“Oh Canada, our home and native land.” These were the first words I sung the first time I came to Canada. This second time in Edmonton, Alberta has been more enjoyable since I had more time to go to interesting places this summer. The weather here is not that much different from the Midwest in the United States back home. The weather fluctuates, but when the sun sets around eleven at night, an orange sherbet sky is painted outside my window. On clear days, it gets up to 28 degrees Celsius, and with the low humidity, this is nice strolling weather, making Edmonton a great summer vacation spot. Because of the dry heat, I’ve learned that you need to remember to stay hydrated through the day.
Overall, Edmonton is a wonderful place to vacation. It’s a big city and many points of interest are a short distance away. The public transportation system, which consists of buses and a light rail, is precise and clean. If given the choice between public transit and car, I would choose the public transit, especially since I don’t wish to deal with city traffic.
As for places to stay, I recommend Fantasyland Hotel inside West Edmonton Mall. The mall also has an indoor water park, amusement park, aquariums, sea lion shows, ice skating rink, and many shops from Tim Horton’s (the Canadian equivalent to Starbucks) to Forever XXI. If you are to go out and have a snack at the mall, you must go to New York Fries. They put many different things on fries, but something that is strictly Canadian, and is my new favorite snack, is poutine fries. If you like the idea of gravy poured over hot fries and melty cheese curds sprinkled on top, try poutine fries. This snack originated in Quebec and started like frenzy all over Canada. Canadians seem to really like fries by my observation, and think putting gravy on mashed potatoes is strange.
The most interesting place I went to this summer was Whyte Ave. On a beautiful day in Edmonton, outdoor shopping is a splendid past time. I took the convenient light rail transit down from Century Park Station to the the Health Sciences Jubilee Station. It is a short fifteen minute walk to the shops from the transit station.
That day, artists filled the sidewalks for an art walk. So while going to wonderful shops like Tin Box, Lush, and Fuss Cupcakes, I got to enjoy wonderful artwork all along the way. Many of the artists let me take pictures of them, but there was one whom I found to be different from the others. I knew from his posture and from his air that he had a face to remember and something the other artists didn’t seem to have; rustic originality. His, out of all the pictures I took, will be the one I remember most.
Overall, my trip to Edmonton this time around has felt more fulfilling than the first. There is so much to see, and being around long enough to see more made this trip an adventure. I gained an appreciation for this country that isn’t foreign to me any longer. Friendly and welcoming Canadians have erased any stereotypes that I may have had at the beginning of my travels. My experience here has been a fantastic one, and it has left me singing, “Oh Canada, our home and native land.”
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