The last time I’d travelled alone was over 25 years ago when I’d taken a plane to Toronto on a business trip. My last train adventure was in 1962 when I’d gone to Montreal. I looked forward to the trip but wondered about my transportation there and back.
The first leg of the journey was by train from the Fallowfield Station in Barrhaven, a suburb of Ottawa, to Kingston. I expected to hear the clickety-klack of the track as in the old movies and was surprised at the steady soothing hum of wheels rolling on metal bars. The seat was comfortable, I had plenty of leg room and the view of farm fields and bushes made me relax. Alone in my row, I placed my carry-on in the empty seat next to me and made myself comfortable. I loved every minute of it.
I disembarked at Kingston where I was met by my best friend Lorie. By car we headed for Toronto. On the 401, the great conversation with someone I hadn’t seen for a while made the kilometres whiz by. As we headed towards the Don Valley Parkway, the highways increasing to 4 lanes, then 6 and on. All these zooming cars made me nervous. The amount of traffic is the reason my husband and I never drive to Toronto unless absolutely necessary. I was glad when we parked the car in her driveway.
For the few days I was in Toronto our main means of transportation was on foot. Lorie walked everywhere. Since I instruct aqua exercises 3 times a week, I thought I was in good shape. Obviously walking at her speed is a lot more of an aerobic exercises than what I do. I had to up my stamina to keep up with her.
With my wish to go to the Eaton Centre and see the shops on Younge Street Lorie, who hates to drive downtown, decided we’d take the bus and subway. This suited me fine as we didn’t have to worry about parking, gas consumption and the subway ride reminded me of the Budapest (Metro). Like any other town if you know which bus to take it’s no problem. Taking the subway is even easier. If I knew my stops I could do this on my own.
The return trip to Ottawa by bus was not that pleasant. Especially since it arrived at the pickup stop half an hour late. By the time I boarded, there were few seat choices. Sitting next to the aisle, one seat from the back, I was right next to the toilet. The seat was uncomfortable and I couldn’t see where we were going. The young man sitting next to me never said a word and spent the entire journey playing games on his computer.
I managed to have a cat-nap, I started to read the James Patterson book ‘ Violets are Blue’, I struggled to get connected on my iPad and gave up, I went back to read my book, had another nap, read some more, tried to figure out where we were, went back to reading. With a 20 minute stop at an AnRoute rest stop right before we reached Kingston, I was pleased that I’d brought my own supper. I wolfed down my roast-beef sandwich, headed for the bathroom, rushed over to the bus and we took off again.
The bus drove into the Fallowfield station in Barrhaven one hour late. Tired, still a little hungry, and feeling clammy and dirty I was happy to get off the bus and kiss and hug my waiting husband. He was so pleased to have me back home that he didn’t bother bitching about the late arrival. Back in my comfort zone I enjoyed the ride home.
With my transit experiences, if at all possible, the next time I go somewhere out of town, I’ll take the train.