The Weekend

War Memorial

Our last cou­ple days in Ottawa, Kath­leen had a cold and I felt the start of one.

Saturday

We got mov­ing about 12:30, and head­ed out — for the first time since Mon­day — with no clear idea what we were going to do. I’d post­ed a pho­to to Face­book hint­ing that we were in Ottawa, and pre­dictably many friends had many sug­ges­tions. Some of them we’d already done, some we had yet to accom­plish. Con­tin­ue read­ing “The Week­end”

Series: Ottawa Trip 2017

The entire series: Ottawa: Sun­day; Ottawa: By Water; Ottawa: Par­lia­ment Hill; Cana­di­an Avi­a­tion Muse­um / Rideau Hall; Muse­um-a-palooza; Nation­al Gallery; The Week­end.

National Gallery

Two Waterfalls

We head­ed out around noon, and walked down to the Cana­di­an Nation­al Gallery. We spent almost four hours tour­ing the gal­leries, where I dis­cov­ered that I pre­fer paint­ings of land­scapes to por­traits, gen­er­al­ly, though I did find a few por­traits inter­est­ing as well.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Nation­al Gallery”

Series: Ottawa Trip 2017

The entire series: Ottawa: Sun­day; Ottawa: By Water; Ottawa: Par­lia­ment Hill; Cana­di­an Avi­a­tion Muse­um / Rideau Hall; Muse­um-a-palooza; Nation­al Gallery; The Week­end.

Museum-a-palooza

Wall of lights

Thurs­day we got mov­ing by 11 AM or so. We went to the Cana­di­an Muse­um of Nature first off, and pur­chased a muse­um pass­port (3 muse­ums, 3 days, 1 price!) which would also allow us access to the War Muse­um, the Muse­um of His­to­ry, and the Nation­al Gallery. (Also the Avi­a­tion Muse­um, but that train had sailed.)

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Muse­um-a-palooza”

Series: Ottawa Trip 2017

The entire series: Ottawa: Sun­day; Ottawa: By Water; Ottawa: Par­lia­ment Hill; Cana­di­an Avi­a­tion Muse­um / Rideau Hall; Muse­um-a-palooza; Nation­al Gallery; The Week­end.

Canadian Aviation Museum / Rideau Hall

We had a lazy morn­ing: break­fast in the room, show­ers, and so forth. We left the hotel about 11 AM, and drove out to the Avi­a­tion Muse­um, where I got to indulge one flavour of my nerdi­ness (includ­ing wear­ing a fight­er-jet hel­met dur­ing the ejec­tion seat demon­stra­tion). Con­tin­ue read­ing “Cana­di­an Avi­a­tion Muse­um / Rideau Hall”

Series: Ottawa Trip 2017

The entire series: Ottawa: Sun­day; Ottawa: By Water; Ottawa: Par­lia­ment Hill; Cana­di­an Avi­a­tion Muse­um / Rideau Hall; Muse­um-a-palooza; Nation­al Gallery; The Week­end.

Ottawa: Parliament Hill

Library of Parliament

Tues­day, I got up at the crack of 8:10 to go stand in line for Par­lia­ment Hill tour tick­ets. I assumed the office would open at 8:30, but it turned out to be 9 o’clock. I was glad I got there ear­ly, though, when I saw how very long the line had got­ten behind me. Kath­leen joined me with my cam­era and watch before the office opened.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Ottawa: Par­lia­ment Hill”

Series: Ottawa Trip 2017

The entire series: Ottawa: Sun­day; Ottawa: By Water; Ottawa: Par­lia­ment Hill; Cana­di­an Avi­a­tion Muse­um / Rideau Hall; Muse­um-a-palooza; Nation­al Gallery; The Week­end.

