September Road Trip Wrap Up
OK, I am finally starting to wrap up the blogs on my September road trip. *Whew* this has taken me so much longer than I expected! I can’t believe it’s already December. (Side note: my graduate school apps are due on Thursday, so that’s part of the reason I’ve been rather MIA). The good news is, I have tons of other stuff I’d like to write about so there will be no running out of material here! I’m going to try to keep these next few brief so that I can get them out in the next week or two and move on to something else (delicious holiday recipes perhaps?).
After this post on Ottawa, I’ll write one each on New Jersey, Washington, D.C, and Richmond, VA. Only three more to go! After that you will hear all about my more recent travels (Nashville, Vancouver, Seattle, Coeur-d’Alene, Idaho and Bozeman, Montana) as well as a comparison of three completely different restaurants’ Eggs Benedict (my new favorite breakfast food apparently), and my decision to play through and review all of the Final Fantasy games (the result of many hours in the car from Vancouver to Montana with only a Gameboy for entertainment).
As always, thanks for sticking with me, and I hope you continue to enjoy reading my posts. Any and all feedback is welcome!
Ottawa: A city of parks
To avoid embarrassing my friend Liam, I am going to skip the bizarre saga involving his (former) roommates. Suffice it to say that they were not entirely thrilled to have me crashing on their couch and basically said that they didn’t want me to be in the apartment without Liam there. So, while Liam was at work most of the day, I wandered around Ottawa.
Apparently the city is made entirely of parks. My first morning there, I decided to take a walk via the canal to the large lake I had caught a glimpse of the night before to rent a kayak and spend a little time on the water. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas. The girl in charge of the tiny floating boathouse showed me the weather radar on her computer. “There’s a huge storm coming through, so I can’t let you go out on the water,” she said. I looked up at the sky. Not a cloud in sight. There were two people out on the water in a paddle boat. But, having been struck by lightning before, I decided to heed the girl’s advice (not like she gave me any other choice). She made up for it by giving me the password to the wireless internet from the restaurant next door. I headed inside to grab a bite and update my blog.
10 minutes later, the downpour started and another dock worker had to motor out to the couple in the paddle boat to ‘rescue’ them. I hung out in the restaurant until the rain let up then decided to take a walk along the lake.
Maybe it was the two weeks of traveling, or maybe I had mono, but I was freaking tired! I decided to take a nap on a grassy knoll by the lake where rabbits and ducks and the like bounced around at my feet (no exaggeration). I dozed off and on for a half hour or so as runners came and went. A man sat on a bench by the path and glanced at me quizzically. Eventually, the rain started up again, and I reluctantly retreated to the drooping branches of a large tree (I’m no tree expert, but since this was in Canada, I’m just gonna say it was a Maple tree).
Trees are great, but I still got a little wet. Luckily I had my postage-stamp-sized umbrella, so I was able to ward off the rain a little bit (although I got pretty soaked from the waist down). I continued my wandering with the unfortunate realization that I had to pee. An hour later and there seemed to be no end to Ottawa’s park system. It would have been great under other circumstances – sunshine and available bathrooms – but at the moment, it was frustrating.
Eventually, I happened upon this secluded garden located in the woods of one of the large parks. Faced with the possibility of not being near another toilet until dinnertime, I decided to revert to my camp counselor days from last summer and found a spot a ways from the little path to pop a squat. As you do. In the public park. Yup, and I’m not a homeless person. Then I went along my merry way back into the park.
I wandered for another couple hours, through Carlton University, across a busy street and into the Agricultural Museum, which was closed by the time I got there. I checked out their gardens then tried to find my way back to civilization. I was starting to feel like a vagabond. I half expected to feel a beard growing on my chin and a cardboard sign to materialize in my hands. I can only imagine how I looked to passers-by.
In the end, I made it all the way back to the boathouse where I had started my day. From there I walked to Little Italy, which was probably the choice I should have made at the beginning of the day (don’t be deceived by the tacky neon sign, Little Italy is actually pretty cute). I had my computer with me and decided to locate a wifi hotspot. Lo and behold, a few blocks away there was a Starbucks. I love Starbucks. (Did I mention I have recently visited the mother of all Starbucks in Seattle? Don’t worry, you’ll hear about it.)
A little while later, my friend Liam called to say he was back from work, so I packed up my things and started the trek back to the apartment, got turned around/wasn’t really paying attention, took some pictures of the lighted path next to the canal, consulted my map, asked directions from a cyclist, then realized I was only two blocks away. Thinking back on it, I’m not sure why I didn’t use my smart phone the whole day. Probably because I had an Eris. A word of advice: don’t buy an Android Eris.
The next day, Liam didn’t have to work until 10am, so we left a little early and headed downtown to drive by all the stuff you’re “supposed to see” in Ottawa, which is mostly just the Parliament building and the art museum.