Mostly for the record, I present a less than scintillating blog that briefly chronicles our busy weekend.
Thursday: We travelled for seven hours from one end of the province to the other. At one point the bikes on the roof rack slipped about a little giving us a wee bit of a scare, but we were able to secure them and carry on without mishap. Our American guests arrived at Butterfly's shortly after we did, and we spent the evening chatting and getting reacquainted.
Friday: We hit the Parliament buildings by 9:30 to see the wonderful Changing of the Guard. Not! Although the website assured me that this summer attraction began in June, it neglected to mention that it only began near the end of the month. Sigh. This was probably what I most wanted our guests to see.
However, we were still able to tour the Parliament Buildings. With Parliament in session and, therefore, The House of Commons being closed to visitors, and the library being closed for renovations, the tour was not up to previous iterations, especially considering that the security checks took longer than the tour itself.
On a very hot day, we followed the Parliamentary tour with a walk to and around the Byward Market and a nice lunch at the Aulde Dubliner. We ordered a side dish of poutine, a Quebecois concoction of fries, gravy and cheese curds, for our guests to experience for the first time. One should try this artery-clogging dish at least once. They do it best in Quebec, but the Aulde Dubliner did a creditable job.
Then, we visited The National Gallery where we all toured the European section in a state of sleepiness after the early morning, the heat of the hottest day so far, the extensive walking, and the somewhat heavy lunch. However, we recovered to some degree after a brief timeout for refreshments after which J and I toured the Canadian section while the ladies hit the gift shop. I love the Canadian section and The Group of Seven.
Another highlight for me (everyone else missed it) was the completely recreated chapel. I had seen the chapel previously, but this time there were about fifty speakers on the periphery playing a quiet type of religious music. It was quite a poignant, moving experience.
Then, in another exceptionally bright, tactical move, we drove home during rush hour.
Saturday: Having done more than enough walking on the previous day, we decided to do a driving tour of some of the more rural areas.
We saw a swing bridge at Burrits Rapids along the Rideau Canal, shopped and lunched in touristy Merrickville, splurged on chocolate at the Hershey factory in Smiths Falls, and did a quick drive through Perth before returning home for The Boy's birthday bash. It was a most pleasant party that carried on in one form or another until almost midnight.
Sunday: We visited the Museum of Civilization for a very pleasant but somewhat tiring afternoon before returning home for supper and an evening of conversation. For whatever reason, as much as I might enjoy them, museums and art galleries tend to fatigue me significantly, but, having said that, let me add that I consider the Museum of Civilization to be a must see attraction in the capital region. The Canadian section is especially well done as you travel through our history in realistic settings that make it an experience and not just the viewing of artifacts in display cases.
When we got home, we found that Butterfly had done the nicest thing — gone shopping and put together a grab bag of Canadiana goodies (mostly with flags): pins, T-shirts, funny hats, socks, neckerchief, tattoos, a luggage label, a Maple Leaf alarm clock, one shot glass, one moose, and a box of Jos Louis cakes.
Monday: Our guests departed early, and Cuppa and I did some grocery shopping in the morning to replenish the poor Butterfly's larder to some degree. We found a bicycle trail (you just knew that we would, didn't you?) in the afternoon. It's a rather nice trail, but it was an extremely windy day for biking, especially in our semi fatigued, post-weekend state. We didn't set any distance records, but it was good to get back on the bikes for a little spin about the countryside. (We did that again today too — Tuesday afternoon.)