August 12, 2012

[Kingston/Montreal] Kingston and Thousand Islands

VIA Rail Train
It is beautiful to board the classics once in a while after being soaked in the rush of modern society

We departed Waterloo at 09:00 and arrived Toronto near 11:30. We then transferred onto VIA Rail train and left Toronto Union Station at around 12:15.

After entering the platform, I have to say that it is beautiful to board the classics once in a while after being soaked in the rush of modern society. The trains felt nostalgic to me because I was a fan of trains at around age of 6. I loved travelling across Taiwan with trains; I love the sounds made by trains. It is nice to experience these once again.

I was glad that we chose to travel this way.

Union station and VIA trains

Queen's University, Kingston, ON
Beautiful ancient buildings decorated with nature and some modern components.

Kingston is a beautiful city. It is not as modern as Toronto; however, its downtown is relaxed and chill. Don't get me wrong; it is not a rural place; in fact, the population and atmosphere is quite busy. Its transportation system is great, and the cityscape is amazing. The fact that Kingston is near one of the great lakes of Canada makes it a great place for tourism and living.

We settled at Four Points hotel and rested a bit, then, we departed for Queen's University.

The summer in Kingston was hot, but not as extreme as I imagined. The water have helped cooling the temperature, and the wind was gentle that smoothed our minds. The streets of Kingston were beautiful; there were creation of nature and humans all over the place. It was extremely comfortable to walk around. To the university, it was a short 20-minute walk.

Queen's University was large, spacious, and refreshing. The first time I came was during my spring break in 2008; it was still covered in snow and I was not able to view the school in its original appearance. The university was consisted of several old buildings that are surrounded by great and comfortable aura and some modern ones that delivered the scent of 21st century.

Panorama view

Thousand Islands Cruise, Kingston, ON
There are literally thousands of islands forming this beautiful area.

One cannot tell the beauty of Kingston without mentioning the Thousand Islands.

Line-up to board the tour cruise
The Thousand Islands, according to the guide on the cruise, actually contains more than thousands of islands. Some of these islands are large enough to form a country, some are too tiny to be inhabitable. Our cruise navigated to the Howe Island, circled around it, and return back to mainland.

The view around the port was amazing (more about it in the next part), and it is incredibly peaceful once we are in the middle of the lake. During the course, we passed by many islands that were owned privately and saw some residents waving hands at us. It was heart-warming.

The ride was smooth and there were on-board dinner. The food was not awesome, but it definitely is above average for the price. There were also live entertainment where a host told stories and facts about the surroundings. The host also played music, sang, and initiated dance on board. It was interesting watching him doing all the crazy things.

An inhabited island
Little house built on little island
Love this beautiful view
Panorama view on board

Kingston, ON
I really loved the view near the water; it resembled peace and happiness to me.

A street in downtown
We got off the cruise and it was already late night. The three hours spent on board was lengthy but certainly worthed it.

It might be weird to talk about the city of Kingston now, but I think I should group everything similar together in the same part. so I decided to leave it to the very last section.

The port

The city of Kingston is beautiful. I cannot express how much I love the scene near the lake. It was comfortable to look at. The city itself is quiet but busy, modern but antique. I know it is confusing to describe a place using such contrasted phrases, but one must be in the city to feel how the place is like. The atmosphere was relaxing and comfortable, but at its busiest time it is definitely a lively town. There were marks of technology, but at its core there existed beautiful arts and creations passed on from the previous century. Surely many cities in the world had all these elements, but Kingston demonstrates the contrasting sides the best, and one could not easily forget how the feeling has been embedded in his heart.

A slideshow of today's footprints:

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