Well, yesterday got away from me there a little bit. Have you ever spent hours trying to computer software to work, only to end up with nothing to show for it? That was my Friday afternoon.
Thursday, however, I had a much better evening. I managed to get out on the canal just as the sun was starting to set. I skated from one end of the Skateway to the other (except the loop in Dow’s Lake) and got to the downtown end just as all the light was disappearing from the sky. It was just cold enough to keep the ice smooth, but not too cold to enjoy the evening. And there was no wind to speak of; a perfect Ottawa winter evening.
After skating I wandered around downtown a bit, then made my way over to the Byward Market, and stopped at my favourite tea shop to stock up and warm up. I actually got a little overheated while skating but once I was walking the cold caught up with me, so I was happy to sit over a steaming mug of tea for a while. Wandering around alone a familiar city is one of my favourite things; the bustle of people around you contrasts nicely with the quiet inside. You just drink in the sights of the beautiful buildings and the variety in the crowd, and feel confident in your ability to navigate and find your way home. I’ve gotten to know a select few cities over the years, and it is wonderful to discover Ottawa in this way.
I did return home eventually, by bus this time. The canal is not very well lit at night and the maintenance work that is done after dark involves some large vehicles; not exactly a skater-friendly environment. Next time I skate the length of the Skateway I’m going to try for a daytime excursion so I can return by skate as well. It is a fantastic way to travel.