Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Driving

I love driving. I mean, I really do love driving. I once drove from my home, an hour north from Toronto all the way to New Brunswick in a day. I had stops along the way, but I had done it in one full day. That’s about 1,500 Km/900 miles, give or take. I can also negotiate my way through traffic in Montreal. If you’re familiar with Montreal, then you would know what a feat that is. The other side of it is that I also love country drives as much as anyone else who loves driving.

Driving
Driving

For Freedom Friday I would like to talk about my driving experiences, what I’ve enjoyed and perhaps, if I have time, talk a bit about what I would have wanted to do over.

The thing I most enjoy about driving is the freedom. Sitting behind a steering wheel and going somewhere really excites me. When no one else is in the car, I crank the tunes, open the windows and allow the wind to carry me where I want to go.

Sunset driving
Sunset driving

Night driving has to be my favorite part. I have one of those cars that sport a blue dashboard. In the evening, it makes me feel as if I’m part of a Star Wars movie. The middle scene in Attack of the Clones when Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi follow an assassin through the planetary cityscape comes to mind. The other reason I enjoy night driving is because driving through a town, a city or in the country, in my opinion, is much more beautiful at night than during the day. The lights make the journey something to behold. Whenever there’s an opportunity to pick up my kids from their activities, I’ll jump into the car without a problem. I love riding through town at night—especially during Christmas. The lights warm my spirit and renders my soul satisfied. That’s code for saying I always have a smile on my face whenever taking the car through town.

Anyway, enough about night driving. I told you it was my favorite.

The other part I enjoy about hopping behind the wheel of my car is the long trips to various places. Depending on the traffic, the trip to Niagara Falls from my home is a highlight. With attractions on either side of Clifton Hill, the main street where all the museums and activities take place, I can’t say enough how awesome a time it is going through there and experiencing the joy of adventure. Yes, it does feel like an adventure, but how many places can actually do that, besides Las Vegas, which is a place I’d like to visit one day?

Lastly, I would have to say that I also enjoy a country drive as well. I live out in the country, so, in that respect, I have to like it—otherwise, what would I be doing living here? Right? The relaxed pace, the farms and small towns is a regular occurrence as is the sight of cows, horses and other farm animals grazing in the fields. The other aspect about a country drive is the leisurely pace everyone drives getting somewhere. I can say the experience is relaxing and eases the mind into hibernation. Not good though if it’s at night, since you don’t want to fall asleep while taking a jaunt without the light standards paving the way to your ultimate destination.

And so that’s why I love driving. Some folks don’t enjoy it, but I’m one who looks forward to it.

Now, I’m just wondering if there is anyone else like me who loves driving.

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Do you like driving? What road trips have  you taken that made the drive special?

Posted in Freedom Friday

Vacation Destinations

Living near the Canadian/U.S. border affords my family the perfect strategic point of departure for our vacations. Two hours away is the U.S. A couple of days’ journey we’re on the East Coast. Freedom Friday provides me the opportunity to share some of the vacation destinations we’re thinking about traveling to this summer.

Old Montreal / Place Jacques-Cartier - Vieux-Montréal
Old Montreal / Place Jacques-Cartier – Vieux-Montréal

In the past few years, our vacations consisted of visiting my wife’s family in Nova Scotia. If you’ve never been there, I suggest you hightail it over and enjoy some East Coast hospitality. When I went there for the first time to meet my future in-laws, I barely had enough time to see the splendor that Dartmouth and Halifax had to offer. It wasn’t until later years that I’d fallen to appreciate Citadel Hill, Peggy’s Cove, and the incredible view of the Atlantic Ocean.

We wanted to try something different this year, something closer to home, in fact. We didn’t want to take away from our weekend getaway destinations (Barrie, Ontario in the spring and Niagara Falls in the autumn), but we didn’t want to trek far either. Ah, the joys of travel, eh?

Rideau Canal overlooking the Ottawa River
Rideau Canal overlooking the Ottawa River

Two locations came to mind: Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa, Ontario. From our numerous journeys passing through these cities on our way to the East Coast, the idea grabbed hold of wanting to visit there one day.

Montreal is an amazing city I would recommend to anyone who is looking to enhance their cultural experience. The majority of its residence speaks French. I can get by ordering dinner, taking care of our accommodations, and asking for directions. It’s with the complicated matters I slip back into English, hoping the person I’m talking to will feel that I tried my best communicating with them in their own language. I’ve never had a problem. They’re great and a very warm people.

The hospitality in Montreal is equally amazing. One year, staying overnight, the hotel we’d chosen was reminiscent of an old-style ship. The hallways had portholes painted on the walls, railings affixed underneath. I felt as if I was on the Titanic, which incidentally was the top grossing movie of all time the year before. Coincidence? I think not. Nonetheless, the rooms had plush pillows, a spacious bathroom, generous closet space, and all the frills anyone could ask of a room. The hotel staff was superb with all our requests.

Which leaves Ottawa, our nation’s capital. We’ve never been. Not even overnight as we’ve done with Montreal. So, this may actually be where we’ll end up this summer. Having a peek at the vacation packages available online, I see a few attractions we may benefit from such as Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa River Parkway, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Notre Dame Basilica, National Gallery of Canada, National War Memorial, Peace Tower, Changing of the Guard, Laurier House, Rideau Hall, National Arts Centre, etc.

I’m excited already! This trip is a homeschooler’s delight, and I can’t wait!

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Have you ever been to Ottawa? Do you have any recommendations of attractions to visit?