A Travellerspoint blog

Week 14

Another week down! It’s starting to be the downwards slope towards the end of course and I still have a lot of baking supplies in the cupboards. Time to get crazy in the kitchen! I’m not eating sugar or flour but that doesn’t mean everyone else has to stop too..

Tuesday we had some crazy fog weather where you could barely see a few steps in front. Made for an eerie morning!

At work they are having a ‘silent auction’ fundraiser and asking for donations of household items. They were super keen for some NZ items, so I donated a few kiwiana gift packs – with what they called toque’s (beanies)! I also made 3 cookie mixes in jars which went down a treat with all the males in the basement. There is a spreadsheet where you put your bids into over the next month.

A bit of a quiet week at work, we have moved onto our next topic – which seems to be everyone elses favourite apart from mine.. Aircraft! Overall I’m currently beating all the Canadians and coming top of the class so can’t complain with that (baking must be working)!

Friday night it was girls night and it was a beaut arvo so Julie from course took us out for a stroll to this lake beach called Riverside Park. It was really peaceful and the first time we had seen sand in a long long time! We walked through to Mooney’s Park and then to the Hog’s Back Falls on the Rideau River.
Hogs Back Falls:

We headed back to Julie’s apartment for a spa and then out for tea at the Fox and Feather, a local bar near Julie’s apartment downtown. We stopped to read the menu outside and an older guy who was outside told us that the food and service was really great. Not needing much convincing, we were inside – turns out that he was the owner!

Few drinks and the most delicious chicken greek salad and baked French onion soup. Might have to start making this, it is delicious!!!!

We walked home through town, saw parliament for the first time in the dark. It looked amazingly medieval! (comparison from the next day)

A bit of shopping in the weekend, its funny what you find around the place!

This bookshop was hilarious. The guy behind the counter was very strange, and when I mentioned how this place would cope in an earthquake he didn’t seem to enjoy the joke! Books went literally from floor to ceiling. It was too overwhelming to even know where to start that I couldn’t bring myself to touch anything. Gem did and a small pile of books toppled over!!

Can you see the shark cloud?

Bus travel hit an all time low on Sunday when I saw an old man picking out his nose hairs with tweezers and then blowing them round the bus. I had to walk in front of him to get out the bus back door, don’t think I have ever moved so quickly!!! I appreciate his dedication to manscaping… but time and a place, time and a place!!!!

Posted by emdaisy 15:44 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 13

ANZAC DAY in Ottawa 2016! What a cool thing to be a part of. It was held at the War Museum downtown. In our lovely (so flattering…not) SD uniforms it was onto the bus and down to the museum. It was great to not have to be up and ready for a dawn parade, the Aussies were organising it and so it started at 0900. The service was lovely, the wreaths were beautiful and there were PIES!!! The Canadians were loving them, after they got over the fact that they weren’t filled with apple and berries. There was Vegemite and Anzac bikkies, can’t complain!

Anzac biscuit on ANZAC Day.

Here’s the whole NZ contingent, including the high commissioner – surprisingly a lot of random Navy officers lurking around Ottawa.

Here’s my PO (Petty Officer) isn’t he a doppleganger for…. RAMON DAVIS??????????!!!! I’ve told him he can be my work dad haha.

The War Museum is huge!

It was time to try cutting back on all the sugary treats that Canada has to offer and try a new way of eating – Low Carb High Fat (LCHF). It’s been fun researching, instagramming and pinteresting for new meal ideas..
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99% chocolate and spaghetti squash are awesome.

Making ‘oopsy rolls’, ‘fathead’ crackers and keto cheesecake. Google it, they are awesome!

Our holiday is getting very close, added all the destinations into my weather app on my phone, such a difference in temperature.

Saturday was time to head to Hintonburg to check out a fabric fair. So many cool things, but having limited bag space was a great restraining factor. So many talented and crafty people in one place.
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A quick look around the shops and it felt like I was home again!

