On the weekend, I took a little day trip. To Richmond Hill. It is not the most exciting or touristy of places to go but it was Doors Open and I had a list of places that seemed interesting to see. I was a little disappointed, not least because it took so damn long to get there. It is about 50 miles (or 80 kilometres) from where I live and should take an hour. It took 1 hour 45 minutes, due to traffic. And yes, I did think about abandoning the trip and returning home, but it was almost as bad on the westbound lanes of the 401, so I carried on. Besides, I had too much gas in my car because on Monday I was getting my new car and was not going to send this one to the dealership to be forwarded to the scrapyard with anything more than 1/8 of tank of gas.
My list of places that had opened their doors to the public would take me through most of the town, but in the end, I had to seriously edit it because of the time... and traffic. Who knew it would be like rush hour at noon on a Saturday. Some of my choices were not worth the effort it took to get there. I bookended the day with two churches (and an almost hidden cemetery which was a bonus). The experience between the two could not have been more different. The first was a Hindu Temple (Vishnu Madir) which I was quite excited about seeing.
It was also a Museum of Hindu Civilization so I thought there would be lots to learn. This might have been the case if anyone had taken the initiative to talk to us. After taking off our shoes, we were free to wander through the museum and the temple on our own, but no pictures were allowed (and sadly, there were no photos included in their brochure).
I shouldn't be so harsh, it was quite informative with a brief history of Jainism and Hinduism and a timeline which included Christianity and Islam. The temple itself was huge with many sculptures on the wall of the various gods and stories of the gods. It was as might be expected and very colourful
. There were examples of prayer alters to see and a film on the very basics of the religion. It just might have felt more welcoming had some of the people who were volunteering offered some explanations or to answer questions. Instead, they seemed more interested in talking with each other.
The last church we visited was a Coptic Orthodox. It was also huge and there is an expansion in the works.
Volunteers took you on a guided tour, explaining as much as possible from the baptismal font (it looks like a single person hot tub for full immersion) to the sanctuary and the mosaics and tapestries (which were white because Easter was last weekend, then they will change to red). A parishioner's large collection of crosses was on display. There was a brief account of Jesus' time in Egypt, and an explanation of the Coptic language (like Latin it is a dead language, but some services are in Coptic, Arabic and English with the priest deciding according to the demographic of the parishioners attending at the service). And there were brightly painted frescoes on the ceiling which I always find inspirational.
Then we found a park that seemed to be a favourite for wedding photographs (I hoped I didn't get in the way, but there were at least four couples getting their photos taken!)
however, it did seem a little early for the best of the flowers.....
except for these
...and yes, I did get my new car today. More on that later.