A Travellerspoint blog

Week 9

It was time for our first double date, with my new friend Emma Davis and her partner Dev. They suggested a vegetarian restaurant called the Green Door. Not our usual flavour of things but we were keen to try something new. It was an excellent evening catching up, sharing stories and bonding with someone who I only met through the craziness of a lost parcel! It was cool for Ryan to meet Emma and all the parts of the puzzle fell into place. The food took us both by surprise and we could even be converted. Lots of delicious dishes with veges in every way imaginable. It was a buffet style done by weight. Recommended! http://www.thegreendoor.ca/

Ryan posing with a tree.

Wednesday was James’ birthday and Kristina had given us actual printed invitations inviting us which was all very exciting. We headed down to Tuckers Marketplace in the Byward Market http://tuckers.ca/ a buffet style restaurant. Once again, so much food and a great selection.

Cocktails and a paddle sampler of beers.

Check out the salad bar.

There was even a separate Taco bar for making your own tacos, wraps and burritos and a pasta station for making up every pasta combination you could think of.

The dessert section didn’t disappoint. Sprinkles for days, a chocolate fountain and chocolate mousse!

On Thursday we went to Costco with John from course. He had promised for ages that he would take us and we had been harping on about him forgetting to. It is similar to a Moore Wilsons/Toops bulk type place. He took us in his huge flash truck as you need a special membership card to get in. So many cool food things to awe over, these cakes were beautifully done with buttercream roses all for $20! Lots of samples to try as we were walking around including GF pizza, tzatziki on pitas and green chickpeas.

Friday night called for some exploring down Bank Street and finding this awesome whole foods market. Lovely fresh, and organic foods, premade salads, cheeses, and even organic bath salts. Can’t wait to come back here. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/lansdownepark

We stopped in for an icecream and to introduce Ryan to the wonders of Marble Slab Creamery. He didn’t need much convincing! https://www.marbleslab.ca/

I dragged Ryan through Cats R US, an awesome crazy cat lady shop that my many feline loving friends back home would have enjoyed. http://www.catsrus.com/

We had dinner at a lovely little place called Rosies. More crème brulee and awesome lighting in and out!

Flying Monkey Beer.

Saturday was time to drop Ryan off to the airport. We had a quick stop into Rideau to get a new suitcase as Ryan couldnt fit all my new purchases and gifts into his suitcase... When we got to the airport and weighed it, I think it worked out to be about 12kgs of my stuff!!!!!! Ryan is saving me a lot of money on postage, thank you Ryan!

Here is Ryan with his little packed lunch, club sammies, easter choccies and maple bacon chips, not wanting to go home. Big hugs and (maybe) a few tears at the gate and he was off! Thank you for coming and for an awesome couple of weeks.

Sunday we headed out to the EY centre, Gem, Kristina and Julie from course. We started with breakfast at Cora’s, a famous Canadian breakfast joint http://www.chezcora.com/en Somehow in translation my order of ‘Fruit Magic’ was heard as ‘Fruit Muesli’ so after a disappointing first order was returned to the kitchen, out came the magic. Check it out!

We were meant to go to the Craft Show but the Wedding Show was at the same location. Gem is getting married at the end of the year so we decided to do both as with a Wedding Ticket it got you into both. We pretended to part of Gem’s bridal party and got in cheaper. Lots of cool stalls and a few goodies to take home. A few cheeky pics were sent to Ryan back in Australia!!

After that we headed down the hall to the Craft Show. Lots of awesome arts, crafts, jewellery and foodie bits.

This jewellery range was called Balance. All the pieces were made from levels!

Every soap flavour ever imaginable..

I really enjoyed the squirrel baffling birdfeeders. Some people are very clever.

Leather kids footstools and chocolate hummus!

These picture with insets were awesome, and the insets were made from bits of wood, rock climbing ropes, old hockey sticks.. the list continues!

It was time for all the fun and piglettiness to come to an end and get back on that fitness buzz.

