Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: fall

The four seasons of Glasgow

When people ask me what time of the year is Glasgow’s rainy season, I tell them that every season is a rainy season in Glasgow. At least that’s what it felt like during my one year as a resident of Glasgow.

Nevertheless, the city is still beautiful in every season, even though it sometimes seems as if summer doesn’t exist. Aside from the rain, which is a constant in every season, we do manage to see different colours at various times of the year – a green spring, a blue summer, a red autumn, and a white winter. If you mix everything, the overall impression might still be “gray”, and any rainless day is a cause for celebration 😉

Spring

Spring is the time of the year when life begins to revive after having been asleep for a few months. Blooming flowers are to be seen everywhere, painting Glasgow in vibrant colours and the hope of warmth. Ditch not your umbrellas and rain jackets, however! Rain is aplenty and will wash the city at any given moment, but a forecast of sun for five days in a row (!) reminds me that the toughest months of November to February are over. Weekends can now be spent outdoors, hah!!

Summer

Ah, summer. It is rarely warmer than 25 degrees Celsius in Glasgow, and I’ve heard that the Scots consider it a heat wave if the temperature rises above 24 – is that true, my Scottish friends? Daylight is abundant, and the first rays of sunshine through the window often wake me up at 4am while the sun does not set until 11pm. How awesome is that! Then again, it is easier to lose track of time during the summer – you think it’s only 7pm but all of a sudden it’s midnight. Wasn’t it still bright half an hour ago?!

Autumn

While autumn is my favourite season in Toronto, I’m not sure if I feel the same way in Glasgow. The temperature begins to drop, and the transition into winter is especially difficult to adapt to as gray skies and drizzling rain dominate the atmosphere. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The sun becomes especially scarce and precious during this period of time, and we really do learn to appreciate every moment of sunlight. We do have some gorgeous red leaves, though, which is a source of consolation and at least adds some colour to my walk to work.

Winter

As a Canadian, I’m raised to believe that winter is incomplete without snow. Luckily (for me, perhaps unluckily for others) that there had been snow during the two Glaswegian winters that I’ve experienced, and I definitely prefer snow over rain! When I heard from my friends and family that the temperature went down to -15 degrees Celsius in January, I was quite glad to have avoided the bone-chilling shivers and thankful to be here with this gentle snow. This year, it really “snowed” only on one day, but that was enough to get me quite excited! Although the snow only lasted one day and pretty much melted away by the next afternoon, I was satisfied to say that it was a REAL winter, hehe.

And now, it is the beginning of February. Yesterday was Groundhog Day but I think the groundhog in Glasgow would have been pretty pissed off when he emerged from his burrow to see another rainy day. I’m not sure if spring is coming soon, but I’m happy to see that the sky is gradually getting brighter when I step out of the office at 5:30pm. And today was an entirely sunny day! What a gift! 😀

The question is not “Do you see my shadow?” but “Where’s my umbrella?” 😦 😦 😦

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Moccasin Trail Park – Quest for the rainbow

If you are a resident of Toronto and a frequent commuter on the northbound Don Valley Parkway (DVP), I’m almost sure you have seen a rainbow at least once. I’m talking about that rainbow tunnel on the right side of the expressway, near the Lawrence exit, that drivers often pass by. It is colourful and conspicuous and certainly would have attracted anyone’s attention, but most drivers probably keep going without giving it a second thought. After all, it’s just another familiar scene you see on your daily commute, no?

I was curious. I wanted to find the exact place where that rainbow resides and find out how close I could get to it. It seemed so far away from the DVP, you know…as if it’s really a real, unreachable rainbow. In reality, it’s literally right next to the expressway – I just needed to figure out how to actually get there.

I did have a hidden agenda though, and that was to finally fully experience the beauties of the fall foliage along the Don River on both sides of the DVP, which are now covered in gorgeous patches of red, orange, and yellow. With an awesome hike that was achieved in the Crothers Woods (which is also close to the DVP, a bit more south) last week, I couldn’t wait to see where my search for the rainbow would lead me! After a bit of research and some luck with the weather, I set out on a quest for the rainbow, which led me to my entry point – Moccasin Trail Park.

There are so many areas to enjoy our blessed green space in Toronto, and I was determined to visit as many of them as possible before I leave the country again. The weather was slightly threatening this afternoon with warnings of rain, but the sun was still shining when I headed out the door, so I took the chance. After a 15-minute drive, I parked my car in the parking lot at the end of Moccasin Trail and found an entrance to the park. And wow. To say I was impressed at the scenery would be an understatement. The smell of autumn, the sounds of silence, the vibrant colours that adorned the foliage – what a delicate treat for my five senses! 🙂

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Parc Bordelais

I went to Parc Bordelais for the first time before the end of the fall season, just to see the colour of the leaves one last time before they all disappeared from the branches. It was a short afternoon visit, because the sun went down relatively early, but I certainly got some nice Bordeaux autumn photos. There won’t be many words, but hopefully a picture is worth a thousand words. Enjoy 😉

A swan swims so leisurely in the lake.

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Bois de Lauzelle, love at first hike

Last year I discovered the beauty of autumn in Louvain-la-Neuve, and I am glad to have spent most of October here this year as well, to see the beginning of the end of fall. What a mesmerizing season filled with grace, vibrance, and dynamics.

There is a forest nearby my campus called “Bois de Lauzelle”, a great place for a nice afternoon hike. From the centre of Louvain-la-Neuve, it’s about a 15-minute walk. Not too far, huh. One would think I would have gone there already during my previous stays in Louvain-la-Neuve. Nope. Due to my laziness, I’ve never visited the woods, even though I knew of its existence since the beginning of the year. It’s like Antwerp and Maastricht. I didn’t make the effort to visit until this time around, when my departure from Belgium at the end of the month may be for a good 6 months.

So, on a cloudy Sunday morning after a rainy day (the day I went to Antwerp), I ventured into the woods for my first autumn hike. Laziness had to be conquered, yes, but I was not going to let this opportunity escape me again. After Tobermory and Kawartha Lakes, I was determined to discover Bois de Lauzelle, on my own.

As I started my hike from the centre of Louvain-la-Neuve to the outer parts of the city, I passed by the Parc de la Source where this gorgeous bird was chilling among the branches. I think it was a swallow…I could never be sure of bird names. The leaves were still very much green, but traces of yellow and orange have begun to appear everywhere.

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