Last Saturday Bdot and I ventured up to the nation’s capital, for a few nights away in Ottawa. Yes we left the dog behind. My Mom was kind enough to house/pet sit for us while we were away. So in spite of her recent return to Canada from a month in Mexico, she wanted to watch our beasts. Thanks Mom. The trip was originally for bdot’s brother’s 40th birthday. We extended it for a few nights at Les Suites in downtown Ottawa with her sister and family. We made good time to Ottawa, getting to Barb’s cousin’s place, where the party was going to be held, in just over 4 hours. Her cousin has a lovely wooded property in Carlton Place. Soon the house was buzzing with friends and family. Her brother had no idea – and was quite surprised by the event. I was introduced to the Nintendo Switch which our nephews were connected to the entire time. It seemed like a mild improvement from the Wii. The games we played were casual games which were certainly fun. The boys played a bit of the new Zelda game. After years of Skyrim as the measuring stick, I thought it was okay but didn’t seem to match up for gameplay or graphics. The portability of it (with a screen) may make it a winner however. There was some dancing (I Love Rock and Rock!), a few shootouts and a disturbing cow milking game played. It seemed like a very happy birthday for Steve-O. After the long drive, however, we weren’t going to party all night long. We still needed to get settled in the hotel. We shared a big suite so we left around the same time as bdot’s sister. The room was fairly compact but we did have two bathrooms and a full kitchen and our own room – so it was a good setup.
Sunday we ventured to the Musuem of Nature. The museum is in a cool looking building that looks like an old castle. It was four floors, each with its own themes. The top floor and special exhibit was all about Reptiles. It was an impressive collection of snakes, lizards both alive and preserved. Bdot didn’t much care for it but I thought it was pretty interesting. Other galleries included the Bird Gallery which showcased many Canadian birds. On the same floor was the Earth Gallery. It was certainly one of my favourites. It showed some stunning gemstones, rocks and minerals. The museum opens into the Fossil (Dinosaur) Gallery. The dinosaur re-creations were incredible. To stand beside a life-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex and other dinos gave quite a sense of how massive and powerful they must have been. Humans would have stood no chance. The displays were informative and well presented. I quite enjoyed the museum. I could have stayed longer but the nephews were exploding so it was time to go.
The entire time we were in Ottawa, it was bone-chillingly cold. With the wind chill, it was around -20 to -25, which is some serious cold! We likely would have wandered around outside at the Byward market and to the parliament buildings if it wasn’t so cold. We weren’t dressed for that. We did venture to Lone Star for dinner one night. The group of us destroyed two delicious Family fajita plates. Our appetites were certainly inspired by the dinosaurs. We did do a bit of shopping in nearby Rideau Centre as well. I found the Centre to be quite a mess in design. There were few indicators as to direction or store location and there were odd tiers with stores seemingly snaking in various directions. Meh.
Monday we split up. The Men went to the War Museum and the Women went to the Art Gallery. I probably would have gone to the art gallery but I’ve never been to the War Museum so I opted to check it out. It is an incredible building. It felt like a modern military bunker. The ceilings were really high and the hallways were exaggeratedly wide. The museum chronicled Canada’s war history – from hundreds of years ago when the Vikings arrived, through the US/British conflicts into the World Wars and our modern peacekeeping efforts. The collection of uniforms, weapons and personal effects were the most impressive I’ve seen for this theme. From Hitler’s car, captured Nazi flags to personal diaries, native weapons etc.. The stories of sacrifice made me swell with pride. Then my nephew Liam and I wandered downstairs, where they keep the tanks. THE TANKS. Seeing a Panzer, Sherman and Panther in person was awesome. It is a marvellous collection that every Canadian should see.
Bdot mentioned how much she enjoyed the Alex Janvier exhibit. After the museum, the Men enjoyed beers and burgers at Mill St. pub for lunch. The afternoon was chilling back at the hotel. Dinner was Castle Shawarma in the Byward Market. Whoa! So good!
We did make a short shopping trip to a kitchen store. Bdot was on a quest for an instant pot. They were sadly sold-out however.
It was a fun time in Ottawa for sure. There was a storm passing through the area on the drive home. It resulted in a bad accident on the 401. Fortunately, we took 7 home. It was slow at times but no issues.