A beautiful sunrise to end the week.

Posted by emdaisy 16:53 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 8 & Easter Weekend

A new week began and it was time to explore some more of local Ottawa. We headed down on foot to the bottom of Parliament Hill on the boardwalk beside the canal. The canal is still frozen in parts but not safe for skating. Here's a day view of where we had dinner at the Chateau Laurier castle building.

Check out the staircase and the park bench!

We trekked to the Confederation Love Lock bridge and I surprised Ryan with a pre vivided padlock to add to the thousand others. Its similar to the padlock bridges in Paris and Rome. By the looks of it, some people come back year after year to add a new one to their collection!

We visited the Loft Board Game Lounge http://www.theloftlounge.ca/ during the week, within walking distance of our apartment. Walls filled with every single board game you could think of and even ones that you didn’t know existed! No one wanted to play the Crazy Cat Lady game so we chose a few others and ordered some food. A good way to spend an evening!

Thursday arrived and it was time to set off on our little Easter Adventure. Ryan picked up our rental car like the good little house husband that he is, and then picked Gem and I up from work. The forecast for Thursday was snow, and of all the days to snow while Ryan was here, this could have possibly been the worst. It was coming down hard! We got a little white Fiat 500. It was cute, but we could hardly fit the suitcases in the back (and Ry wished it had a bit more grunt).

We are going away for the same amount of time. Any bets on which suitcase is mine???

The windscreen had frozen over while we were upstairs for about half an hour. Heres me getting the aircon sorted while Ry does all the hard jobs!!
Ry was so excited and it was his first time driving in snow. He did awesome!

First stop for our Easter long weekend: Toronto. It was meant to take about 4 hours to get there, but with all the long weekend traffic and the snow, it took over 5. Ryan wanted to stop at his favourite restaurant for dinner, KFC - he really knows how to treat a lady. Since he was doing such hard work driving I obliged. Here he is in KFC heaven - I think he wishes he was with his KFC crew, Alex and Cody, but had to settle for me!!

Do the taps in the KFC bathroom look like a moose?

I was doing some transport study on the way there. Looking at bridges and intersections and classes of roads and describing them. Even Ry started getting into it "wow look at that awesome bridge". Here are some examples of such excitement.

The highways were long, grey and boring. It quickly turned dark and it felt like we were never getting there. Cars (and trucks!) on the highways were crazy. Everyone drives 120-130km+ and is always in a hurry. We kept a speed of about 115km, but were passed by everyone. The cars here are huge, spesh the large dodge utes, who would get very annoyed when a small little Fiat passed them. I think Ryan got out his need for speed soothed on the trip!!! Apparently the police dont ticket you unless you are going faster than 123km.

We arrived in Toronto! Our hotel was gross and smelt like cigarette smoke. Friday was a day for exploring Toronto. We had breakfast at the hotel and first went to the Royal Ontario Museum https://www.rom.on.ca/en downtown. We got some sweet military discount, and headed in. Some good exhibitions but not a patch on Te Papa.

0 to 100 real quick.

Beck taxis!

We drove around the city and out through the suburbs, the city was cluttered and dirty. Lots of rubbish and debris out the front of houses. We drove around the waterfront and downtown. Parking downtown was expensey, the first park we found was $30 for 2 hours or $50 for 8.... we quickly found a new park.

A delicious lunch at the Loose Moose http://theloosemoose.ca/ Bar and Grill. Heres Ryan with his girly strawberry beer. I liked it better than my drink and wish I had of chosen that instead!

We had a squizz around the Eaton Centre, a huge mall, but it was totally packed and full of annoying people everywhere.
Check out our small carpark win!

