A Travellerspoint blog

Rocky Mountains terror

snow -6 °C
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“Yeah, let’s hire a car and drive to the Rockies. It’s not winter so we should be okay” – famous last words said by Australians planning a driving trip from Vancouver to Banff, early November.

A sentiment backed up by Vancouverites (including the motorist association), who we now know, rarely experience snow driving.

So we collect our RAV 4 (‘it doesn’t have snow tires – you won’t need them” says the Australian staff member at the hire car office), and start the 900 kilometre/two day drive on the Trans-Canadian Highway to Banff, in the Rocky Mountains. It’s an easy drive on the freeway out of Vancouver, through gorgeous green farmland with red barns, and scenic mountain backdrops.

An hour out of ‘Couver, we notice the “Use winter tyres or carry chains beyond this point 01 Oct – 30 Apr” signs. Gulp. It’s early November and we have neither. Looks okay so far….. not a drop of snow to be seen. As we progress, we see the “Warning: Avalanche Area” sign and “End of Avalanche Area” signs, and we pass through several avalanche tunnels. These signs appear on and off for another hour or so, and we spot our first bit of snow. We pass through tiny towns, with amusing names like Chilliwack, Shuswap and Kamloops. We pass the Gap Valley resort which and looks like a deserted ghost town (closed for winter). The snow starts to get thicker and we can see some pretty high snow-covered peaks in the not too far distance and when we stop for a break, it’s absolutely freezing, with a few spots of snow. Still nothing that terribly worries us – after all, the road is clear.

Heading towards Salmon Arm there’s eagles flying around trees with massive nests bordering the lake, as we make our way into our halfway point. It gets dark early here (4pm), and a quick drive down to the lake lets us watch the gorgeous sunset – it’s just an incredible sight.

Our second day’s drive through an area that looks like the badlands of Canada, Revelstoke and Golden, where we spot a small herd of wild horned goats walking next to the highway - as if they’re heading into town for a beer. Across the amazing bridge at Kicking Horse pass. As we approach Banff, the snow becomes thicker leading up to the road edge, but the road is still clear. It’s quite thick now with most of the countryside covered in snow. Underpasses look like fake snow-domes, with cake-icing-like snow covering rocks. We pass frozen lakes. The township of Banff is quant and we’re staying at a resort 4 klm out of town. On dusk we spot a massive Elk that a park ranger is trying to shoo away from the highway. Our first Rocky Mountains wildlife experience! Okay it’s not a moose, but those Elk are just massive and we’re excited and impressed to have seen one on our first day here.

Whilst in Banff we drive up to the Gondala, which is a collection of cable-run pods shuttling people to the top of Mount Sulphur, for wonderful views across the top of the Rocky Mountains. We see several signs pointing out the distances and directions of international locations, including one advising Canberra is 13,332klms away……. The winds are ferociously cold outside on the viewing platform, and despite the risk of being blown back to Vancouver, we walk the 1 klm snow-covered boardwalk to an old stone weather station. It’s here I’m thankful for my new faux-fur winter boots. Nearby there’s also the hot sulphur springs with an original bathouse built in the 1800’s, but having mailed my swimmers home earlier as the cold set in (and due to lack of real estate in my luggage), we didn’t particularly feel like hiring the hilarious ‘traditional style’ bathers, or the standard speedo types either. Driving back from the Gondola, there’s more wild elk browsing in someone’s front yard!

There’s limited parking in town and you’d be pressed to find a spot for a vehicle during peak season. Given it’s early November, we’re on the cusp of the snow season so it’s not particularly busy and we score a free park next to the Library building. Banff is an easy place to wander around – in winter you just need to watch the very slippery frozen ice on the ground. We make poor attempts at ice skating in our boots several times. There’s a path running alongside Bow River in town, and we amuse ourselves throwing small rocks onto the frozen river, watching them skate across the ice.

We check out the unusual Banff Park Museum, full of taxidermy animals on display in the same way it was in the early 1900’s. We also see an interesting display of pioneer Rocky Mountain women in the nearby Whyte Museum.