It was back to the War Museum to have a proper look around. Defence wins = free entry, and the cashier offering to buy me a drink! The exhibitions were really well set out and covered heaps. http://www.warmuseum.ca/

There was a huge open area with an array of tanks, armoured vehicles, field hospital vans, ship deck guns, submarine torpedo's.. you name it! Great for a bit of weekend recognition practice. There was a special concrete enclosed area with a tomb of an unknown soldier and a place to sit and reflect.

Sunday, Gem and I were invited out to brunch to catch up with our Army friends doing another course here in Ottawa. They chose a very hipster joint, which served drinks in mason jars and didn’t serve milkshakes – but did serve booze!

The bathrooms were something off Pinterest – just beautiful, but little did I know a disaster had occurred right under my nose! Cue missing jersey… and upon checking behind the door.. I noticed it had fallen off my bag and was ¾ in the loo.. RIP jersey!!

A fun bit of shopping in the arvo and found this hilarious puffer skirt.. who would have thought!!!

Posted by emdaisy 16:51 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 12 - Montreal Fieldtrip

We were off to Montreal for our much anticipated fieldtrip! We caught an Uber to work as we each had a suitcase and backpack and couldn’t face the thought of catching two busses and walking with all our bags as we had to be at work for a 7am start.

I was in Van 3 which we deemed the “cool van”. We started the day with a hiss and a roar only to get 10 mins down the road and stop for about half an hour for coffee at Tim Hortons. This continued to be the theme of the week and very different to any NZDF fieldtrip we’ve ever been on before! The baking was well received and not to be outdone Nick went and got us 50 Timbits from Tim Hortons (mini donuts) to share in the van. It took about two hours to get to Montreal and the guys warned us about the crazy Montreal drivers who are world famous in Canada for being mental cases. They were right!!

Our first stop was the St Lambert locks. We learnt about these in class but I didn’t realise that such large boats could fit into the lock. In these pictures you can hopefully make out a large green ship. We went into the control tower and then outside down the pier.

We checked into our hotel, Square Phillips and the afternoon was ours! Exploring downtown Montreal. We had a group lunch at Les Brasseurs where they spoke mostly French. They had a brewery onsite and make beer-cocktails! The food was excellent. Gem and I’s first stop was to hit the underground mall. Heaps of cool shops all held underground for those winter months.

So many levels!

Liked the name of this shop!

The breakfasts at the hotel were really nice and so much selection. Apparently the prime minister was staying there last year while they were on the same field trip, so you get an idea of how nice the place is!

Throughout the week we had more visits. My favourite was the satellite communication station! The guy was really lovely and has these beautiful offices surrounded by satellites. They were huge! I asked if we could climb up one as I saw some stairs and he said yes! Our course staff were impressed as no one had ever asked that before and they had never been up. The floor was mesh and it was freaky.

We climbed this one and this is the view from the top.

Lunch at Saint-Sauveur which was a cute little French town. Wish we could have spent some more time here but we ordered lunch at the slowest serving place in the world (the food was delicious when it did eventually come though)!! The menu was in French so I just pointed to a picture of what looked nice on the menu. I didn’t tip very much as I had to make my own green tea!

Gorgeous churches and clothes shops next to vape shops haha.

We spent the arvo looking around the ‘Old Montreal’ Port and ‘Old Montreal’ streets. Felt like we were in Europe with the sun shining and the cobblestone pavements. Sunny but super windy. Here they have created a ‘beach’ for all the high rise apartments that they have built nearby. There are BBQs and deckchairs but no swimming allowed.

Lots of good food was had throughout the week and it was surprising that I didn’t have to purchase new pants to fit into. My two favourites were the baked brie with mini toasts, pesto and red pepper jelly I had at a bar and the goats cheese crème brulee and green apple salad I had at Beaver Hall restaurant where we went on our last night.

We visited a Steel Mill and looked around the premises. These were the more intricate pieces in the foyer! We had to wear hard hats and steel caps walking around the floor.

