Welcome to Ottawa! I spent a little longer here, had both fun times and infuriating times, boiling times and freezing times, and a couple of beaver tails.
Not long after I arrived a girl in my dorm, Vivica, invited me to join her at a Thanksgiving meetup meal. I knew Nich had done plenty of meet ups in Paris, so I thought this would be a fantastic way to spend my first Canadian (or American) Thanksgiving. It was a bring a dish from where you're from kinda thing, so I head out the next morning, bought some potatoes, turnips, cabbage and chorizo to make a sort of bubble and squeak effort. Clearly I had no leftovers, so I just made a sort of mash. It was delicious, not gonna lie.
We were pretty lucky, as it happens. The place this event was held at was the oldest standing house in Ottawa and held a fair bit of Canadian history in its walls, particularly in the room we ate in. There were people from all over the world, it was a great evening and extremely interesting. I got to taste my first pumpkin pie! I didn't like it. Tasted weird. Not sweet and not savoury. Apologies for the poor photo, I kinda got a 'not keen on photos' vibe, so I was pretty swift about it.
The next day I took myself off wandering around Ottawa, exploring the Rideau Canal (top photo) and then went on a tour of Parliament. Turns out a lot was closed because there was something going on the next day, so I didn't see a lot. I can tell you that the library is beautiful, but I couldn't take photos, and that it seems like it works much like it does at home, except it's the Senate instead of the House of Lords.
I took myself up to a hill to get a view over Ottawa, and over the bridge back to Québec. I had intended to go a museum the other side of the bridge but held back for two reasons.
1) It was getting on a bit, and I didn't want to rush
2) Have you seen this bridge?!
I can't remember if I've mentioned on here about how I don't like bridges. Particularly ones with wooden slats, or any way of me seeing what's happening beneath me (most piers are out too), things like this set my legs all wibbly and I don't like them at all. I had resolved to get a bus the next day, until I realised the metal grille closest in the photo is what the cars drove over one way. It sounded horrendous. Almost crossed it off entirely.
Then Vivica found her friend Hannah and talked me into going with them. I reasoned I might feel calmer with other people there, so I went. I hated it. I tried to half focus ahead so I couldn't really tell we were on the bridge but it had rained, so my eyes interpreted the puddles as gaps to the Ottawa river below acne it was horrible. I just marched on as quickly as I could.
The museum (Museum of Civilisation) is great. We saw an IMAX movie about Kenya and then set off around the floors. It took 6 hours. There's so much, some really interesting exhibits, so worth the money...but when we left my legs were happy to walk at a proper pace rather than museum amble.
Byward Market is apparently designed to make you want to eat all the fruit. I saw these 'ground cherries' (below) everywhere, thought they might be physalis but decided they were too small. Eventually I investigated further and concluded they must be just tiny physalis. WIN. I am mad about them, and having lots of tiny ones set my heart a flutter.
Sadly, I opened them up, saw they were yellow...and then tasted that they didn't taste like physalis. They were very sweet, and I wasn't a big fan. So sad.
The next day, I went along with Vivica, Hannah and another new person we picked up in our dorm, Anu to see this tent. You could see it from the river pathway, so we wandered over to go and view it properly...and it was closed. But that was fine because there was a great view of Parliament...
...and we were able to sit in the sun for a little while and chat about Life, the Universe, and Everything. Yes, I have been reading Hitchhiker's lately.
We carried on further up the river to find these balance sculptures Hannah had come across a ew days earlier. They're pretty cool, we spent awhile picking out our favourites.
Isn't he cute?
That evening Vivica and I head over to the Museum of Nature as it was free between 5-8. We enjoyed some dinosaurs...mammals...sea life...space...but quickly. It was a slight stretch...Vivica likes to read everything (hence 6 hours the day before) so we compromised. She could read everything in the dinosaurs, but everything else would be fleeting.
The day after, everyone had gone, so it was back to me to entertain myself. Pah. Which meant the War Museum. It was quite intense...I learnt a lot, but this last hall creeped me out a little...all the stuff we've made to kill each other.
The hostel I was staying in was previously the city jail. This was my room...I was not one staying in an old cell, which I'm totally fine with, cause they looked cold and loud and not great.
Ottawa was fun, I really enjoyed myself and you should absolutely go if you have the chance. But have a lot of change with you. The nightmares I had getting exact change for the bus....got to the train station today no in the best mood I've ever been in. To top it all, I was standing in a queue where everyone else had decided it was sufficient to put their bags down in the queue and go and sit back down. I stood my ground with pure English fury pouring out of wherever it is fury pours out from. That's not how you queue...don't join if you can't hack the rules.
I'm now on the train to Toronto, whee I change to a train to Edmonton. It's Tuesday evening now, I will arrive at my destination on Friday morning. There is no wifi. Keep me in your thoughts.