On our way back to the car we spot a small deer in someone’s back yard.

I find a ‘fishing on the ice tour’ I want to do, but it’s not quite proper winter and the tour isn’t operating (which is probably a good thing as I don’t particularly want an unplanned ice swim). We put our names down for a wildlife tour (with a Kiwi tour host), but it falls through due to insufficient numbers. If you’re visiting the Rockies and want the big animal experience or the full on winter experience, you’ll need to time it for either mid-summer or mid-winter (along with the millions of other visitors at those times!).

The highlight of our Banff trip was a day visit to the amazing Lake Louise. It’s a 120 klm return drive from Banff to the lake. Whilst the main highway was snow free, the roads leading into Lake Louise had ice and snow on them, but not enough to put us off. Lake Louise is a gorgeous, emerald blue lake seen in plenty of tourist photos. It’s absolutely surrounded by snow now, and parts of the lake are frozen. Soft snowflakes fall on us as we crunch through 30cm deep powder snow from the carpark. The serenity and beauty of the place in winter is something else. There’s an eery silence shattered only by the busload of asian tourists arriving. We enjoy our time wandering a short distance around the Lake, and checking out the grand old Fairmont Chateau. Back in the carpark, very cheeky Clark’s Nutracker birds settle on our side mirrors hoping for a snack. We warm up with a decent latte from a café in the Lake Louise village (served by an Aussie of course!).

There’s plenty of bars and restaurants in Banff, and we treat ourselves one night to a proper restaurant meal of (pork) ribs. We now get why North Americans love this stuff! It’s beautiful food and we eat way too much, but makes a nice change to our usual cheapo diet of canned soup and noodles.

In Weps’ effort to eat her way around the world, we stop for a Canadian ‘delicacy’ known as Beavertails. Basically a dob of donut dough spread flat, and dropped into hot oil for a few minutes, it emerges as a flat, fried piece of dough. It’s smothered in icing sugar and with a wide variety of other sugar toppings (apple, nuttella, chocolate bits).
On our last day we do a guided walk with our Resort enviro person up past the Hoodoos (distinctive geological structures formed by winds) and also spot Juniper berries growing wild (used to make Gin).

We set off for our trip back to Vancouver after four days, calling into the Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre (1.5 hours out of Banff), to get a greater appreciation for these much misunderstood and beautiful animals.

On the way to our overnight point at Revelstoke, we drive through Roger’s Pass – well known for big snowfalls in winter of around 10 metres. It’s also home to the largest mobile avalanche control program in the world (the Canadian Army use howitzers to blast snow and minimise avalanches). There’s been some snow overnight and the road is reduced down to one ice and snow covered lane. We slow down considerably and watch in horror as a van approaching us fishtails on the ice, gripping the road at the last minute and just avoiding a head-on collision. Another local in a pick-up truck overtakes us at an excessive speed, also causing his vehicle to fishtail. We arrive into Revelstoke somewhat shaken, but glad to bo over the worst of it….or so we think.

Our second day’s drive to Vancouver (11.11.11 - surely that's lucky?), we stop at Merritt for fuel. It’s clear with no snow to be seen anywhere, so we set off for the last few hours of our trip. Ten minutes into the drive, we see the massive storm clouds overhead and it starts to rain heavily. The temperature drops as our vehicle climbs up into the mountains. Another ten minutes later we come to a standstill behind miles of traffic on the highway. Probably a car accident we think. Trying to tune into any sort of traffic advice on the radio is impossible, and we don’t have internet or phone access either. For the next half an hour or so, we edge slowly along the highway in the traffic as the snow starts to fall. By 3:30pm, it’s been snowing for around half-an hour and we’ve probably traveled a couple of hundred metres. The snow (and ice) is starting to build up on the road. We watch a small tow-truck pass vehicles in the side lane, which validates our traffic accident theory. Not too further up the road we come across the tow-truck with a small sports car that’s clearly veered off the road because of the ice. Unfortunately the traffic hasn’t cleared and around 4pm, it starts to get dark and the snow is belting down with howling winds.

