I wish Joseph Gordon Levitt were in that movie… Would’ve made the last couple of drives much more enjoyable.
In the midst of my ~treat yo self~ night I accidentally set my alarm for 4:30PM instead of 4:30AM… I wanted to get an early start because I was headed to Ottawa (a seven+ hour drive) and I only had a day to explore there, so I wanted to get there as soon as possible. Luckily, I had gone to bed pretty early the night before so I woke up naturally at around 6:15. I was behind schedule, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I quickly got up, hopped in the shower, packed up Shamanda, and went on my way!
The fog had returned, but even when it lifted the weather was still super strange. There were a ton of clouds in the sky, some storm clouds and some not. I’d be driving in beautiful, sunny weather and then all of a sudden rain would start POURING down; then I’d go a little further and it would stop just as soon as it started (I was no longer under the storm cloud). As annoying as it was (I kept accidentally leaving my windshield wipers on after it had stopped raining and then turning them off right when it started to rain again), it was also pretty cool.
The drive was pretty uneventful; I listened to a combination of podcasts and music and marveled at the beautiful surroundings. I only stopped once for coffee and gas, with about two hours left in the trip. There were the cutest girls working in the gas station. They could be models (when I say “girls,” they were probably about my age or a little older) they were so beautiful. Instead, they chose the gas station life. You do you, girls.
The best part of the drive by far was when “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” came on Spotify.
I would include a video, but none of you would ever talk to me again, probably.
Let’s just say I got super into it.
The worst part of the drive was the last hour; it’s always the hardest part. At that point I had been driving for 6.5 hours and was SO close yet SO far.
Finally, I got to my airbnb in Ottawa! I had a little trouble with the code that grants access to the building, but luckily my host was SO helpful and responded to my messages a few minutes later, explaining exactly how to get it. While I was waiting for her to respond, I explored the surrounding area a bit! Very cute area; very family oriented! There was a cute artisanal cheese (and other foods and kitchen appliances, etc.) shop, a coffee shop, and — Guess.
After I was able to get into the apartment (around three) I got settled in, made a game plan about what was in store for the rest of the afternoon/night, and then left! It was a beautiful day; pretty hot, but not too bad. I hopped in Shamanda and drove to the center of town (I could have walked but I was planning on getting back pretty late and didn’t want to have to walk all that way in the dark alone).
My oh my oh my oh my.
I LOVE OTTAWA.
I immediately fell in love with this city.
I found a cheap parking lot, grabbed some gelato, and walked to Parliament Hill. Pure bliss.
I mean, just look at this place.
After finishing up my gelato soup, I visited the Bytown Museum (Bytown is the old name for Ottawa) which tells about the history of Ottawa, its parliament, and the Rideau Canal. It was really interesting! I did one of those audio tours which helped me focus (museums are tough for me because there’s always so much to see that I tend to look at everything at once).
After spending about forty minutes looking around, I headed to the National Gallery of Canada, another museum (this time, art).
Possibly the prettiest museum I have seen to this day.
I had unfortunately gotten to the museum about forty minutes before closing, so I had to kind of rush through the exhibits. Forty minutes was not enough time to see everything, but it definitely was enough time to marvel at and absorb the beauty.
After buying a few not-too overpriced things at the gift shop, I explored a bit more.
I decided to walk back to the parking lot at this point because I realized that it would be dark by the time I had to go get Shamanda and wasn’t sure that I’d know where the parking lot was… Luckily, I was able to retrace my steps very easily and found the lot in minutes. Then, to dinner!
As I was trying to find a good place to eat I encountered a street performer (a brilliant comedian and okay stuntman). My phone was dying, so unfortunately I only captured this short video and photo of him trying to escape from a straight jacket upside down with fire torches under him.
I don’t usually go much for these daredevil shows, but this guy was so hilarious and quick on his feet, it was really entertaining.
He was roasting everybody (including himself), but luckily the crowd had a great sense of humor (including the slightly ominous-looking guy the street performer fist bumped and then said, “that’s my old roommate… from jail.” Bold move, dude).
I also happened upon a cute little street market.
Such a cool vibe all around.
I ended up at a steakhouse for dinner, where I ordered the top sirloin with a side of roasted veggies (green beans and red peppers) and garlic mashed potatoes. YUM. My phone was charging behind the bar, though, so I unfortunately couldn’t document it. Just imagine the most beautiful, perfectly cooked steak and the tastiest garlic mashed I’ve ever had (sorry, mom). I want to eat it over and over again.
The only photographic evidence I have is this bathroom selfie I took post-delicious meal.
After dinner I decided to walk back to Shamanda again, this time to move her closer to Parliament Hill, which was where I’d be later that night (for the Northern Lights show: a light and sound show about the history of Canada). I found a pretty good parking spot and then walked to the Hill, blanket in tow.
I set up camp on the lawn and started to read (I still had about two hours until the show was actually going to begin). It was beautiful! Tons of families and couples walking around, finding the perfect place to sit. There was the CUTEST little girl (probably about one year old) who kept running over to me and sitting on my lap. At one point she even ran over and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
Then she took my phone and dropped it on the grass a couple of feet away.
Finally, the show began! It was magical. Animations were projected onto the Parliament, recounting the history of Canada with beautiful colors and moving language. The feeling of unity and patriotism was ABUNDANT.
Such a beautiful night. I felt so lucky!
I also converted to Canadianism.
After the show I gathered my things, walked back to Shamanda, and drove back to the apartment. Such a cute place to come home to.
Ottawa = my new favorite city.
If someone who will go unnamed somehow wins the 2016 election, I’m moving here.
Or maybe I’ll just move here anyway.
Who’s with me?