High Park – nature’s refuge in an urban jungle

Old man with a long beard -- in a tree

In University I met my dear friend, Kathy. Aside from teaching me how to speak some phrases in Persian (which came in handy when dating a Persian woman!), she’s shown me that you really can just see someone a couple of times a year and feel “at home” with them. Kathy and I knew we would be friends from the moment we laid eyes on each other. It’s like a love story — a platonic love story. After graduation from University we no longer see each other as much as we used to, but when we meet up it’s like no time has passed at all.

Earlier this month, Kathy and I met up for our annual stroll through High Park, Toronto’s largest public park right smack dab in the middle of the city. This place is what the entire city would be were it not for the 3 million people who live here. It’s got hiking trails, sports facilities, playgrounds, a dog park, squirrels and other creatures who call it home. It’s gorgeous and it makes me love this city. These pictures tell you why.

Feeling peaceful

Bonus: I introduced Kathy to geocaching while we were out for our annual High Park stroll. She found her first cache! Curious about geocaching? It’s as geeky as it sounds, but hella fun.

Perty, ain't they?

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Impromptu gluttony on a Sunday afternoon

Enraptured crowd listening to a Toronto Mexican band

In order to stave off Sunday night blues, I gave my bestie a call and invited her to join me on a walk. I’d intended to just stroll around our neighborhood and bitch about how filled with rage and sadness work makes me. Because nothing beats the Sunday night blues more than complaining about Monday morning misery, right?

In the park across the street from her home, we happened upon the Inti Raymi Festival – an Andean folk music and dance festival celebrating the Summer Solstice. There was (bad) music, (embarrassing) dancing and (fried & delicious) food at the festival.

The options for fried food had this glutton overwhelmed with the choices in front of her. Rather than choose one and later regret my decision for what I’d ordered and wish for this, that and the other thing, I decided to go for the whole enchilada. Except I didn’t have an enchilada. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this (but not enough to not go public with it), but I ate an empanada (yum!) and a steak sandwich served by someone who was quite possibly the nicest festival worker I’ve ever met, washed down with a chocolate syrup-filled churro and Diet Pepsi.

You can take the girl out of Central Pennsylvania, but you can’t take  Central Pennsylvania out of the girl, apparently. Because despite having lived in a few multi-cultural cities in my adulthood, I never had a sweet clue what a churro was until today. To say I was missing out is an understatement. If you don’t know what one is, all you really need to know is that a churro is fried dough. Having been born and bred in Central PA means I’m very familiar with fried dough of many varieties, but none quite as good as the churro.

After having sufficiently gorged ourselves on bad foods, Sarah and I slowly made our way back to our respective apartments. Sunday night blues were pushed aside only temporarily, but I have a feeling the evidence of that churro is going to be hanging out on my ever-expanding love handles for a very long time.

Fried goodness filled with chocolate goodness