We had dinner up the CN tower http://www.cntower.ca/intro.html in the revolving 360 restaurant, continuing on our tradition of dining at these restaurants and similar to the Auckland Sky Tower one that we visited earlier in the year.
The views were great and it was good to get an overview of Toronto. Always keen to get a bit of study in, I was busy breaking out the Billy Bishop Airport as our mains were arriving. We learnt more about Toronto Island from our waiter who told us about the underground pedestrian tunnel to the airport. There are no cars on the island, and you can only get there via ferry or tunnel! https://www.portstoronto.com/The-Airport/Pedestrian-Tunnel.aspx

Next stop: Niagara Falls. Our next hotel was awesome, had a pool and a spa, and opposite Hooters so Ryan was happy.

Niagara was amazing. The first thing we did was go and see the falls. SO MANY TOURISTS! We got sick of the tourists. And the overpriced carparks. Here are the expensive hotels overlooking the falls. Note the Tower Hotel – literally on a stalk so it can get a view!

The spray from the falls was insane. We got drenched. It came right up and over two sets of roads. You could see the cloud from up above. Everyone else seemed to have umbrellas!

We did all the touristy things. It was my idea to go on the Niagara Skywheel, why – I have no idea. It was terrifying! The lady at the bottom told us it would go round three times. It went round about 8. I had had enough after loop 1! On the first rotation the capsule stopped right at the very top, coupled with it swaying in the wind, me noticing the rusty inner mechanisms of the wheel, and then Ryan deciding to rock the boat, I was not in a good place. A few stern words were had! The views were apparently good but I was too scared to look out for most of the ride. I made Ry do photos but he had to do them from a seated position as to not sway the capsule even further!!!!

The Skylon Tower http://www.skylon.com/ in Niagara was great. The best views from up here. Apart from the rickety yellow lifts that go up the tower on the outside. We really saw the falls from all angles. We even went and had a look at night where they have the falls all lit up with pretty colours. The spray clouds at night were just as impressive. A guy from course told me that they capture 30% of the falls water at night and pump it through the falls during the day to make them seem more impressive. Cunning!
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The shopping was really good at the outlet shops we found. Our favourite: the Nike Shop. Lots of bargains but once again Ryan walking out with far more bags than me!

We saw these other crazy shoes that had a little mini air pump attached inside. Strange!

We had to try the new Nutella donut from Tim Hortons.

Clifton Hill is the go to place in Niagara http://www.cliftonhill.com/ - dinosaur mini golf, Frankensteins haunted house, and heaps of food places. The street is packed with people hustling and bustling. We looked in a few souvenir shops but there was sooo much tackiness, including these bling jean hats and Niagara water bottled up.

We visited another souvenir shop and had a token moose photo. This place had a glass blowing factory inside, with people working! Here is the guy making an animal of some sort. I treaded very carefully in the shop as not to break anything.

More dodgy hotels feat holes stuffed with tissues.

The Casino’s were another highlight of Niagara. There were two, so after picking the brains of various staff that we met throughout the day, we decided that we would go to the newer one, Fallsview Casino Resort. It was like going to Hollywood. The casino had a mall, food court, fountain and restaurant! https://www.fallsviewcasinoresort.com/ After a bit of shopping we went inside and Ryan taught me how to play a few new games.
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Heres Ryan caught playing Kitten Caboodle.

We got dinner at the buffet restaurant – the Grand Buffet.
And grand it was. I have never eaten so much in my life. Really reasonably priced at $25 with no tip needed – this included drinks, pizza, curries, sushi, salads, lasagne, roast meat cut fresh off the bone, cheeses, pasta.. you name it! Coupled with an excellent choice of desserts. It was food heaven.

This was how much dessert I could fit in. Stuffed!

In true Emma style something crazy was bound to happen on the holiday and looking back – this was it. Our Niagara style crazy taxi chase. We came out of the casino and jumped in the first taxi we saw that was dropping people off. Apparently, this wasn’t etiquette and what we didn’t realise was that the taxi had pushed in just dropping people off and others had been waiting in line for hours. Cue angry driver: who started yelling at me and banging on his windows, demanding we get into his taxi. Not the best way to attract potential customers I thought, so we got in our taxi. He then rammed up the side of us, blocking us in and so we couldn’t leave the casino! Arguments in English and other languages were yelled between the two drivers.