Ottawa: By Water

Mon­day morn­ing we went down­town and stum­bled into the very last Rideau Canal tour of the sea­son (the tours were sup­posed to end on Sun­day, but a group had already booked on Monday’s ride, so they ran it). Since they also offered an Ottawa Riv­er tour, with an almost 20% dis­count on com­bo tick­ets, we decid­ed to do both.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Ottawa: By Water”

Series: Ottawa Trip 2017

The entire series: Ottawa: Sun­day; Ottawa: By Water; Ottawa: Par­lia­ment Hill; Cana­di­an Avi­a­tion Muse­um / Rideau Hall; Muse­um-a-palooza; Nation­al Gallery; The Week­end.

Ottawa: Sunday

We’d trav­elled to Win­nipeg on Sat­ur­day, because our Sun­day flight was an ear­ly one. Got to the YWG air­port in plen­ty of time to go through secu­ri­ty (unlike a woman behind us in the secu­ri­ty line, who said to the offi­cer, “My flight’s in 15 min­utes,” to which he respond­ed, “You should’ve got here soon­er then”).

Unevent­ful flight, or I guess flights: Win­nipeg to Toron­to, where we changed gates and got on the Toron­to-Ottawa flight. Kath­leen watched Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 on the flight, and I snoozed and watched the very first Sil­i­con Val­ley episode.

In Ottawa, we got the rental car, found the hotel, checked in. Then we wan­dered around the down­town, dis­cov­er­ing we were lit­er­al­ly three blocks from Par­lia­ment Hill. The War Memo­r­i­al was easy to find, and in our aim­less saun­ter­ing we also dis­cov­ered the US Embassy, the Mint, the Nation­al Gallery, the Rideau Canal, and Byward Mar­ket, among many oth­er points of inter­est. We paused on the Nation­al Gallery’s plaza to admire the sil­ver tow­ers of Notre Dame Cathe­dral Basil­i­ca across the street. Also the giant spi­der on the plaza was pret­ty inter­est­ing.

We found a Dar­cy McGee’s, which had been rec­om­mend­ed to us, and ate on the patio, then bought tick­ets next door for Mon­day evening’s Ghost Walk.

We got back to the hotel about 6:30 and climbed into bed. I read, briefly, then fell asleep before 8 PM, for which Kath­leen laughed at me for the next cou­ple days.

Step count: 9526.

Series: Ottawa Trip 2017

The entire series: Ottawa: Sun­day; Ottawa: By Water; Ottawa: Par­lia­ment Hill; Cana­di­an Avi­a­tion Muse­um / Rideau Hall; Muse­um-a-palooza; Nation­al Gallery; The Week­end.

The Greyhound Chronicles

This all orig­i­nal­ly appeared on Face­book, but not everyone’s on Face­book. (Hi, Mom!) So I’m post­ing it here, too, for you to enjoy.

Any anno­ta­tions are in ital­ics, and most­ly they pro­vide con­text or com­men­tary.

1.

Dec. 7th, 5:20 PM

I love pay­ing a $3.50 “con­ve­nience” fee and then hav­ing to catch a cab to the air­port to get on the bus. A fine use of irony there.

At this point I hadn’t left my sister’s house yet. I had no idea. None.

2.

Dec. 7th, 6:51 PM

I’m at the depot ridicu­lous­ly ear­ly. Got my tick­et. Found out my bus is delayed by 90 min­utes.

If I’d known I wasn’t in a hur­ry, I’d have told my cab­bie to not both­er run­ning those three red lights.

Thanks for the noti­fi­ca­tion, Grey­hound. You suck.

Any Wpg folks, if you’re bored, swing by and say hi.

One did. Thanks, Michelle!

3.

Dec. 7th, 8:07 PM

I won­der if the dude with the Aus­tralian accent run­ning the met­al detec­tor over every­one who will be board­ing the north­bound bus ever looks out the win­dow at the snow, sighs, and thinks about the choic­es he’s made.

One of my Aus­tralian Face­book friends assured me that he does.

4.

Dec. 7th, 8:22 PM

I just now saw a sign telling me that I can save 10% on a Harvey’s burg­er if I take my bus tick­et to the air­port ter­mi­nal.

