Looking to the other side of the river

Week 6 of 2021: memories of Ottawa, Albania, and the island that some of you know so well by now.

For me, the second week of February was another week of walking in beautiful snowy landscapes in Ontario. Unfortunately, the bridge across the Ottawa River to Quebec was closed as one of the pandemic measures. So I saw Quebec every day but didn't go there for months.

In the photo, you see Ontario in the foreground and Quebec on the other side of the Ottawa River. This closure was nothing dramatic, and I guess that many people still did cross the bridge since, as far as I know, there was nobody giving fines for doing so.

But now that I write this way, it does bring back some memories.

It reminds me of a young man I once met in a small village in Albania, close to the border with Montenegro. I guess that must have been in early 2009 when I visited some waste treatment projects in Northern Albania. After the collapse of communism in 1992, he was amongst the first Albanians to study in the west. He spoke English with hardly any accent, had traveled the world, and was now back in the small town where he grew up to take care of his elderly father.

We had lunch, and he pointed at the part of the village on the other side of a small bridge over a stream. He then told me that he had never once been on the other side of the bridge when he grew up because it was forbidden to go there during the communist regime.

It also reminds me of the island from where I wrote to you this summer. In the last winter of the Second World War, the few thousand people left on the island lived in harsh circumstances, with the dikes bombed, their lands flooded, and brutal reprisals of Nazi Germany to any resistance. Every day they looked at the next island to the south that the Canadians had already liberated.

A group of about fifteen men tried to escape one night to the liberated part of the Nederlands. Ten of them were caught and publicly executed, a trauma on the island that nobody has forgotten. I often pass the monument that was erected in 1949 to commemorate them. I will someday write more about the island's history; there are so many stories to tell.

I already published dozens of 'island stories' between June and September; they are in the archive for those who subscribed more recently to this newsletter and want to catch up.

All this because I just wanted to share some pictures today of the second week of February this year. We are in week 6, still 46 more to go. I had no time for a longer article about the news of that week, so for now, all you get from me this late in the evening are these memories and two more photos.

I took the second picture on a morning walk; a fresh layer of snow had fallen overnight.

And then there is Luna since I saw in your comments that she is gaining some popularity amongst some readers. I believe she was posing for this picture, showing her best side :-)

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None for today, all just memories.

Sleep well for those that are still awake at this hour.

Does anyone still want to see more pictures of Luna?