Exploring Winkler, Part 1: It begins!


I lied in my last post. I haven’t actually stopped exploring. I just… haven’t lived up to my own expectations. Which feels like the same thing to me.


I told you about the Mennonite train, right? And how Andrew and I were not together for it? This meant I had a few days on my own in July. And what did I do with that time? I got in the car and went to Winkler! I brought my mom along and we spent the night at my aunt and uncle’s place. I also brought along a big pile of books that I somehow assumed I’d read during my time there. And maps. So many maps.

I spread them all over the dining room table. My uncle observed this, and said I reminded him of the old men who meet for coffee at Mulligan’s. I was very flattered by this. And then I also took his advice and went to meet those old men. I ended up on a bit of a nonstop adventure that I will now try to tell you about, but it’s gonna take a few posts to get it all out.

First thing’s first — I’ll look at my camera roll to see if I can remind myself of what exactly I got up to in that (unintentionally) frenzied time.


On July 11, 2023, after my mom and I settled in at my uncle and aunt’s place, we visited a bit, and I only left their place to start exploring at 5pm. I had not driven very far when I stumbled across the Winkler Farmer’s Market and immediately slammed on the brakes. By 5:13pm I was taking this picture, which I totally planned to show you guys immediately. But am only doing so now:

Manitoba has many giant roadside attractions. Why does no one talk about Winkler’s Giant Hockey Stick?

By 5:16pm, I was taking this picture:

My purpose was to send it to Andrew and make him jealous. But I don’t think it worked. He was on a train with no internet, surrounded by many fascinating Mennonites. But, nevertheless, I was pretty pleased with my accomplishment in obtaining (then devouring) this very delicious cookie.

The berries I figured I’d give to my aunt and uncle as a very small thank you.

By 5:36pm, I was taking this picture through the very bug-encrusted windshield of the little car Andrew and I share:

Not possible.

Do you see it? In the very middle of the frame, there is a little bump. That is the tree that marks the cemetery of Neureinland, where one of my mom’s siblings is buried. I had last been here with my uncle in 2021, and based on that previous visit, I had assumed I could just drive right up. But no. Like most things, this had changed. And that is entirely understandable.

Maybe I could go around.

By 5:43pm, I was on the opposite side of the section, looking westward to the cemetery. And there I found a very enticing, beautiful trail (so beautiful, I had to make it the feature photo).

But I had strawberries languishing, my stomach growling, and a dinner invitation that I desperately wanted to be on time for.

This was only the beginning.