We also went to Mirabel Airport, up the control tower and a zooming tour around the perimeter and facilities within. It’s a bit of a sad story, you can read more about it here http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/montreal-s-abandoned-mirabel-airport-too-costly-to-repurpose-1.1967712 Basically they built this huge passenger airport but it never went ahead, and as we were driving up we saw them demolishing the main passenger terminal. They have now transformed the facility into a cargo airport, the whole place felt a bit spooky.
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We got to have a tour of the fire department on site at Mirabel Airport. That was cool and they showed us their brand new truck, costing over a mil, complete with a ‘snozzle’ which is a specially designed piece of apparatus which pierces through the side of the plane and shoots water or foam onto the fire! They gave us a demo and we all oooh and ahhhh’d over it. I even touched the snozzle!

More exploring and takeaways from this gorgeous little Asian restaurant.

We stopped in for a world famous in Montreal ‘Orange Julep’ from the famous orange dome building (I thought it looked more like a Cadbury Jaffa) – I couldn’t stomach one quite that early in the morning but reports in said they were good. Sort of like an orange milkshake/smoothie.

We visited a railyard maintained by the CP Police (special police for rail) – there are only 100 guys to cover all of Canada. The yard was really impressive and this part of the yard was 30 tracks wide! We saw a circular turntable and learnt about some of the equipment. We spent the afternoon at a military base checking out workshops and supply chains and tanks!

Our last night in Montreal, and it was the queens bbirthday so we decided to treat ourselves with a flash dinner. The dinner was superb, and when the boys were outside the waiter came up to Gem and I with a gift of a jar of Creton (meat spread) which we were very thankful for, and he said if we didn’t manage to get through it all we could take it home. We later find out, that he has lumped $10 on the bill for it!!! The cheek!!
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Happy birthday John! John is a volunteer firefighter in his spare time. We made him a famous kiwi ‘chocolate story’ board. He was very touched.

The pack up began as we headed back to Ottawa. Check out the 'lost in translation' version of my new name.

The weekend was a chill and lazy one, but I managed to go on my very first outdoor Ottawa run. Headed down the Rideau Eastern Pathway alongside the river where it was so warm with great scenery! In the distance you can see Parliament Hill and the Peace tower. My first 7km run since being here. Need to get back into it! We caught up for dinner with two army friends who are in town on a different course. All you can eat sushi!! This was one of the many plates that we had. Delish!

Spring is definitely here, haven’t seen so many colours of flowers before!

Fiddleheads? :)

These two displays next to each other are dangerous.

I checked out the Museum of Nature http://nature.ca/en/home which is located in this amazing castle building. The huge glass bit is home to a giant blow up jellyfish thing. Some cool exhibitions and gemstones and stained glass.

I did see some dinosaurs inside.

Spent the evening ironing up my flash gears for ANZAC Day tomorrow down at the War Museum. We are lucky its a 9am ceremony not a dawn parade this year!

Posted by emdaisy 15:44 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 11

The sickness still continued during the week and by Tuesday I was barely coping. Since we aren’t on a base there is a very technical and complicated process for going to medical. You have to go all the way out East to the hospital where they have a special military wing attached! I went into the Warrants Office just to ask about where it was and if I should go in after work…. All of a sudden I’m a full blown emergency and everyone is fighting over who is going to drive me out there! We’re not meant to miss any class so I had to stay till 6pm to catch up on work that I had missed and get my brief ready for the following day.

We headed out to the hospo and the whole process took 4 hours – should have known it would be similar to A&E back home. Didn’t help that I was a foreigner and the receptionist couldn’t understand my accent and had to create a new profile for me in her system! Anyway it was all a bit of an experience and the total drama queen I am, it just turned out to be a cold. They have an in-house pharmacy with pharmaceutical officers working there – I left with a huge bag of drugs with bilingual labels, none of which I had ever heard of before!

The most intriguing was the Nasal Rinse – or “nasal douching” – as I prefer! The lady gave me a warning that I wasn’t going to like it but to stick with it as it does work. Her one piece of advice – don’t breathe from your nose while completing it!!!! Lots of giggles and scary thoughts were exchanged between the two of us, I got it home and of course wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The box was huge and contained 50x sachets for rinsing (yikes)! Anything that comes with an instruction book 32 pages long was fascinating enough. After all the hype, it wasn’t actually that bad and I coped. Yay for being an adult!