I was loath to leave the bus ter­mi­nal, on the chance that my bus would some­how mag­i­cal­ly show up, and I’d miss it. Also, if you’re try­ing to lure me away, you’ll have to do bet­ter than Harvey’s.

5.

Dec. 7th, 9:05 PM

Dou­glas Adams point­ed out that it’s no coin­ci­dence that no lan­guage has ever coined the phrase “as pret­ty as an air­port”. Dit­to bus ter­mi­nals.

Self-explana­to­ry, I trust.

6.

Dec. 7th, 9:23 PM

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Like­wise self-explana­to­ry.

I also post­ed a com­ment: “Grey­hound, you owe every­one in this ter­mi­nal a refund on their ‘ser­vice’ fee.”

7.

Dec. 7th, 10:00 PM

In line. Grey­hound suu­u­u­u­u­ucks.

They herd you through “secu­ri­ty” before they load the bus. It’s pret­ty fun­ny, since peo­ple get­ting on at stops along the way aren’t sub­ject­ed to a met­al detec­tor. Also, in the Win­nipeg ter­mi­nal, you can leave the “secu­ri­ty” area and return with­out a sec­ond check. Just so long as you don’t move your car­ry-on bags out.

8.

Dec. 7th, 10:18 PM

They’re still call­ing it the 8:30 bus to Bran­don. It’s 10:18 PM now. #grey­houndIs­Ter­ri­ble

9.

Dec. 7th, 10:39 PM

The Thomp­son bus arrived after the Bran­don one. Guess which one is board­ing first. Go ahead, guess. #ffs

10.

Dec. 7th, 10:43 PM

A dude has decid­ed he’s not get­ting on the bus now. Cue the clown show of retriev­ing his checked bag.

He got yelled at for mov­ing his car­ry-on bags from the “secure” area. He decid­ed that the high­way con­di­tions were still too bad to trav­el. (He was part­ly right; as is tra­di­tion, the high­way was ter­ri­ble from Win­nipeg to Portage la Prairie.)

11.

Dec. 7th, 10:54 PM

I’m on a bus.

It’s almost 11 pm. This is the 8:30 bus.

Nev­er again, Grey­hound.

The ear­ly bus was sched­uled to leave Win­nipeg at 8:30 PM and arrive in Bran­don at 11:10 PM. The late bus was to leave at 11:00 and get in at 1:50.

The ear­ly bus left Win­nipeg at 11:00 PM (ish) and arrived in Bran­don around 1:30 AM. I don’t know the fate of the late bus.

12.

Dec. 7th, 11:00 PM

As we got rolling, I noticed that the front seat held two cool­ers of human blood, help­ful­ly labelled Please Expe­dite With­out Delay.

13.

Dec. 7th, 11:40 PM

A mid­dle-of-the-night bus ride down a snowy Trans-Cana­da between Win­nipeg and Bran­don? Yeah, The Trag­i­cal­ly Hip seems like the right sound­track.

Coda.

Dec. 8th, 1:52 AM

Home.

Epilogue.

Dec. 8th, 9:29 AM

They just got in touch via Twit­ter and sug­gest­ed I check their bus track­er next time. I tried that. Appar­ent­ly “Win­nipeg” doesn’t exist.

I snarked a bit on Twit­ter, too. The help­ful peo­ple at the Grey­hound Help account obvi­ous­ly didn’t real­ize I was talk­ing about Grey­hound Cana­da.

This also felt a bit like the post-cred­its scene, the last joke in a rolling farce.


On the up side: at least I didn’t sleep on the floor of the ter­mi­nal, like the one guy loud­ly pro­claimed he had the pre­vi­ous night. Accord­ing to him, the tem­per­a­ture dropped overnight in the ter­mi­nal — almost cer­tain­ly a cost-sav­ing mea­sure — and no one was will­ing to turn up the heat.