We drove off and he chased us along the street, pulled into our hotel behind us and starting coming up onto the footpath as we were getting out. Very scary! We wanted to get out of there ASAP. All this arguing for a $7 fare to our hotel. As we departed we didn’t get the number plates of the guy unfortunately as they sped down the street chasing each other.

We went to the second casino the following night, Niagara Casino. Less busy, but less fun. I seemed to be doing much better that night and made a profit of $22! This time we drove so we didn’t have any more crazy taxi escapades like the night before.

Buffets seemed to be the theme of the trip and this time it was a breakfast buffet!

Check out our cute matching supporters outfits. Was a great conversation starter with everyone we met. This, and Ryan’s Air Max shoes. The guy in the Reebok shop asked if he had worn them for ‘Air Max day’ – who knew there was even such a day! Another guy up Mont Tremblant told Ry ‘nice kicks’.

We went for a drive around the Niagara Parkway and out to Niagara on the Lake, just 15 minutes out of the main town. It was such a beautiful day, we couldn’t have asked for better weather.

We had 2 recommendations for wineries to visit from my new friend, Emma Davis. The first one we drove to was closed because of Easter Sunday. But it was meant to be as the second one we went to was a real gem. Caroline Cellars - http://www.carolinecellars.com/

Here we ate the most reasonably priced and best meal of our trip here. French onion baked soup and a steak sammy with real NZ type aioli. The crème brulee was $5!!!!

Ryan let me have a little drive on the other side of the road. Safe to say no one was injured! We drove round to this little beach – on the other side of the water is New York.

We stopped at the floral clock which was meant to be harvesting energy from the power station adjacent but didn’t seem to be working. We stopped and I did a bit more study of this power station … homework never ceases.

Another bridge to NY!

It was time to head home and on the way, we stopped in to Mississauga for lunch (near Toronto). I googled ‘best place for lunch in Mississauga’ and a little place called Jessie’s came up with some good reviews so off we headed. We turned off the main road, and it was down in an industrial area. Looking a bit dodgy, in between a vacuum cleaner and an air conditioning shop. Keeping an open mind, we opened the door and saw a picture off a movie – 6 policeman sitting and eating lunch inside.

The owners were Greek, very authentic Greek, and as soon as they heard us speak they said ‘you must be a long long long way from home’. They loved the accent, they loved NZ, they loved new people coming in and they loved us. They were so kind and over the top, kept pushing food onto us, ‘would you like soup or salad?’ we had to decline as the sandwiches and wraps they made were humongous! They wouldn’t take no for an answer, and before we knew it we had vegetable minestrone, chicken turkey soup and crackers delivered to our table. The owner told Ryan as he went to pay ‘the best thing in life is to keep your woman happy, she looks like a very very nice one’.

The lunch was delicious and we were stuffed. Just as we were about to leave, a huge container of fresh grapes was delivered to the table. The owner told Ry, ‘your wife will make you beautiful babies, make sure you feed her these grapes and keep her happy at all times’. Amen! If you are ever heading through.. Make sure you pay them a visit! http://tastyburgers.ca/tag/jessies/

I wanted to stop at the Air Force Museum on the way home but since it was Easter Monday most things were closed. We took the back roads home and stopped by this frozen lake in the middle of nowhere called Rice Lake.

Boys will be boys and Ryan was literally skating on thin ice as he dragged his big stick out onto the frozen surface and had a little play around.

We got back to Ottawa after about a 6 hour journey and it was the first time that Ottawa and my little apartment has felt like home.

It was good to be home.


Posted by emdaisy 14:20 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 7

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!

Posted by emdaisy 16:41 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 6

The snow has almost almost almost gone!! Who even knew there was snow out the front of our apartment. The sun came out, and we hit the markets after work down in the Byward Market. Lots of cool souvenirs, jewellery and some really cool wooden furniture pieces.
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The homeless people here are very crazy but also very creative.

