Winnipeg, my first time there. I only spent a few hours, but I loved the feel of it. I love the old houses, I love the broken down wrought-iron fence around everyone’s yard.

I have a theory about towns and first impressions. I’ve been to Calgary once before, but then I wasn’t on my own and I wasn’t driving. This time I arrived in rush hour, without a map, hot and sticky from driving and thinking I’d be able to find a swimming pool. Totally unprepared for a city whose main streets are actually highways, jam packed full of cars either going faster than my little hamster van can handle or standing impatiently nose to bum. I did eventually figure out the layout, and find a pool, and rush hour calmed down… but I still hate Calgary, and I have no intention of ever returning.

Whereas I chased a storm into Winnipeg… sun setting behind me, and in front of me a collection of about 15 distinct cloud types at various altitudes, some lit pink by the setting sun, some casting shadows on others, some wispy, some solid, some wee, some huge and threatening… one lit from the inside every so often by flashes of lightening. I love storms, and as I rolled into town I felt a little disappointed that I couldn’t catch up to it, but I was still juiced up from the beauty I’d seen. The highway turned into a strip of chain restaurants and neon signs, and then I saw a big Y right in front of me. Not only were they still open, they let me swim for free just cause I was from out of town. Super nice people!

So I don’t know if it’s because of the storm, or if it’s because I like the houses, or if it’s because in Winnipeg they treated me well right off the bat, but I’d love to go back someday.