At least I had a good book to read. (Sto­ries of Your Life and Oth­ers, re-titled Arrival to cap­i­tal­ize on the movie, a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries by Ted Chi­ang.)

Ottawa

On the Hill

August long week­end, Kath­leen and I took a lit­tle trip, just a cou­ple hours in a West­jet 737.  We flew out to Ottawa for a fam­i­ly reunion of my mom’s side of the fam­i­ly.

See, Mom lives in Man­i­to­ba, along with me and my mid­dle sis­ter. My youngest sis­ter — who end­ed up not mak­ing it to the reunion, and she was sore­ly missed — lives fur­ther west, in Alber­ta. My uncle R lives in Nova Sco­tia, out on the east coast, and one of my aunts, M, lives in either Man­i­to­ba or Chi­na, depend­ing on if school’s in ses­sion. So my oth­er aunt, V, who lives in Ontario — in the Cap­i­tal Region — decid­ed, Hey, I’m right in the mid­dle! So we had the reunion out at her place.

We arrived on Thurs­day after­noon, and were picked up at the air­port by V.  We went to her house — in a bed­room com­mu­ni­ty about 40 min­utes from Ottawa prop­er — and set­tled in. Most of the fam­i­ly was there already — my sis­ter and her fam­i­ly had arrived ear­li­er in the day, hav­ing dri­ven from MB instead of fly­ing. Brave, that; they have four chil­dren, and it was about a four-day dri­ve.  R was there, and M, and my mom.  Most of V’s kids were float­ing around, too.

On Fri­day, we went into the city to do some tourist­ing.  Kath­leen had nev­er been to Ottawa, and my last vis­it was when I was 17, so the time was right.  We got dropped off about a block from Par­lia­ment Hill, and toured around the grounds for a bit before tak­ing the free tour of Cen­tre Block, which is the build­ing that hous­es both the House of Com­mons and the Sen­ate.  Gov­ern­ment wasn’t in ses­sion, so we got the full tour (except the Peace Tow­er, which was closed).

Pho­tos from our tour (click through for descrip­tions):

The House of Commons

The Senate

The Peace Tower

The Library

Manitoba's shield

Crocuses

Y Ddraig Goch?

Things I learned on our tour:

  • The Queen is not allowed to set foot in the House of Com­mons*.  Appar­ent­ly it stems from an inci­dent when Charles I tried to storm the Eng­lish par­lia­ment, and got told, in short, that the House of Com­mons was meant for the com­mon­ers, and he should piss right off depart if it should please His Majesty.  When the Cana­di­an House is in ses­sion, there’s a brass bar that sym­bol­i­cal­ly marks where the Queen is sup­posed to stop.
  • After a fire destroyed most** of Cen­tre Block in 1916, it was rebuilt using Tyn­dall stone, which is a type of lime­stone found only in Man­i­to­ba. Which explained why all the walls had the stri­a­tions I asso­ciate with Tyn­dall stone.

After the tour, we had about an hour and a half before our sched­uled pick-up, so we wan­dered around down­town Ottawa for while.  We found a lit­tle place called Byward Mar­ket­place (I think) and had some samosas and naan from a lit­tle Indi­an food kiosk. Mmmm.

Byward Market

Then we wan­dered some more, and found a park to rest our tired feet and fin­ish off our naan.  The park had a view of Par­lia­ment.

Parliament

Mmmm, naan

A bit more wan­der­ing, and we found the Nation­al War Memo­r­i­al, which fea­tures the Tomb of the Unknown Sol­dier.

The War Memorial

Le Soldat Inconnu

After that, we found the buskers’ fes­ti­val, and for some rea­son I have no pho­tos of that.  After that, we got picked up by one of my cousins, and we returned to V’s house.

Tomor­row: a few more pho­tos, most­ly of fam­i­ly.

_____

* She’s wel­come in the Sen­ate, though.  They have chairs for her and her hus­band in there.

** The Library sur­vived.