Three hours later, we’ve traveled a total distance of eight kilometers since initially stopping. It’s dark, and the ice and compressed snow have reduced the highway to one driveable lane. Dozens of large semi-trailers have stopped on the side of the road, fitting snow tires. We roll down the window to talk to a very kind Indian truck driver, who asks if we need food. We’re thankful the RAV has snow defrost, as the snow starts to freeze over our windscreen. Plenty of vehicles pulled off into deep snow rifts at the (only) toilet stop we pass. We decide not to risk getting stuck in the snow overnight, and persist with our tiring and (now) long trip out of the mountains. We see a snow plough travelling on the other side of the highway, and traffic has clearly stopped being permitted to drive on this section of the highway.

We’re now at the start of one of the steepest downhill sections of the Rockies, and with 17 kilometres of one-lane downhill driving ahead of us, it’s the most terrifying drive of our lives. Several police and traffic safety vehicles gradually let through small groups of vehicles to set off down this section of road, once a snow plough has been through.

It’s impossible to drive any faster than 5klm as the vehicle starts to slip and slide. It’s terrifying for both of us as Weps attempts to minimise sudden steering wheel turns or braking to avoid going into a potentially fatal skid. Finally at 10:30pm, we reach the township of Hope (we think it’s aptly named after that drive – “hope I get home”) and stop for a sanity break. It’s still another hour and a half to Vancouver, but we need to have dinner (and a toilet break after 5 hours), and wonder how on earth we managed to get safely through that drive. The gas station attendant tells us there’s an average of five snowstorms in the Rockies each winter, and that apparently was the first one on the season.

The remainder of our drive is (thankfully) event free.

It’s goodbye Canada, and onto a bus bound for Portland, USA.

Posted by kelnweps 19:46 Archived in Canada Tagged banff rocky_mountains Comments (0)

Vagabonds in Vancouver

semi-overcast 6 °C
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The pace in Vancouver is much slower than Toronto, and it’s got that laid back feel to it whilst still being a city. On arriving at the airport we saw the great display of local totem poles. We catch Skytrain to downtown Waterfront station (for $7.50 each), for a short three block walk to our hotel, which was to become one of our favourite hotels on the North American leg of our trip. We score a twin queen bed room at the Ramada Downtown for CAD $78/night (plus tax) which includes a good breakfast. It was super quite and in an ideal location - almost in central Vancouver, and we like it so much we stay three weeks, broken only by a short trip to the Rocky Mountains.

One of the most noticeable things that stayed with me about Vancouver is the amount of begging. “Can I have a dollar; Can I have a cigarette; Can I buy a cigarette off you”: and so on. One woman abused me after I refused to part with a quarter (25c). Strangely, another woman stopped for her share of a potential handout when she overheard Miss Milk Carton, asking if she could have some money too.

Another cracked it when I refused to sell her a cigarette (I felt like asking if I looked like a corner store). I’m guessing because it’s one of the warmer places in Canada, it’s much easier to be homeless in a place that’s not minus 40 degrees in winter. That our hotel was next to a homeless shelter didn’t help, but the questions seemed incessant regardless of our location in the city. This issue will likely be a future blog topic (The ethics of feeding the locals?), once it’s got a more international flavour to it.

After a few months it’s actually tiring playing tourist every single day (yes, we can hear the collective sighs of indignation and see the rolled eyes at that statement from here!), so we had some wonderful do-nothing days in Vancouver. Weps found the unusually-shaped Vancouver Library (also a star in plenty of films including Battlestar Galactica), just a few blocks from us which was a great retreat with free internet.

A short downtown walk one day we run across our second film set. Looking more like the scene of an about-to-occur political interview on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, we notice a ‘Michigan News Van’, and stop to discuss the unusual aspect of that. “Robert Redford!” says Weps excitedly, and points to a white haired gentleman standing under the lights. I whip out my pocket camera and snaparoo! Get a great shot of the man himself, moments before we’re accosted by film staff advising we can’t take photos. We smugly move to the side of the set, and watch Rob don a baseball cap and walk anonymously with minder to a small vehicle, past dozens of people who are blissfully unaware of the star just metres from them. The name of the film is “The Company We Keep”. Apparently Vancouver is known as Canadian Hollywood, with the location often used for filming.

