A Travellerspoint blog

March 2016

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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