Martin from work swapped me a whole bunch of cool Canadian patches, flags and crests! How lucky am I.

More all day tests, all day staring at a computer and slumped over in office chairs slowing damaging our backs. Friday was baking day and this week it was savoury muffins with salami, cheese, onion, pesto, mustard, chives and tomato! They went down a treat.

Friday night was finally time to head out to the ever elusive John from course’s Sugar Shack that he has on his property. He has been telling us what he does at night – instead of studying he goes home to harvest Maple Sap and boil it up into syrup. After work he drove us out to his property in Quebec. He took us on a little tiki tour on the way out, as it took nearly an hour to get there.

We stopped off at IGA which is a little 4-Square type corner store to get some supplies for the BBQ. He pulled into the Great Canadian Bungee in Chelsea as they have just pulled out the crane over the water in preparation for the bungee season which starts soon (winter it is folded back to secure it from the snow). Gave me the heebee jeebees just looking at it - it was high! http://www.bungee.ca/

We stopped at the Wakefield Bridge which is a pedestrian and cyclist bridge rebuilt by volunteers after the previous one was destroyed in a fire.

John's parents house was gorgeous! Courtnay and John live in the basement. I dont blame him as I wouldnt want to move out of here. They have chickens and roosters and two big dogs. This is Garth helping with the dishes! He is allowed up on the leather couches too after hes rolled in mud and snow!! The chickens little hutch has an internal bit so they can shelter in the garage during snow.

John took us on a wee tour and showed us his little barn where they sit and boil up the maple sap to make syrup. He showed us how you drill the trees, attach a bucket and how the sap flows. We got to try sap straight from the tree! Tastes like sugar water. We all didnt realise its actually clear when it comes out of the tree, and the boiling process is what turns it the amber colour. John was super excited to show off his new purchase - his tractor - and gave the girls a wee turn at driving!

The boys did the BBQ and us girls did the salads and made all the appetizers. We ate so many appetizers that we had a very late dinner. Kiwi onion dip came to the party as did Pineapple Lumps. The open fire was burning and we had lots of laughs!

We stayed the night and in the morning Courtnay cooked us a huge feast of bacon, french toast, fried banana and homemade maple syrup. Was delish! We started off on Day 2 of John's tours and went up to the historic Wakefield Mill. http://www.wakefieldmill.com/en/home.aspx A beautiful hotel, restaurant and spa overlooking this!

A bit of shopping in downtown Wakefield (a bilingual town) looking around the gift and souvenir shops, bakeries and petshop! http://wakefieldquebec.com/
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A walk along the old rail line and overlooking the Gatineau River, even found the old turntable for the rail line. These pontoon barges had little houses on and people were living in there as we could see toast crumbs through the window!

The military guys had a photo outside the Wakefield Cenotaph.

We stopped for a snack at 'Jean Burger' the closest thing yet that we have seen to a fish and chip shop.

John and Courtnay dropped us back to the apartment late afternoon. John said that was the first time in about a year he had been back to town in the weekend!!! John refilled my little empty bottle of maple syrup so Ive got some own for the apartment.

Sunday was spent getting ready for our field trip next week to Montreal. Gem & I headed out to Walmart to get supplies and run a few errands. The sun was out and it was 22 degrees! We were passed by a horse and cart down Rideau Street.

The afternoon was spent baking up a storm with some "kiwi" road trip treats. Bring on Van #3!!!


Posted by emdaisy 17:39 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 10 - the halfway point!

We passed the halfway point so it was time to start the countdown apps on my phone. End of course, Contiki and seeing Peach are all very exciting things to look forward to!

Tuesday a snow storm came out of nowhere! Since we work in the basement we have no idea whats going on in the real world. When we pop up out the stairs to this…
Heres the construction site outside work, where they are making a light rail line through town.
It was literally a white out. Sitting on the couch I couldn’t see anything out my apartment window.

