Canada

Kingston, it wasn’t you, it was me

(Last Updated On: 14/03/2017)
I had my hopes for Kingston pretty high. It seemed like a lovely place, full of historic buildings and a beautiful waterfront. I was so sure I’m gonna like it. But while I fairly enjoyed it, Kingston and me didn’t become BFFs.

My first big mistake there was walking all the way down from the train station to downtown. I don’t know how I checked the google map but I was 100% sure that it’s 4 kms. That would have been fine, even with two backpacks. But after 1 hour of pretty fast walk I still was nowhere close to the waterfront and I knew at that point that something was wrong. (later on I checked google again and it turned out that it’s 7 kms, not 4!!!) The suburbs were interesting to look at for maybe first 5 minutes, then every street and house looked more or less the same (not to mention it all looked familiar to me from the movies and media).

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When I finally got to the center I was expecting some amazing, old buildings of historic value. And again my mistake, I was still thinking in European standards. Important or not, Kingston’s architecture didn’t feel all that old to me. It was interesting to admire the Neoclassical town hall built in the middle of XIX century where Kingston was the capital of Canada, it was really lovely to walk around the residential area in downtown. The college was a lively place that definitely has a soul and the waterfront was a perfectly enjoyable spot to walk around (even if really destroyed by modern condo buildings). Altogether it was a really great mix. I just didn’t really feel it on that day.

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I also think the timing of my visit wasn’t very good. I arrived to Canada the previous afternoon and I was pretty jetlaged hence slightly annoyed plus exhausted after the insane walking. If I visited Kingston at the end of my trip I might have liked it big time. Now, from the time’s perspective I can see it wasn’t such a bad city after all, I just couldn’t appreciate it at that moment. I wish I could have given it a second chance, with a different attitude this time. But if someone asks me if it’s worth going to Kingston I’ll definitely say yes!

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Did it ever happen to you not to enjoy the place because of the bad timing?


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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Mighty Traveller
    24/02/2015 at 07:20

    I see what you mean. I even underestimated the distance few times myself. Although it’s good for fitness, surely it’s not good for mood. Sorry you didn’t enjoy Kingston as much as you could have another time. Hope you’ll have a chance to go back again!

    • Reply
      kami
      28/02/2015 at 23:17

      Who knows, maybe I will go back there one day :) And that’s one of the things about travels, they teach us humility :)

  • Reply
    Alex
    12/01/2016 at 14:28

    I figured I’d read a bit of your site today as I have some downtime and I stumbled upon this post and it made me laugh. Nope…it’s not you, it’s Kingston! I used to live in Toronto and listened to many people say how Kingston was an amazing city, etc. On two separate visits at least I definitely didn’t have that experience. Boring is an understatement ;)

    • Reply
      kami
      15/01/2016 at 09:41

      ok, good to know it’s not me then ;) Maybe when there’re students around it’s more lively… or maybe I’m just looking for positives ;)

  • Reply
    Vanessa
    02/09/2016 at 00:52

    I feel your pain – I HATED Versailles and in retrospect I think it was 99% the result of me having a headache that day and for my organizer not having properly explained the pricing structure of admission and I was thus annoyed at having my budget ruffled.

    I lived in Kingston for 4 years (yep, I went to Queens) and my first thought was “How could anyone not love it!?” But your reasons were absolutely valid. I NEVER considered walking from the train station to downtown – you are a champion! I also think it’s the kind of city that has many quiet pleasures – plenty of lovely things but they’re hard to describe and thus I think it leads to people overstating the city’s charm. Sure, it’s pretty but it’s not going to compete with Sofia or Prague or Budapest.

    It’s still one of my favourite places to visit but I know that only a part of that is because of what the city offers – a big part is my own sentiment from college days. You’ve inspired me to do an article of my favourite things in Kingston because I need to be able to share what exactly it is I love about the city – and not just shower it with empty praise!

    • Reply
      kami
      05/09/2016 at 12:43

      I’m sure that the big part of me not liking Kingston was my own fault. I actually would love to return there, at the better circumstances, I’m sure I’d enjoy it then! I felt it has a big potential, even if it’s not really seen at first sight. I’m really looking forward to your post, would love to see why you find Kingston so special! Please share the link with me once it’s online!

  • Reply
    Shannon - SoleSeeking
    30/09/2018 at 18:58

    Sorry to hear you didn’t have the greatest experience! I was also a little underwhelmed on my first visit but I think that’s because I have Europe’s architecture and the west coast of Canada to compare it to! It was also the middle of summer so extremely hot and sticky! Overall I found it to be a pleasant city though.

    • Reply
      kami
      19/10/2018 at 09:11

      Yes, I think that with a different expectations I’d really have enjoyed Kingston but I didn’t and it was nothing but my fault. Maybe I will have a chance to revisit one day and change my mind.

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