There was no master plan for our rather impromptu trip to the capital, which turns out to be a good thing as the trip itself and the weather dictated a lot about our weekend.
Ron had a short notice business meeting on the Friday of the long weekend in Ottawa which means he had transportation to and from along with a hotel room for a couple of nights. This meant that for the cost of my flight and a couple of nights hotel room we had four days in our nation’s capital. It seemed like a no brainer to us that we’d like to spend the weekend in eastern Canada enjoying a Winterlude weekend.
It got off to a rocky start though as I wasn’t able to fly out with Ron. My license expired in January and I had that little piece of paper that validates your old one until your new one shows up. BUT I did not have two pieces of government issued ID to go with it. Go figure. I try to travel light so why would I take my birth certificate? SO off Ron went and I stayed behind. I was super lucky to find a colleague at the airport who gave me a ride to the University to pick up our truck. Then I boogied out to Aberdeen to pick up the mail. I actually had time to go home, walk and feed the dogs plus consume some supper. Then I had Spencer drop me off at the airport so I could take a flight to Calgary, then Toronto and then Ottawa — arriving at 0815. It was a long night and by the time I hit the hotel after 09 I was ready to have a nap and change clothes. But alas both Ron’s and my luggage had untimely arrivals. I picked his up when I was at the airport but mine was still in Winnipeg at that moment. It arrived at about 1600 hours. So it was a lesson learned that one should always travel with their passport. Oh but wait mine was in the mail and that’s a true story as I had it renewed but had not been to pick up the mail yet!
Little did we imagine that the weekend was going to be a WINTER weekend — forget the “lude”! It has been a record low here with overnight temps of -31 and daytime high of -26 with a lovely fresh windchill! This does not make quite make for sauntering around in touristy time reading plaques or enjoying views. Nor does it endear one to using public transportation when they are 15 minutes late and you’ve been standing out side 10 minutes before they were due! I try to limit the use of exclamation marks when I write but seriously this paragraph required them.
But we are hardy stock and so we toured around with a few extra breaks to warm up. We had a decent hot chocolate and more than a couple of good beer. We had one outstanding supper meal at a place called Murray Street, on Murray Street. Our best breakfast food was around the corner from the hotel where on the first day I chose the Good Eats because it was in an old house. The food was amazing and the Auzzie chef very friendly. There was a cool old fireplace in there that was inspiration for our upcoming project.
We did not walk the usual amount though as Ron has injured his right knee and my left ankle is still recovering from the last mishap. This, and the weather, meant that we didn’t walk down to the antique stores, our exploring in the Byward Market and our walk along the canal were quite limited. The additional downside was that we didn’t skate on the Rideau canal for all of those reasons.
We spent considerable time at the Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum. Our timing was a bit off though as it was children’s day at the History Museum so it was a zoo. The Winterlude run meeting point was the inside of the War Museum and you guessed it that was when we arrived. It would have worked better if we had turned the days around but we still read a ton and viewed a lot of really interesting artifacts. The Canadian War Museum was overwhelming, rather like the British one in London. A compliment to it was the War Memorial with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The memorial was built in the 20’s but the tomb has only recently been located there so it was fitting to stop there and pay homage to all those Canadians who gave their lives for our freedoms.
Our best impromptu warm up was a walk we took inside the Chateau Laurier. The history and the opulence are both top notch. I must admit I wondered how much rooms were there a night as it would make a fabulous splurge item someday.
We are planning our next trip there already as it has long been on our radar to be at Parliament Hill on Canada Day. It seems obvious to us that we should go in 2017 when it is 150 years as we won’t be around for the 200th anniversary. I was surprised at how busy Parliament Hill was and how long an unguided trip up the Peace Tower took so I can only imagine how insane the lines will be during the Centennial Celebration. None the less I have started researching bed and breakfast options down in the Byward Market area.
We had no capital plan but we had an enjoyable weekend playing tourist. The blog is a nice location for a “travel diary” and in essence this is what I have uploaded. It’s so fresh in my mind that I am still sitting in an airport inputing images and text. I have done my first slide show inside the blog to highlight the photos so I hope it loads without any issues.