“Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over & over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”
– Pat Conroy
June ’15. We had just moved into another continent , 9000 miles away from India, hauling hefty suitcases & heaps of memories. Admittedly, we’ve done this a multitude of times : move to a new place, set up, stay, move. But the truth is, what is repetition in the face of new beginnings in new cities. And we’ve been able to gather snippets of culture & tradition from all the places we’ve called home.
Our “date” every other evening here in Toronto, for two whole weeks was our very kind & patient realtor. What followed was par for the course: assemble furniture, deck up the house, organize the kitchen…the works. Come July, the eagerness to explore Ontario had increased by a manifold and naturally so since we’d learnt from a little birdie aka Google that Canada offers a cornucopia of natural beauty.
Discernibly, first on the list without a hint of doubt, was experiencing the might & grace of the Niagara but that’s a story for another time because now we dive into the Thousand Islands. Gananoque is a quaint little town by the St Lawrence River garlanded by warm Cafe’s and Victorian homes, also renowned for the Thousand Island Cruises.
Now, the cruise itself lasts for about two hours but there are longer ones as well that go on for about 5 hours.
It was a murky July morning. In fact, the azure of the sky was concealed by lumps of grey and the perils of raindrops pelting were on the rise because if it did, we would have to stay cuddled indoors instead of letting gentle waves of winds splash against our faces. Finally, the weather Gods decided to grace us all with clear skies and a ray or two of sunshine.
Obviously we couldn’t spot all the 1864 islands that sprawl in the 50 mile span but I’d be lying if I denied seeing plenty! The waters are speckled with chunks of islands, some small, some large, some inhabited by humans, some home to flocks of seagulls & lighthouses but all bearing enormous history.
A couple of them are lodged firmly in my mind…..
1) There are little things that effortlessly pop a smile on one’s face. Well, this did for me. Among a squillion of these islands, there stand two of them connected by a little bridge. What’s special you ask? For one, they’re tiny & look like they’re part of a miniature movie set but the interesting thing is one half is part of Canada & the other part of USA. Talk about quick travel!
2) The Boldt Castle on Heart Island stands proudly as a monument of love, built by a millionaire, George Boldt for his wife, Louise. Unfortunately, misfortune struck and what was once a happy albeit a highly lavish home became an extravagant castle experience for visitors to come & go.
And, I’ve saved the best for last! We’ve all heard of the Thousand Island Dressing. Legend has it, a steward, as he prepared lunch for George Boldt, didn’t have his regular ingredients for a salad dressing so he created his own. Mr Boldt happened to like it so much that he decided to call it the 100o Island Dressing in honor of the place where it was first made. The steward eventually became famous too!
Do take a look at some pictures…
A few of the 1864 islands
One half in the USA & the other in Canada
A tiny island inhabited by sea gulls