This special tree grows bows on it in the sushi shop.

Ryan arrived on Friday night! Unfortunately there wasn't quite a limo for his arrival, but an Uber was the next best alternative.
I made him have an obligatory photo in front of the Ottawa sign which he was totally in the mood for after 34 hours of international travel.
Lucky there was a selection of baked goods for his arrival, including his favourites - banana cake, afghans and cheese platters!!

He was feeling good Saturday morning so it was time to show him some of the city. First stop was parliament hill, overlooking the Ottawa river and out to Gatineau. He made a snowball and played in the snow!! A bit of a contrast to the 30 degree Melbourne heat. Lunch at the Rideau and a photo with the Ottawa Moose.

We headed to parliament and booked in for the 2.50pm 'English' tour. Wasnt the best timing as we got in behind a HUGE asian tour group. We had to queue up outside for ages, in the freezing cold. Eventually in and through the door, then came security. Lots and lots of check points, scanning our bodies and x-rays for our bags and watches. My selfie stick was considered a weapon and confiscated!

All the palava was worth it and we learnt a heap about parliament. The tour guide was really helpful, he worked part time and went to uni. The library was circular and awesome.

The best part was saved to last, when we got to go up the 'Peace Tower' which is the huge clock tower with views over the city. The lift had glass doors and we got to see into the tower on the way up and saw all the bells.
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Sunday we had hired a rental car and were ready for our first adventure. Gem, Kristina, James and I designated Ryan as the driver, being the oldest and the best driver. We threw him in the deep end with not many hours sleep and a bit of jetlag, coupled with driving on the other side of the road and a new set of road rules. He did great!!!

We drove to Montebello (about an hour and a half from Ottawa) and to the Fairmount Chateau for our first activity: Dog Sledding. http://www.fairmont.com/montebello It would have been an awesome resort to stay at if we had more time and money. Every winter activity you could ever think of was located at this place. This is the lobby. Inside were families you see on movies - the ones with all the children sitting around playing board games without arguing :)
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The dog sledding was awesome! We all had a go. A 4.1km track around the forest. It was all going well until the driver told us at one point when he told us to "lean" we had to lean else the sleigh would tip and roll and we would be down the bank. That certainly got the heart going!!!! Lucky we stayed in the whole way. The dogs went really fast and snow was flying in all angles. The driver told us they go up to 20 times a day, thats a lot of km's!!!
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This is how the dogs arrive!

After dog sledding we got a mandatory hot choccy and drove down the road to Parc Omega http://www.parcomega.ca/en/ - a drive through animal park. Heres the map of the park.

The website told us to bring along carrots, so we got some at Loblaws before we went. It was really awesome but super busy and heaps of really bad drivers (according to Ryan and James). As soon as we drove in, there was one greedy elk stopping all traffic. Lots of animals - my favourite were the piglets and the moose!

The animals have these awesome huts to shelter in.

Sugar shack and making taffy on ice. The silver buckets on the trees collect the sap on site.

In the park there was a man carving sculptures out of wood. He was very talented. They were doing horse and sleigh rides so we had a little ride around the paddock with the rest of the children.

The park was set out really well apart from the lack of food. There was only food at one end of the park (right near the entrance), which was hard to get to as the park took us 4 hours to get around. We got so desperate we started eating the bags of carrots!!!

The bison were terrifying. They were blocking the road and no one was trying to hurry them along! They came up to the window, I was too scared to touch them. James tried to get a selfie with this bison, and with his back turned, the bison snorted. We all jumped and squealed! It was hilarious. You werent allowed to feed the bison.

You had to stay in the car for the whole park apart from the wolves boardwalk.

After the park, we drove to the closest town as we were all very very HANGRY!! We found a very cute place, but the menus were in french! James has a translation app, which translated the menu items to some very strange things! Our waiter was brilliant, and we all settled on something. This was my creamy mushroom and pesto pasta. It was divine.
Full and content with life!

