I think I’m getting too old for this. I can’t believe that these thoughts are entering and escaping my head – who wants to feel old?!? – but the truth is I have been squirming in my seat on the plane for the last hour trying to find a way to believe that my knees and lower back aren’t actually starting to ache. Oh and earlier today I was so mad at myself for forgetting to bring my sunglasses along, because it meant I had to squint in the bright sunlight and all I could think about was the new wrinkles that were sure to be forming at that very second. Aaand I just realized as I wrote that last sentence forgetfulness could also be another symptom. I’m rolling my eyes at myself right now….
Let’s back up a little, to yesterday, when I apparently believed I could still pull an all-nighter like a twentysomething. It was Thursday morning and I was trying to figure out how I could be in about 3 different places across the country at roughly the same time. (And failing at that solution, in case you were curious) I realized I would have to scratch PEI and the East Coast off my weekend list, but then had the brainwave that I could take the red-eye flight again from Calgary to Ottawa, spend the day there and still be back in Alberta for my family’s Thanksgiving Dinners on the weekend. Bingo! Two places – one day!!
I did have a valid reason for being in Ottawa today. Last week on my way to Toronto I dropped off our passports at the Vietnamese embassy because Tricia and I need a tourist visa stamped prior to our trip in less than two weeks!! so I needed to be back to pick them up today. (It was more fun this way than mailing the passports… just roll with it.) And I was pretty excited about another chance to stroll around Canada’s beautiful capital city, which is clearly way better than sitting at home brooding about all the adult stresses I have. My luck with the standby flights continued to hold and my plan worked, so I had a great day and am thrilled with it all. Just not my aging knees.
Alright, let’s get to the interesting parts, shall we? Here’s Ottawa in a day.
I took the bus from the airport downtown and then started walking to the embassy. Should have been a quick 35 minute walk but I was distracted every few minutes with all the things I wanted to take pictures of. I’m a sucker for nature in cities.
After I finished collecting the passports, I went to see the exhibits at the National Gallery of Canada. Beautiful. I love museums and galleries, and I passed more than 2 hours here today. This is despite the main exhibition wings being closed for renovations. I’ll need to come back again after May 2017 when it’s all reopened for Canada’s 150 birthday.
After the Gallery I walked past and through beautiful buildings and neighbourhoods slowly arrived at the Byward Market. This is several blocks of outdoor markets and vendors, eateries, entertainment, and an all around good time.
Ok, the Beaver Tail stand is worth mentioning. In my experience when asked what a uniquely Canadian food is, the first answer is Poutine and the second, after some hesitation, is generally “Beaver Tails?”. Not very common in Alberta (yet?!) so today was my first taste of the amazing fried dough with cinnamon and sugar. It’s somehow so much better even than it sounds, and I’m already addicted.
After that fat-bomb of deliciousness I made a healthy effort to pick up the pace and walk a little quicker than the slow saunter I’d be doing all day. This brought me to the Rideau Canal Locks and Parliament Buildings, where I of course had to slow down again for the gazillion photo ops.
I would have gone for a guided tour inside the Parliament Building, but it was so nice outside there was no way I was going to miss anymore of the sunshine! Instead I plunked down on the lawn, took my shoes off, and enjoyed pretending it was still summer while I people watched other tourists. And took pictures. I would have had a cute selfie here, except I had to block out the wrinkling-and-squinting glare from the sun…. After this was more walking to see some of the monuments to great historical Canadians, and then back to the airport for me.
My four hour flight tonight has gotten me back home, and it’s just after 11pm on Friday. I can’t wait to get home and crawl in to bed, but it’s a good thing I did take advantage of the summer weather in Ottawa – Calgary had winter today! My car is encased in a sheet of ice, but at least I can finish up this post while I wait for the windshield to defrost…