Behind the Art Gallery is the site of Occupy Vancouver – another collection of random tents, students and some homeless people.
Our stay in ‘Couver takes us to the Capilano Suspension bridge (free bus from the city). It’s 136 metres long and 70 metres above the Capilano River for beautiful views of red cedar forest. There’s also a great cliff walk taking you right along the edge of the river cliffs (including glass floor panels), and a great kids’ treehouse (and for big kids too), reminding me of Swiss Family Robinson.

We get tickets for an ice hockey game at Rogers Arena. The local Vancouver Canucks get walloped by Chicago Blackhawks. No fisty cuffs on the ice, but almost with the yobbos next to us drinking beer in the non-beer section (what were we thinking booking seats here?), who don’t notice they’ve spilled half theirs on me. Bugger. Now I gotta do washing.

Bizarrely, the game just stops when ads are shown on tv during televising of the game. There’s very polite stickers on the handrailings around our seats, asking everyone to sit back so those in the stalls above can see when the tiny puck disappears at a rate of knots into the corners. On leaving the arena, volunteers hand out brochures containing photos of those involved in the Stanley Cup riot from June 2011, when Vancouver lost to Boston and 140 people were injured and 101 arrested in the rioting that followed.

We take a day out of relaxing and catch the bus to beautiful Stanely Park – it’s 10% larger than New York’s Central Park and is a mix of man-made attractions (kiddy train, totem poles, seawall) and forested growth of Douglas Fur, Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock and Spruce trees. I spot a wild holly shrub. We walk around Beaver Lake which joins up to the Pacific Ocean, and is one of two streams in central Vancouver where salmon actually return to spawn each year. A number of finch-like birds land on our hands, obviously used to being fed. We’re also very fortunate to watch the quirky behaviour of four wild river otters before they cautiously and quickly cross our path to disappear into the creek. There’s a large beaver dam in the middle of the lake, and some obvious beaver chews on trees around the lake.

Winding our way to the seawall, past the nine-o-clock cannon (an 1816 cannon which fires, at nine o’clock each evening), and back towards our hotel there are wonderful views of the Vancouver skyline. We stop to watch several sea planes take off and land (should that be water?). We pass Dead man’s Island (originally a local native tree-burial site and then a quarantine station for those with smallpox), now the location of a Naval reserve base. Past the lovely timber 1886 Vancouver Rowing Club building, million dollar yachts and motor boats, the 2010 Winter Olympics flame site and eventually back ‘home’.

Whilst in ‘Couver we also visit the Dr Sun-Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden which is an unusual attraction for a Canadian City, where we try some green tea and Chinese calligraphy. Continuing on the asian theme, we sample unusual but tasty Japadogs for lunch, which are hotdogs with various Japanese toppings including seaweed, grated daikon, bonito flakes and plenty of other Japanese food items we have no idea about.

A visit to Davey Street with it’s pink painted bus stops and rubbish bins, and a large and thriving community garden on the way, and great retro theatres in Vancouver’s theatre district on our return.

A quick trip to the top of Vacouver’s Harbour Centre Tower for great 360 degree views of the city at sunset, with views over Coal Harbour, Lion’s Gate Bridge, Chinatown, and snow capped volcanic Mt Barker.

We're off to the Rockies!

Posted by kelnweps 18:26 Archived in Canada Tagged vancouver stanley_park Comments (0)

Niagara Falls Circus

sunny 10 °C
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Niagara Falls Circus
We love the occasional luxury of having a hire car on holidays. You’ve got so much more space to spread around. It’s like having a portable motel room. Not that we have that much stuff to spread. There’s a wonderful freedom in driving too – you just stop whenever you want and there’s definitely more of the countryside to be seen. So we set off early one morning from Toronto, to see the wonders of Niagara Falls.

