September 3: Cochrane to Calgary - The Great North American Sticky Bun Hunt - CycleBlaze

September 3: Cochrane to Calgary

THERE IS a sudden, long, steep and unappreciated hill out of Cochrane. That done, the road runs on a ridge with the mountains growing greyer to our right. And then suddenly they finished, not quite in a wall but in a handful of burps followed by silence. Farewell, the Rockies.

We spotted the steel and glass skyscrapers of central Calgary in the near distance - the modern equivalent of seeing the Promised Land - and the rest is barely worth reporting. We turned from one busy road to another, negotiated a couple of difficult junctions, mended a final puncture in Steph's back wheel - lorries here have shed a disturbing amount of tyre tread and, with it, the metal shards that hold the rubber together - and picked through suburbs to Jérémie's house.

Jérémie is not a Warm Showers host. He is the friend of a host and was volunteered when the original host couldn't, er, host us. Jérémie is from Fribourg, near Geneva in French-speaking Switzerland. He says septante and huitante for 70 and 80, a helpful convention adopted by almost all French-speakers except those in metropolitan France, where folk stick stubbornly to soixtante-dix and quantre-vingt.

Jérémie came to Calgary for the skiing. So did many other foreigners, some years earlier, for the Olympics. The ski jumps and toboggan runs are still there.
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Jérémie came to Calgary six years ago for the skiing, a slightly odd choice given that, as he says, Calgary has a partly desert climate with little rain or snow. The ski jump and bob sleigh runs are still on a hillside here from the winter Olympics in 1988 but they used a lot of artificially produced snow, Jérémie says.

Anyway, having fallen in love with the huge wilderness of backwoods Canada, he decided to stay to take his masters degree in electronic engineering. There he had a link with Steph, who was also an

Jérémie and Petra, his Romanian girlfriend. Merci/Multumesc to the two of you.
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electronics engineer. She and I met when we were with the BBC and she arrived to commission a new studio. Jérémie, on the other hand, works more with transmitters.

We had a lovely evening with Jérémie and his Romanian girlfriend, Petra, who works as a nurse in a project she founded for young people on the street. It is work as rewarding as it is frustrating, she says, because many of those she sees live only for the moment and have little understanding that actions have consequences.

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