” – and the upcoming royal wedding. I also finally found in Gwen a partner in crime with the same food routine – breakfast, second breakfast and taking food on the road for in betweens lunch and dinner – and basically same components – like porridge, fruit, Skyr yogurt, protein bars etc.

It was a fast weekend and I felt a bit sorry for not having the chance to talk to Gwen a bit more when we said our goodbyes on Sunday morning and I packed two more protein bars into my bag that she gave me for the road – “just in case” – with a smile in her eyes.

Sunday was all about picking up their son Petar and girlfriend from their apartment in an old foundry – I need to find a place like this back home -, grabbing some Mother’s Day brunch from the supermarket – sushi and sandwiches – and munching it on the way to Caroline’s racing horses farm to meet with more family and enjoy a sunny Sunday with three family generations in a beautiful green and open place.

A goodbye for now

The last days at Brockville pass by way too fast again with hiking and painting and I don’t really wanna say goodbye to these two wonderful souls. But I also know I will be back not too far ahead in future – or maybe they’ll make a stopover to Germany before? Who knows. Until then Buen Camino, my dear friends.

To whom it may concern:

The last time I stood on this deck I remember like it was yesterday. It was October, 2016, and I had just received a couple of irritating text messages from you. I think I knew back then in that moment that I would lose you once I was back. I was frustrated, frightened, helpless. And I had to leave this beautiful place with the uncertainty inside just to find out back home that it was like I had imagined and I had to walk on alone.

It’s 1 1/2 years later. I’m standing on this deck again filled with an echo from that moment. Everything is different now. And better now. Once we finally talked about what happened and I started into a whole new adventure. I’m grateful for what we shared. And I hope you are happier now.


  1. Such a touching commentary on your all too brief visit with us! Boy, we covered a lot of ground! According to friends and family, you are officially a member of our family! We look forward to many more visits both here and abroad!

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