It’s an easy 2 hours drive for around 130 klm, on a large freeway to the small town of Niagara Falls.

This time of year visitor numbers are much less thanks to winter, however the circus at Clifton Hill still exists. If you’ve been to Niagara you’ll know what I mean. Just a few blocks walk up Clifton Hill from the Falls, the main street turns into an amusement park with ferris wheel, knock ‘em downs, several Wax Museums (including the lame Rock Music Museum with a wax Gene Simmons in the front window), a Ripley’s Believe It or Not; a bowling alley, hundreds of tourist shops selling tacky tourist crap and the inevitable, Casino. Loud music and advertising blares out down the almost empty street. I want to know why it is that Ripley’s and Wax Museums have found their way to almost every conceivable tourist location across North America?

We didn’t know there were several parts to the falls – the larger Horseshoe Falls, visible from the Canadian side, and the second, lesser falls – the American Falls (also more visible from the Canadian side). There’s also a third, smaller falls – Bridal Veil. Seems like Canada got the best deal here, because the view from the Red & White side is much better. Whilst it’s not the largest falls in the world, it takes the title of the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world. We discover this when trying to park our car. We drive past the falls and it’s like coming into a heavy rain shower. Once parked, Weps dons a very smart white plastic, maple-leaf patterned rain poncho to walk through the spray, which pretty much saturates us. In summer I’m sure it’s a lovely, refreshing change. In winter however, the breeze makes it a little cool. Winter is apparently maintenance time, and sadly the Maid of the Mist boat tour isn’t operating (actually, none of the tours are operating) so we walk for several kilometers along the length of the Niagara River taking in the amazing views.

A young woman perished in the falls a few months before our visit, slipping off a cement pillar she was attempting to stand on for a photo. They don’t post danger signs for fun so this is one for the Darwin awards I guess. If she’d survived, there would have been a nice $10,000 fine waiting for her, and banishment from Canada. Apparently the falls authority don’t take daredevil stunts too lightly and aren’t afraid to apply hefty fines to those attempting a go over the falls (and there’s been plenty – not all deliberate of course).

Before leaving, we picnic next to the falls, and a rainbow appears, as if just for us over the aptly named Rainbow Bridge (collective ‘awww’ here).

Back in the car we drive over the bridge, crossing the Niagara River to the USA town of Niagara Falls just because we can. The sarcasm of the USA border official isn’t the most welcoming (Do you speak English in Australia? Umm, yes. Good, well can you read the sign saying don’t cross the white line?. Of course if we’d seen it, being the good, compliant travelers that we are in not wanting to risk the wrath of US border officials, we would have complied. A quick drive around several blocks and being the cheapskates we are, we refuse to pay $10 for a carpark for the shitty view from the US side.

Amusingly, there’s a Pakistani family selling cheap t-shirts on the side of the road but we give it a miss and head back to Canada for the two hours to Toronto. On the way, we detour through the historic and very Stepford-wives like town of Niagara-Falls-By-The Lake, past heaps of vineyards and wine outlets. Ontario has a special variety of ice wine (the grapes are harvested when frozen) but we don’t stop and I make a note to try and find it somewhere else. We go past pollution central in Hamilton, where waterside steel factories pump out pollution at a rate sure to give China a run as most polluted place in the world. We hit peak hour heading back into Toronto, and the five lines of traffic either side are challenging. It’s up early the next morning. Forgetting we’re in a major capital city, we misjudge the volume of traffic likely to be on the road at 6:30am, and our GPS gives us a bum steer near the airport. We only just make it (out of breath from our run) to our five hour flight to Vancouver. We’re seated next to a retired school teacher from Yuko who sadly lost his wife to cancer several years ago and we discuss his loneliness in being a relatively youngish widower in a small town.

Posted by kelnweps 18:34 Archived in Canada Tagged niagara_falls Comments (0)

Toronto, Canada

Justin Beiber's Shoes

overcast 7 °C
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Like most travellers, we’re trying to keep accommodation costs low, but we’re not looking to sleep in parks to do that. Whilst we’re okay with staying in hostels, so far across North America we’ve found we can get a room in an average motel for just a few dollars more than what a dorm with shared bathroom would cost in a hostel, so we feel a bit spoilt - sometimes. It’s also fairly common for breakfast (of sorts) to be provided.

