Winnipeg Airport was small and easy to navigate, and I was met at the gate by some of the Festival's awesome transportation volunteers. Mark (who has been with the Festival since it found its home in Whittier Park in 1977!) drove an Argentinean sculptor named Liliana and myself from the airport to our hotel, the Fairmont Winnipeg. He wore a fabulous red toque - traditional festival wear and symbols of the original voyageurs, along with the woven ceinture.
The Fairmont is located at the infamous intersection of Portage & Main, right in the heart of Winnipeg. The hotel itself is not the most striking building, but the view from up here on the 20th floor is remarkable. Winnipeg has some beautiful buildings, from what I can see from here - it's a shame it's so cold, as it makes walking around the city challenging. Below the hotel there is an underground concourse - like the one downtown at home - which then turns into a path that connects a number of shops and buildings a few stories above the street - like the one in Calgary. The Photographer and I spent a couple of hours wandering this maze. He picked up tickets to tomorrow night's hockey game and I picked up shampoo and conditioner (the dry weather sucks all the moisture out of your hair - hotel shampoo simply won't do!).
Back at the hotel, my Man and I drank a little Valentine's Day fizz before heading out to Oui - a new French bistro located in the Exchange neighbourhood - ten minutes' walk from our hotel. And ten minutes was enough! It is bloody freezing out there - especially at night - so cold it instantly freeze all the hairs in your nose.
We had the most fantastic meal at Oui - my Man had the Boeuf Bourguignon and I had the Cassoulet - French white beans, the restaurant's own garlic sausage, and duck….delicious. And wonderful wine, too.
We were so cold by the time we got back to the hotel (the zip on my winter coat is gone - today I shop for a new one!) that we put our bathing suits and robes on and went up to the hot tub in the hotel's health club. Fifteen minutes in the hot tub and we were nodding off - back to the room, and bed for us.