Yesterday was a stunningly beautiful day. Warm, blindingly sunny but with enough of a cooling breeze to keep comfortable. After a rather rough week mentally and emotionally I couldn’t stay inside and in the afternoon I set off on my bike to see as many of the tulips as I could before the festival was over.
All the roads around Confederation Park were packed, and I was glad to be biking and well out of the traffic. The Park itself was full of people: families with children, couples hand-in-hand and groups of friends out for a picnic. It was fun to watch all the different people, but I mostly stayed away from the flower beds. The Park is near Carleton’s campus, and I had seen most of those tulips the weekend before, when it was less busy. Instead, I followed the north side canal path all the way to downtown, stopping along the way to photograph particularly stunning flowers. There were much fewer people once I left Confederation Park and I took my time, enjoying the sun.
I biked up through downtown Ottawa, then to Major’s Hill Park and across Alexandria Bridge to Jacques-Cartier Park, where I took the last 3 photos above. That park was much quieter and had a spectacular bed of yellow and red tulips, my favourite. I biked along the river in Gatineau for awhile, then crossed back over to the Ottawa side, along the river to the O-train and down the O-train path back to Confederation Park. There I finally stopped at a food truck for something to eat, and a little rest – I was more than a little saddle-sore! I wandered around the Park a little and then headed home just before it got dark. It was probably about 25 km all told, including all the various detours I made. That is the most I have biked in a very long time, but I went at a fairly slow pace so I was only tired when I got home, not exhausted. It was a fantastic way to enjoy the Tulip Festival, and reinforced to me how much I love living in a bike-friendly city like Ottawa. I can’t think of a better way to get around on such a lovely summer’s day.