Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Manitoba and Saskatchewan are two provinces in the middle of Canada that you need to cross if you want to advance further in your travels towards the more spectacular Alberta and British Colombia.
They are both characterized by flat land, thousands of miles of prairies, very good land for agriculture and cattle farming. Saskatchewan province is also known to have considerable oil and gas resources.The land is literally endless plains that reminded us of south Brazil’s pampas, the place where JP is coming from.
Because of its straight line highway the road seems limitless.For me it was a perfect moment for reading and catching up with my writing.
After hours and hours of driving in hot temperature we finally arrived in Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba province.
Winnipeg is not Quebec City, nor Ottawa. Winnipeg is completely different of what we have seen so far in Canada. Maybe it’s not that shiny and beautiful as the other cities in terms of architecture, but it has its charm in the multicultural people that populate it, being a center for education and an advocate of human rights.
We parked near the city center so we could have access on foot to the most important attractions of the city which we were ready to explore.
First we started to explore the bar next door as we were so hungry and thirsty for a Saturday evening. After we had our well deserved treat, we continued walking through the city and very soon we were in the middle of a live concert that would celebrate the beginning of the popular “Canada Games”.
It was really lovely. People were nice and vibrant, the atmosphere was friendly and happy.
The 30th of August 2017 was one of the toughest nights of all with the heat we had to endure. It was so hot outside and inside the truck. We slept with the windows opened, the ventilator full on next to our head and because we were in the heart of the city we could hear all the noises of the traffic, including the train passing. I was rolling all night from one side to another. All I was waiting for was, the morning.
We started the day taking advantage of the park that was just next to us and went for a run.
We visited The Fork National Historic Site where the Red and Assiniboine rivers have been a strategic location for indigenous people that gathered here 6000 years ago.
Winnipeg, amongst other Canadian big cities celebrates and commemorates its first nations and has dedicated museums where you can learn more about their culture and traditions.In the central areas of the city you can often see statues of first nations people and symbols of their culture.
Winnipeg is an advocate for human rights and the Museum for Human Rights is one of the most beautiful and eye-catching buildings you will see in Winnipeg. It is just in front of The Forks.
The statue of Mahatma Gandhi stays at the forefront of it and it’s quite an expressive symbol of what Winnipeg stands for and promotes: dialogue, diversity, freedom and change for a better world. This was inspiring.
On our way through the park we saw as well the beautiful Legislative building and garden.
At this point in the geography of Canada we are half way through the country and still lots of ground to cover until Alaska. So, we decided to continue our journey another 500 km to Regina, the capital of the next province, Saskatchewan.
The road was long and the same flat. The difference in landscape from Ontario changed dramatically. From the high hills, mountains, pine forests and hundreds of lakes, here you could see a vast land of prairies, which was beautiful in a different way.
As we were driving and driving and driving one of the landscape entertainment was the Canadian Pacific rail which impressed us with its scale.The trains seem to be much longer than anything we’ve seen in Europe, they have as well double containers, one on top of the other. This goes in line with the size of the country and its vast resources, it shows the dimensions of its commerce, logistics and transportation sector.
We arrived in Regina after hours driving the prairies.I was expecting a similar sleeping scenario as in Winnipeg, noisy.To my surprise we got a free spot in the middle of Wascana Center Park which is considered one of the things “must do” in Regina.
We did a little recognition tour of the park and than we started to cook, starving from the long drive. Our baked ham with onion and mushrooms was smelling throughout the park, but we stoped being bothered with what people may say or think because we realized and understood that the road and often parking in unknown places is our life now and we need to start behaving familiar with it.
So we decided to feel like home, acted like home and very soon I thought that park was mine. After we had dinner I took a book and went to read by the lake and watched the orange sunset reflecting its shine on the beautiful lake. People were kayaking, canoeing Dragon boats, running, walking and dating. Such a beautiful and relaxing scene.
In the evening we had two ladies knock-knocking at our door. They were simply curious who are we and where are we coming from. This happened often throughout the trip. Something we started to get used to. We are almost like public persons. People stop us everywhere and in any situation to ask us about the truck, where is it from, where are we from, where are we traveling and how is it on the road.Sometimes is a great way to talk to other people, sometimes you just want to do your groceries. You always need to find the will and smile to answer politely about any curiosity.
The curious knock-knockers to our door were coincidently Romanian descents for two generations in Canada. One of the ladies started to talk fractions of Romanian words and names. It was so funny to see a Romanian descendent, that is actually more Canadian than anything else.
We treated them like proper guests and served them with the Romanian homemade plumb berry distilled by my grandma. They loved it! It was fun.