Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Nelson

I'm in Nelson, a 'city' in the Selkirk mountains of B.C. and on the west arm of Kootenay lake. Everyone has been telling me to go to Nelson and the guidebooks tell me it's a great place, so it really has had a lot to live up to. It's known for it's heritage architecture and artsy/hippy vibe. At first I was wondering what all the fuss was about and it just wasn't living up to all that hype, but after two days here I've come to appreciate it.

The downtown area is mainly focused on the main street-Baker Street, where I'm staying in a hostel, but if you walk onto some of the side streets it's a bit more interesting. There are lots of exciting shops such as a wool/anthroposophical shop, eco gadgets and clothing shops, a European shoe shop, health food stores, bakeries, lots of cafes, thrift stores with some good clothes (but there's absolutely no room in my backpack!) and about three bookshops. Walking around Nelson you can see a wide range of people in some interesting outfits. The buildings are also pretty nice for Canada and some of them even look rather English such as a row of terraced brick houses.

One of the great things about Nelson for me is that it's surrounded by forested hills and wherever you look in the distance you can see trees. I find this comforting. Down the hill from the centre of town is the lake and that's pretty peaceful too (although not so much when there are people in speedboats on it). On Sunday it seemed like the whole of Nelson was playing baseball in the park, walking along the waterfront or on the little beach.

Today I went on a hike along the waterfront and across the bridge to the other side of the lake. I then walked up this track to a lookout over the city called Pulpit Rock. Halfway there it started drizzling and I wondered if I should turn back because I'd forgotten my raincoat. Thankfully I persevered as it didn't last long. It was good to see some solar panels on people's houses and to overhear conversations about green things. The road to the start of the Pulpit Rock hike was like a combination of England and Swiss countryside. It made me realise how much I appreciate countryside.

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