My second fall in Ottawa was already coming to an end a few weeks ago. Compared to the previous year, however, this season was much more fascinating – while in 2018 the city had suddenly changed the from green to white at the end of October, we were able to enjoy this year’s Golden October (and November, too) during a particularly long and impressive Indian Summer!
After the hot summer season with all its festivals and outdoor activities had ended (that must have been in mid-September) I was worried about an early onset of winter. But instead: all the leaves remained on their trees and began to present themselves in the wildest colours. From week to week it became more colourful: From shining yellow to bright orange to deep red and even glowing pink; the variety was very stunning especially with almost constant blue skies in the background. Also, the temperatures often pleasantly stayed above 10, on some days even clearly above 15 degrees, so that also in this year’s third season we spent a lot of time outdoors.
For the first time we started extending our radius a little and explored Gatineau Park and its extensive maple forests on small hikes, during which one hardly meets any other people, once you move a little further away from the overwhelmingly crowded parking lots. We spent a lot of time riding our bikes along the local rivers. Most of those routes we had already explored quite extensively in summer, but now it was almost even more fun to ride them.
Fall in North America of course also hosts Halloween. Cultural integration certainly includes adapting to imported and commercialized traditions, and so we decorated our house, had children search for sweets in our creepy garage, carved pumpkins, roasted their seeds, made soup and watched horror movies with friends. The highlight was certainly the visit to Saunders Farm; on a large area about 40 minutes before Ottawa you could stroll for hours in the dark through bewitched and cursed barns, fields, tents and be more or less scared to death by weird creatures. Can be quite fun once you’re willing to get involved.
The first short winter surprise occurred at the beginning of November in the form of 15cm of snow overnight. Somewhat later than last year, and luckily only temporarily. The snow melted again over the following weeks, and although the temperatures remained in single digits and partly negative, it was at least mostly sunny, dry and free of snow. Only now, at the beginning of December, the fall-ish temperatures are finally over and we will probably see snow-covered streets for the next five months, in Ottawa anyway. However, we also adapted to the habits of many Canadians in an additional way: we try to escape the cold months at least for a while by spending a few weeks in New Zealand as well as in California and Florida.