I had booked us group tickets for an Ottawa Senators vs Minnesota game. We headed down to Rideau to catch the bus out to the Canadian Tire Centre. Its a big arena where they have concerts and sports games. http://www.canadiantirecentre.com/ It took about 30 minutes to get there via bus. The place was huge and there was quite a bit of security to get in. They wouldn't even let me bring in an empty water bottle!
There was far more food and shopping selections around the concourse compared to the Wellington caketin.
We had dinner at Smoke's burritorie. Its like a poutineorie but for burritos! I ordered something called the 'Devil Chicken' burrito. Wow wee it was spicy! Ryan ended up with two burritos and he was happy. We sat with Julie from course and her partner Doug. The others were round the other side - if we all sat together it was going to be an extra $50 per ticket!
Bobby Ryan is one of the senators best players so we had a photo in the hall of fame https://www.nhl.com/player/bobby-ryan-8471676
Ryan has been hit on three times so far by homeless men. This is my personal favourite outfit. Can you blame them with this attire? He got offered to share half a can today with one guy. Lucky he declined.
LCBO http://www.lcbo.com/content/lcbo/en.html#.VwGvt-IrLIU is an awesome liquor shop. I took Ry in there to show him the great NZ selection of wines, and we even had a look at the Australian section. Not bad!
By Thursday night we were missing a the taste of home so it was time for a Creamy Chicken Pie by Chelsea Winter. What a mission it was to find pastry! Eventually (after asking the man) we found something called 'phyllo' - filo? In the end, under his recommendation, we went for a premade piecrust shell. They are all the rage here, you fill the shell with filling and then place the other one on the top. Voila!
Jeremy had booked us into an Escape Room down in the Byward Market. After pie gorging we walked down. A very cute asian lady was running things, and took us to the lounge to watch the pre video to set the scene. She turned off the lights and shut the curtain door while we were watching. When the video finished, she came up to the door and said 'woooooooooooooooo' in a real monotone voice - the timing was excellent and we were in fits of giggles. She had informed us we had booked the hardest room available and we were sure we wanted to do it! As this was most of our only second time doing an escape room we thought we could be swayed but Jeremy was keen to give it a go.
It was HARD! It was a science themed room. Here is the gross mangled professor after he got locked in the room. We walkie talkied her for our two clues but we still couldnt get out. Still, heaps of fun though! Here is the team getting stuck in.
We had dessert afterwards at Oh So Good Desserts http://www.ohsogooddesserts.com/ delish! Here are the million tarts, cakes, cheesecakes, mousse cakes etc etc more than you could ever imagine!
Mine was Ferrero Rocher and Ry had white chocolate. Far to delish and rich to finish it all.
I couldn't let the Friday baking slip just because Ryan was here, so strawberry tarts it was. The little shells come premade from LobLaws (winning) and are a steal at 50 for $5! I had pre made the custard before we went out, (what a mission it was finding and explaining to people what custard powder was)! Ryan did all the spooning in and I disappeared to have a shower, and when I came back 30 strawberries were beautifully cut up and tarts decorated! Apparently his friend Cody was a bar tender and taught him a thing or two when they lived together. Thank you Cody, I owe ya!
P.S they went down a treat at work!
Friday night we had a rental ready for our weekend adventures, and so we headed out to Tanger Outlets, which is a big outside mall with outlet stores http://www.tangeroutletcanada.com/ottawa lots of good shopping but once again, Ryan walking out with many many bags and me not so many!!! It was freezing walking between the stores, cute wee outdoor fire to warm everyone up.
We had beaver tails for dessert, yum!
A quick stop in to Ikea on the way home. Way too exciting for us kiwis, Ryan has seen it all before. Personal favourites: this kitchen with a built in present wrapping drawer.
Left a drink bottle in the rental car overnight and it was frozen when we came out in the morning.
Saturday: it was time to head to Mont Tremblant, a small mountain town about two hours away, with skiing and activites in Quebec http://www.tremblant.ca/ it was recommended to us by a course mate, and we are so glad we went! We drove through cute little towns all the way to what seemed like the middle of nowhere. When we came round the bend, and were amazed at the million zillion cars in the car park. We parked up the hill, and did a quick strip off and all got changed into our merino thermals and jackets. We defs needed them - it was freeing! Then we caught the free shuttle bus down to the town centre.
Being cheesy on the fake chairlift.
It was beautiful! Shops at the bottom, clocktower in the middle and then a short ski lift up to the main area. Ryan only tried to push me off once and rock the lift once so I guess it could have been worse.
We got to the top of the first lift and were amazed with the amount of people out and about and skiing!
Our first stop for lunch - nachos and hotdogs. Very overpriced, but hey you are in the middle of nowhere. Check out the cool ceilings of the restaurant.
A short walk around exploring the small town and we were ready to book in for our first activity, snowmobiling!
We booked and paid and not long after we were off, Kristina & James, Ryan and I.