It was back home to start another week!!!

Posted by emdaisy 14:57 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 5

“Blogging all day”
These blogs literally take all day to write.

Wednesday we got another huge dumping of snow. More frolicking at lunch time, much to the delight of other people in our building who love to make fun of the “funny speaking people whose national icon is a flightless bird”. Some also think Kiwi is a fruit and some can’t quite grasp the concept of the bird.

Huge piled up snow outside work. Place to put used cigarettes – a “Butt Stop”
Snow so high it falls into the bin over top of the rubbish… delightful.
What footpath?

My parcel that was coming from Ryan was posted via international express courier and had taken over three weeks to get here. After checking multiple times a day with the security guards and the clerk at work, I was getting fairly impatient (to say the least)!! I made Ryan dig deep to find the receipt and check the tracking number, which told us that a card to call had been left at work and the parcel was sitting at a Post Shop across the other side of town. I found them online and gave them a call, they definitely had the parcel there. Woo hoo!

We left work at 4pm and traipsed 30 minutes over the other side of town to the far end of Bank Street. Passed this beautiful church and dog park enroute.

We got there, lined up in the humongo queue, finally got to the front and no parcel in sight. The lady looked and looked and looked and couldn’t give me an answer. She took my details and told me she would get her boss to give me a call on Friday (this was Wednesday). I channelled my inner Ramon, and told her that tomorrow is a business day and that to call me on Friday was not good enough. She couldn’t tell me where my parcel was, she couldn’t look up the tracking number, she was useless and I have since discovered Canada Post is just as useless (this was confirmed by the tutors at work and also the millions of complaints online).

Silver lining – Marble Slab Creamery was opposite the post shop. My mint ice cream with unlimited mixins certainly took my mind off things.

Thursday - no one called.

Friday – no one called.

Although Friday we had cake. Jaffa cake. I decided to make 2 large cakes and sandwich them together with chocolate cream. I didn’t have a cake container big enough so this required lugging multiple containers filled with cakes, cream, chocolate sprinkles, spatulas (you name it) on multiple busses halfway across town. It was worth it – everyone raved that it was the best cake ever (funny in fact as it is actually called “The Best Cake In The World” on the website). Here’s the link… http://nzfavouriterecipe.co.nz/recipes/desserts/56-the-best-cake-in-the-world

I thought there would be far too much and heaps of leftovers, seeing as it was actually two cakes, but I have never seen baking go so quickly, some tutors even being seen sneaking a third piece!!!!! No photos unfortunately as no phones are allowed at work.

I had my very first Tim Hortons coffee this week. I am now a true Canadian.
These places are everywhere and are always busy. It was also the day that Lucy, the security guard brought me in a gift of a toothbrush. Is she trying to tell me something?

Julie from course gave us these cool Canadian military buttons as a souvenir. They are from their Army SD Jackets, smaller up the front and larger on the pockets.

Saturday it was Royal Canadian Mounties Police open day out at the college so we caught the bus out early morning. When we arrived there weren’t too many people and we were so glad we got there early as soon came the millions of families with prams and screaming kids. Ugh. The Musical Ride wasn’t in action but we got to see inside the stables - it was interesting seeing the horses lined up, all the same colour and build, about 90 in total! You need to be in the Police for 2 years and then there is a huge screening process and application in order to audition for the Musical Ride. Hopefully we will get to see a performance before we leave Canada. http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/musical-ride

I saw the most beautiful cat way over the other side of the stables behind the roped off area. I called it over, and in true cat whisperer style, it came running over to me. It was super friendly, rolling on its back and letting me scratch its stomach. It jumped up on me and I ended up carrying it around for 10 mins or so and kids were coming up to me asking to pat it. A rider came over and told us her name was Lucy, and one day she arrived at the stables and has never left. Sorry Peach, but she was beautiful!

