Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Busy Times

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.

J, P and Cuppa at the Parliament Buildings

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.

AC, P and J at the park by the Rideau Canal in Merrickville

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.

Cuppa and P in the Museum of Civilization

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.

P in some of her funny Canadiana regalia

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.)



Christi said...

What an exciting weekend! That just makes me want to go to Canada even more!

Lora said...

What a busy weekend! Great photos! I've never been up to Ottawa, you've made me very curious to see the govermental buildings. I saw a maple leaf sticker on somebody's car yesterday, not a common site in Texas, and I thought of you and your national pride.

swamp4me said...

I have a couple of Canadian flag patches that I picked up during my one-day foray into Canada last June. They grace my backpack.

On that same day I ate gravy on my fries and showed the proprietor of a small cafe how to make proper sweet tea -- she was under the mistaken impression that sweet tea had to be ordered in bottles by the case (horrors!!).

Dale said...

Still with you, AC. Sounds like you're having a blast. Keep us posted, eh?

Mel said...

What a week!

Rainypete said...

Whew! I got winded just reading that. I have yet to find anywhere on the globe better than Byward Market for shopping (a task which I usually despise).

That's kind of a ripoff with the website for the changing of the guard. It's a shame the parliament stuff didn't work out but it sounds like they still had a pretty good time.

Anonymous said...

Great photos! Sounds like you had a lot of fun. I want to see that building!

Karla said...

Thanks for sharing all your pictures. I have yet to see a Changing of the Guard.

I own a Canadian Umbrella Hat like the one P is wearing! You can't celebrate Canada without a classic peice like that!

Glad to hear you're enjoying your vacation.