Another test down usually calls for a trip for Gem and I to get ice cream. This week was no different, we went to our usual fave – Nestle – but the door was shut. When we looked through the windows, the tables and chairs were gone, ice cream machines ripped out and there was rubbish everywhere. A notice was up in the window saying that they owed $71,000 in rent – yikes! We had just been in here two weeks earlier with Ryan!
We had to make a trip to our second fave - Menzies.

Friday night we were invited to drinks by the new NZ High Commissioner in Ottawa, Daniel Mellsop. The four of us kiwis went along with two army guys who are also in town. We thought it would be a huge thing, but turned out just to be us and his three office staff! The mix of accents were so refreshing to hear, the NZ wine was flowing and the cheese and grape platters were delish. We stayed for a few hours, then Daniel had to leave, but we were having a such a good time we stayed on and partied with the office staff! The offices were amazing, all kiwiana and green themed. Thanks for a great night.

Saturday we got to experience the lovely ‘Érablière du Nouveau Monde’ - a beautiful little family sugar shack in the middle of nowhere in Quebec (literally, it took 2.45 hours to get there!). Look at the lollies in the petrol station enroute. Bulk bin NZ style!

One of the guys from the basement had organised to take us as it is owned by his brother and family. We went up with a group of 10 of us. When we finally arrived we were greeted to this cute little wooden cabin, with blue gingham table cloths and matching pottery dinnersets. The room had a projector and screen and they were playing folk music videos. We were greeted by the lovely family, and our host was called Frank. He was hilarious and took a special liking to me right from the start as I greeted him with a hug which took him by surprise!

We sat at the table and food just arrived. It was awesome, but you never knew when it was going to stop or what would be coming up next. We started with these…
Deep fried pigs ears!!! Apparently a Frenchie delicacy, they were all hoeing into them so I was brave and gave it a go!!! Totally not for me but fun to try it haha. Next came the home grown pickles, grandmas recipe of green tomato ‘ketchup’ (chutney!) and pickled beets. Then we moved onto delicious split pea soup and bread rolls. Then it was time for the main course. Mini sausages in maple water, fluffy egg quiche, spuds, beans.. you name it. Cocktails continued and dessert was a range of things you could choose off a tray, I had a sugar tart and a French meringue cream. If that wasn’t enough, then came out the pancakes with maple syrup, tea and coffee and more drinks. The rest of the group covered EVERYTHING in maple syrup, doesn’t matter if it was sweet or savoury, pigs ears…

The bar was made from tree branches and decorated in fairy lights, so cute. The cutest part was that the 12 year old twins served the food at the table – such well mannered kids.
By this stage we had had enough food to last us all winter and it was time to go, but Frank took us outside and let us have a go at rolling our own taffy on ice. I honestly couldn’t fit one more morsel into my mouth but they wouldn’t take no for an answer, and before you know it I was having a Bridget Jones moment and getting taffy stuck in my hair. Hahahaha only me. Thank you for having us it was awesome!

The evening was spent cleaning and sweating off the food coma, and skyping with Darcy!

Sunday was time to use my voucher that Ryan had got for me earlier in the week for passing all my exams and making it this far unscathed! I walked down to the Iso Spa on Bank Street. http://www.isospa.ca/ is only two months old and is Ottawas only Float spa! They have 4x of these pod like tanks which are filled with Epsom Salts. You float around in the tank, relax, unwind and destress, and block out real life.
The owner was called Mika and he was really lovely. It is all self contained in the room with a shower included. Im a little bit claustrophobic so I was a bit worried but it was totally fine. You can have the lid as open or as closed as you feel comfortable with, same with the lights on or off. The relaxing music lasts for the first 10 mins, and comes on for the last 10 mins to gently wake you up. The lights flick on with 5 minutes to go and failing that the filtering system will wake you up as it cleans the tank after an hour. Of course I slept through everything and woke up to being flushed away down the tank – not quite but for the story we will roll with it – I slept for about 40 minutes, with the lid totally closed, lights off and a pool noodle behind my neck. Pure bliss! Thanks Ryan for my Sunday treats.

Just a normal person walking down Rideau Street...

Posted by emdaisy 14:56 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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