The horses and riders were so well groomed, and uniforms pristine. We got talking to some of the riders, the one next to me was a dead ringer for President Obama, but when I mentioned it to him he had never heard that before. They certainly got a chuckle out of it and we had an obligatory selfie utilising the tall ones gangly arms to get us all in. A quick stop into the museum and gift shop on the way out was good to learn a little bit more.

Gorgeous Canadian houses still with Christmas decorations up and snow topped trees.

Here I asked for one piece of cheesecake. With my exotic accent, somehow my order came out as one piece of chicken (leg). The lady happily swapped it for me!

After visiting the RCMP we missioned it out to the Aviation and Space Museum. Was a bit of a walk but good scenery along the way. Here is James recreating his current profile pic (where he is doing the same pose with a Rarotongan sunset background) – our big boss at work specifically requested a snow topless selfie.

This huge building we thought was the museum. Turns out it was just the hangar for the flight school next door. The museum is set on an airfield.

We got in for free, military perks! Very very similar logo to ours and they had the same motto.

Lots and lots of old school planes and helicopters as we walked around. The yellow helicopter was my favourite. They even had these cool wooden planes with wheels on the bottom for kids to zoom around in.

Here’s Gem and I about to take off – lucky Gem’s driving and not me.

They also had a space section which had heaps of information from NASA and we all learnt a thing or too. http://www.casmuseum.techno-science.ca/

We were so tired we decided to get our first UBER home. I downloaded the app and within 4 minutes someone had arrived to pick us up and it cost $8 to get home. Winning!!

We went down to the Rideau to finish off our day and stopped in at the Byward Market on the way home to try out Menchies frozen yoghurt. Yum.

Beautiful selection of ball gowns in the ‘Prom’ section of Hudson Bay.

Mona Lisa socks.

They have the cutest range of babies and kids wear here. I could not handle how cute these frilly dresses were! They were in Chapters. Another awesome book store similar to Whitcoulls/Typo/Borders… https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/

Sunday we had an escape room booked but on the way out to Bank Street stopped for a bit of shopping. The pet shop was really entertaining, so many weird and wonderful things. I saw the snake bedding first, and thought it was a bit strange that they would be selling it. After walking around the corner a bit further, we saw the snake enclosure. You can get a Ball Python for $69.99! Terrifying. Other cool products included the BFF cat food, Bison and Elk flavoured dog food, and the huge range of dog “wellies”.

Tick Tock Escape Room was awesome. http://www.ticktock-escape.com/
We all had heaps of fun. An escape room if you don’t already know is where you are locked in a room with 45 mins to escape. All the clues are sequential, and you have to find clues around the room in order to get codes and keys to unlock the locks. A good brain workout!! We got out 5 minutes too late so unfortunately had to add our name to the victim list for the ‘Hangover’ Room. The owner was awesome and loved the accent – thank you, we’ll be back!

My night ended with excellent news. Back to the parcel. Somehow, in the crazy life that we live in, the parcel (with signed tracking) had ended up being delivered to the wrong Emma Davis. Yes, there is another Emma Davis that lives in Ottawa. She was told that she had an international parcel, and she told Canada Post that it definitely wasn’t hers. They then told her, if she didn’t take it, the parcel would be destroyed. Being the good lady that she is, she took the parcel and then went on a mission to find the owner. My secret Facebook name meant that she couldn’t find me, however she found Ryan on FB, and messaged him saying that she had it. In the end, I got her number, rung her, and she ended up delivering the parcel to my apartment. What a lovely lovely lady, who has even promised she will take me out for a drink and show me around Ottawa!!!
Thank you Ryan for sending something so thoughtful all this way. Sorry that I already broke one of the things on Day 2.

Another test down and another pass. Really warm this week, got up to 9 degrees today. The snow has melted outside the apartment and we can see the green lawns for the first time!!! I miss the snow already….

Tuesday was international womens day so I celebrated by getting my nails done.

Croissant dough in a tube! Life is complete.


Posted by emdaisy 15:27 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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