We jumped in the van with our hilarious french tour guide and drove off to a destination about half an hour away. We got all suited up, this included snowboots, dungarees, jackets, leather mittens, balaclavas and helmets. The man asked Ryan what size his wife would be! So glad we got the gears as boy did we need them! We then drove another ten mins down the road to where the snowmobiles were. We were lucky, these snowmobiles were brand spanking new.
After a few important safety briefs, we were off! I nearly swallowed my tongue as we first pulled off - Ryan driving and me a passenger. Its not like a motorbike where you sit close to the driver, you're stepped up high on another smaller seat with two handles to hold onto. We drove through beautiful snowy country, on the special snowmobiling tracks. We had to keep to the right as we passed other snowmobiles along the way! In total we did 50km and at speeds of up to 70km! I took a few videos before my iPhone got frostbite and died.
Halfway along, in the middle of nowhere, we stopped at a Sugar Shack. These beautiful horses towing a cart were outside. Quick pitstop and a photo and we were back on the mobiles heading back home. So much fun - definitely recommend it!
Our next stop was the Scandinave Spa in Mont Tremblant http://www.scandinave.com/en/tremblant/ - what a lovely experience after a day of snowmobiling! Bit pricey to get in, and after paying extra to hire bathrobes, we were off. The idea is 15 mins hot, cold wash and then 15 mins of relaxation. There are lots of different temperature spa pools and saunas, then cold showers (with water straight from the river) and cold pools to quickly sit in, and then nice indoor rooms or outside deck chairs by the fire for you to relax in. I think we repeated the process about 4 times! There is peppermint tea and ice tea to drink while you are relaxing. No phones and no photos and definitely no talking! People come round and tell you off if you are talking - they are wearing black jackets with silent police written on the back. The lady at the desk recommended that for one of our 'cold' washes we got in the river. We thought she was kidding - she wasn't. I definitely wasn't keen, but somehow in a mad panic at about 8pm in the middle of bloody nowhere, Ryan convinced Gem and I!!!! We dunked ourselves in the 0 degree river head and all. Ive never moved so quickly. Madness.
On our way home the next day we stopped to get a photo of the river podium that we got in. If you can spot it through the trees, its a little wooden barge with metal rails. BRRRRRRRR!
When we were parking up to go in we spotted this beautiful young deer just in the trees in the carpark. So cute! Ryan went and talked to it - if you look closely you can see it in the back of this shot.
We went to a delicious mexican place for tea - this was greek salad, with yellow tomato canneloni. One of the best meals yet!
After another rather brisk morning....
.....it was time to head back to Mont Tremblant! Gem was heading up the mount to go skiing, so we saw her on her way. She said the slopes were insane and you could ski both sides of the mountain.
Check out the go pro helmet mounted cams on these two.
The rest of us were off fat biking. Its like mountain biking, but on snow, with thick tyres for extra traction. Ryan is really good at mountain biking but he held his tongue for most of the way with us beginners. I only fell off twice, so Im thinking thats pretty good for me! There was a bit (well, a few bits) that were far too scary for me so I turned around with Kristina and let the boys go up the slopes... surprisingly we met up with them down the track, no injuries!
Beautiful countryside along the way altho someone always thinks its a race...
A cute little heated hut in the middle of no where - just incase cross country skiiers, hikers, or fat bikers get lost!
Picnic table covered by the snow.
We started to get a bit despo along the way, and really needed a drink. Icy snow treats it was! #wheninrome
We followed the track back and then all of a sudden got a bit lost and ended up coming out to the main road. Fat biking on the road it was! Gave us a nice overview of Mont Tremblant as we cycled back to drop off the bikes.
We ate like kings at another over priced but well deserved lunch date.
A spot of afternoon shopping, we were excited to find NZ icebreaker merino in the middle of nowhere up a mountain! Ryan tried on some of the funny kids helmets.
We found Gem, a few cheesey photos ad it was time to head home. We had a dinner date with the WODF! http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/about-us/key-personnel/20070723-wo1jc.htm
A friend of mine from my old civilian Defence days, Danny had messaged me on FB to say he was going to be over with the CDF in Ottawa and if we would be free to catch up! Of course we were free. We came home and in a mad panic got changed into something nice. II didnt notice anything when we all met up in the lobby, but when Kristina and Ry were walking to the bus stop, it clicked. They were totally wearing matching ying yang outfits. Hilarious!
Off we headed to the Fairmont Chateau Laurier http://www.fairmont.com/laurier-ottawa/ a super flash hotel just down the road where they have a restaurant attached. A few drinks turned into dinner turned into dessert and more drinks, all shouted for us. Thank you Sir! A great leader and an awesome person. He had asked if I wanted anything brought over from NZ, I couldnt really think of anything so said some Kiwi souvenirs. Wow, did he deliver - with a huge bag of all cool Warrant Officer badges, pins, ANZAC bits and bobs, RNZAF womens 75 year celebration gears.. the course mates were certainly happy with the loot!
He also presented me with this beautiful manaia bone pendant. I was blown away! How blessed. He said it was to protect me in my time away from home. What a sweetie.
A few cheesie photos in the make shift photo booth and it was home to bed. Another week down!
More decadent treats - caramel covered toffee apple!