Posted by: TheAuthor | 30/09/2011

Days 13 and 14 – Fantastic Ottawa

Day 13: Rising early we headed off into the town to explore the sights. Shell and myself decided to venture off on our own again today to gain some further time alone together. So, after the usual Tim Horton’s stop, we wandered over towards the Art Gallery and Royal Mint. On the way we discovered the ‘Byward’ market so we opted to walk around to discover what treats we had in store. Aside from the huge variety of colourful vegetables; fruit; hand-made products; fresh imported cheeses as well as local; bars and pubs; and cafes, there was nothing. The prices were extremely good and cheap compared to Alberta. A great place to shop indeed, open everyday all day… at least while we were in town.

After checking out opening times for the galleries we headed for the Parliament buildings to go on a free tour. The walk across the city was beautiful, many times I found myself staring up in wonder at brilliantly designed buildings. This was what I was waiting for, something I had missed since leaving England.

We arrived at Parliament and booked onto, fortunately, an English-speaking tour. We were ushered around various rooms including the library (sounds dull but actually interesting) and the House of Senate, unfortunately the House of Commons was in session for a Caucus so we couldn’t view it – much to our disappointment. We did, however, go up the bell tower to view the bells and clock face copied from Big Ben in London. Exiting Parliament there was a large free session of yoga on the grass, so Shell joined in for a while.

We wandered around the city, mainly around the districts recommended by the lonely planet guide-book. We accidentally stumbled across China town as we ambled along. The city was easy to navigate and wonderful to be in, it felt very welcoming and homely without being over powering.

As the day drew to a close, before we headed over to Shell’s relatives to spend the next two nights, we returned to the Byward market and found a nice bar to have a drink in. We planned the next day over numerous taster glasses of local and ‘British’ beers, Kronenbourg blonde and Old Speckled Hen were among those involved. Before it was too late, we drove a few short miles to Shell’s cousins residence and introduced ourselves to a very welcoming house hold before turning in for the night.

Day 14: We realised that we had not had a lazy morning in quite a while so, with the house to ourselves, we stayed in bed until 10 A.M. before attempting to get up. After driving to a local shopping centre we having a walk around we returned home for lunch, before heading to the city again and paying a visit to the market again.

After enjoying a wasp attracting ‘Beaver Tail’ pastry, joined by Henri, we bought some cheese and went to the Royal Mint for a tour around the building. As a note, if you have never had Beaver tail try it. All it consists of it a large flat pastry piled full of goodies of your choosing. The Royal Mint, for $5 each, was a bargain, plus we got to lift a gold bar which was surprisingly heavy for its size. I would recommend the mint to anyone vaguely interested in the manufacturing of coins, you will learn something for sure.

We took a final walk around the city, which was closed off slightly due to the English PM being in town, before heading back to the house to socialise with Shell’s relatives before we left early the next day.

Trip Statistics:

Tim Horton’s stops – 8

Kilometres driven – 452km

Total distance driven – 5204km

Car faults – Found out Speedometer is inaccurate by 10kph

– Speakers starting to refuse to operate

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