Ottawa Travel Blog› entry 18 of 68 › view all entries
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, just as Washington, DC is the U.S. capital. With about a million people, it's a sizable city.
Our lovely campground is owned by the City of Ottawa and is a bit west of town. We arrived yesterday afternoon and Carly and Nicole in the office are very nice.
This morning at 9am, from the campground office, we took the Grey Line tour's trolley bus directly into the center of Ottawa. From there we bought a $65 family, one-day, bus tour pass (you had to pay at the kiosk, rather than on the bus).
Every hour you could catch a bus. We MISSED the bus at:
10 am- A special Inspection of the Ceremonial Guard was going on nearby at the Parliment Building- very exciting and one poor chap fainted, but he was alright.
11 am- We were walking along the Rideau Canal then. You can even cross over it by walking on the top of the gates! Near the waterfall! You'd never see that in the U.S. Exciting!
12 noon- We were eating at a lovely cafe that had all three of my alfresco eating requirements: flowers, umbrellas , and metal (not plastic) chairs. Very nice!
1 pm- Naaa! Just kidding. We finally made this bus! We rode around to nearly all of Ottawa, admiring all the Embassies, museums, houses of the rich and famous, the Royal Mounted Police horses, etc.
We jumped off at the Bywatch Market which had streets of vendors, produce, Canadian items, buskers, a radio station coming to you live, and beaver tails, which are fried dough pancakes with stuff like cinnamon, maple syrup, crumbled oreos, or other similarly healthy ingredients.
We ate our way around, trying poutine, which is a french dish of french fries with brown gravy and cheese curds (tasted better than it sounds). Chocolate truffle cake, an Obama cookie from the place where he came after taking office, etc. It was tough but someone had to do it.
Our bus load from the campground including a rousingly fun group of Canadians (5 from B.C. although not traveling together), and one Australian. And Texans, of course. Speaking of which, there's a Texas rig in the Rib Festival tomorrow and we noted that one award banner they displayed was a 2003 Best Taste from Spring, TX.
Our bus driver offered and we provided consensus for approval to detour to the state liquor shop where I got a bottle of Ontario wine and one recommended by our B.C. friends from their Okanagan region. The kids also shopped... next door at the grocery store!
The bus (trolley) driver brought us back to the campground, which took a long time in the traffic, dropping us off at our camper. For just $65 plus tips, we got the half hour ride to town, the hour back to the campground, and a hop-on-off bus tour with commentary around town. Very worthwhile for 4 people!
Ottawa impressions: A very clean, nice, respectable city with good places to eat, museums to visit, and recreation opportunities along the Ottawa River through town. I wouldn't hesitate to spend time here enjoying in depth all that it has to offer. It is lovely. Not nearly as entertaining as Toronto, but a nice, smaller city. Most of the people were very nice too.
We spent a great deal of time in the RV tonight tracking and killing mosquitos. This is serious sport when the penalty for missing is being eaten all night! They are VICIOUS. For example, I rolled up one vent to get rid of a monster mosquito stuck in there and then I rolled it back down with now three caught between the screen and vent lid! I tried again, this time using the hairdrier to blow them out as I lifted the vent lid, which finally worked.
Tomorrow, Montreal! (Lord willing)