Last week, my family and I took a much-needed vacation to Ottawa, Canada, the nation’s capital. This should not come as a surprise to my regular readers given how I’ve posted of our many adventures enjoying our love for travel. If you want to read some of those posts I’d written for my Freedom Friday series, you’ll get a taste of Nova Scotia, Niagara Falls, and our recent weekend getaway.
From our town, an hour north of Toronto, to Ottawa, it took four-and-a-half hours driving without stopping. Once we arrived, we checked out our very cool suite. I’m not sure if all hotels are as fancy as the one we chose in the downtown core, but our suite looked incredible. The elegance thrilled us with the handcrafted beds and embroidered blankets, marbled bathroom, and the useful kitchenette. We’d gone for a package deal, having added a set of tours to boot of the nation’s historical museums. We certainly didn’t have to wait to see the benefits of that decision.
First off, let’s get one thing out of the way. It’s about the restaurants. Since food is a big part of our travel experience, we try to eat as much variety as we can. Apart from our kid’s ingesting their staple chicken fingers and French fries, my wife and I will dive into sushi, Greek food, and salads. There’s nothing quite like the taste of maki or souvlaki on a hot day in July. What I noticed about Ottawa’s restaurants however, is how upscale they are in elegance and design. I’m sure it has something to do with the affluence of a high percentage of the region’s population. Well, most are lawyers, senators and politicians. So yeah, the restaurants ought to service those folks in those professions. And the eateries’ decor will reflect that clientele. Nonetheless, no matter what the bistros and cafés look like, the food is delicious.
Ottawa’s also a culturally rich area filled with museums centered on Canada’s history. We took advantage of that history by hitting Parliament Hill as our first stop. Since our hotel was ten minutes away, we walked all the way. The heat was intense but the journey worth it. Seeing the hill for the first time was somewhat overwhelming. Its Gothic Revival architecture reflects an era when style and grace had epitomized the people’s preference for sophistication. The Peace Tower itself looks no different from Big Ben in London, England. It even plays chimes throughout the morning. I caught Somewhere Over the Rainbow in the midst of it all.
Our tour consisted of the House of Commons, the Senate, the Library of Parliament, and the Peace Tower, which are all part of the Centre Block. The most fascinating story is that of the great fire of 1916 that had devoured most of the Centre Block except for the Library of Parliament. A quick-thinking library clerk by the name of Michael MacCormac had shut the library’s iron doors preventing the spread of the fire, which would have consumed priceless books and paintings accumulated over a period of five decades. This small action taken by the clerk impressed me to remember his name and will possibly remain in my memory for a long time. I won’t forget his diligence as it has inspired me to keep pressing forward without relent in all my industry.
Besides enjoying sleeping in (lots of sleeping in), we took a trip to Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Seriously, Ottawa’s the center of museum country. To my family and I, who are avid museum aficionados, this was our territory. The museum houses a collection of some of the most impressive aircrafts that’d flown in the world. This says a lot given I’ve also been to the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
Rather than tell you more of what we did during the week, I figure I’d let the photos tell the story instead. Therefore, below are highlights of our Canada Aviation and Space Museum trip.
One more museum trip I thought you’d like to have a gander at is that of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec. We crossed province lines to the most visited museum in Canada to see what the big deal was. Wow! Big deal is right. The place is massive. It surpassed all my expectations. Not wanting to spoil it by my overdone descriptions, the highlight was our tour of an area in the museum featuring our country’s history. In the following photos, you’ll notice the twilight/sunset feel created by the exhibit’s indoor lighting.
I had written a complete elaborate ending to this post, but decided to scrap it. You didn’t want to hear about the dark, foreboding storm we drove through on our way home. Of how it was two-thirty in the afternoon and the black clouds made it seem like ten at night. Of how I had my windshield wipers on max and I was screaming, “Bring it on” while my wife prayed for protection as buckets and buckets of water dumped on the road, stopping traffic to the side. You didn’t want to hear about that, did you?
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Have you gone on vacation yet? Where did you go? What did you do? What do you like most about your vacation?