Toronto is one place where you have to lower your expectations about accommodation quality, and increase your credit card limit.

We find a place that’s part of a larger chain (Clarion), and has a bit of history in that Ernst Hemmingway apparently once stayed there when he worked at the Toronto Star (local newspaper). It’s not clear how long Ernst stayed for, but they named a suite after his (then) wife. This hotel was possibly one of the reasons Ernst wrote such depressing literature. It was probably really nice in the 1800’s when it opened.

Our hotel is in historic Cabbagetown, and Toronto is a large, modern city with an efficient subway system, though rides are a little more expensive than other places we’ve been in Canada so far. The unusual side to Toronto’s subway is that casual riders use tokens (the size of an Australian five cent piece). Most other subway systems have a magnetic swipe card. The tokens are easy to misplace and easy to fumble with when you’re caught in the subway rush, and difficult to be credited for when you’ve some left over!

When you travel with someone 24/7, occasionally you need some time and space of your own. Our first day in Toronto was just that. Weps took herself around town, and I caught the ferry over to Toronto islands – a collection of small linked islands, 5 minutes ride across the bay. You walk off the small ferry after vehicles and it’s like stepping into another world. Toronto Islands have long been the solace of Torontonians over summer, and whilst I’m there in late fall, the closed establishments (bike, canoe & sea sports hire, kids playgrounds, and miles and miles of stacked picnic tables) make the place even more peaceful. Beautiful large Victorian ‘summer homes’ dot the islands’ waterways. It’s mostly a car-free zone, and I walk the several kilometre timber boardwalk to Ward’s Beach, stopping for a decent coffee at the Rectory restaurant. Given the island is home to many artists, the women’s toilet walls have been unusually painted with murals depicting (rowers name). Looking out over Lake Ontario waters, it’s calm and sunny, and the peace is marred by some visiting Chinese children chasing a local cat that strayed onto the boardwalk. (*notes* – a rant topic for later titled ‘Why can’t people just shut up and enjoy the view’)

Once the boardwalk ends, I follow the road alongside a beautiful park full of large, autumn trees and luscious green grass, past the Island’s only school and the historic building at the Island’s water filtration plant, a very quant artist’s retreat and onto the spooky and supposedly haunted Gibralter Point lighthouse. There’s a really heavy feeling here, and I take a photo and feel like I have to move on quickly.

Walking back to the Ferry, signs warn me of disc golf which until now, I’d been oblivious to what is an unusually popular sport (golf with frisbees!). Past the yacht club for the amazing views across the harbour of Toronto’s wonderful skyline.

The island is very walkable (2.5 kilometres from the Ferry point to the lighthouse) but I wish I’d had a bike for my trip to cover more ground. The round ferry trip cost $6.50.

On my return to the mainland I’m up for a new pair of shoes – my five-year old Keens sprang a leak in the Montreal rain, and clearly are not going to cut it in this cold weather. I cough up several hundred dollars (things aren’t cheaper in Canada) at a mountain equipment shop for a really comfy new pair of Salmon boots (rated to minus 25 degrees). Complete with faux fur lining. I just need a pair of skinny jeans and a checked shirt to complete the outfit, and I’ll look like a local .

On the shoe theme, one of the more unusual Museums we visit in Toronto is the Bata Shoe Museum (and we managed to score a two-for-one entry voucher). Neither of us are Imelda Marcos types, but we both find the extensive, historical display of footwear, and the ‘celebrity’ shoe display (Justin Beiber’s purple high tops?) pretty interesting. And I’m curious to know why female singers have such large feet?

This week is the start of Halloween – apparently celebrations go for the whole week. On the Saturday night we’re amused to see plenty of people dressed up in costumes catching the subway. We didn’t dress up – we’re scary enough as it is. Apparently so scary that a couple of white supremacists on the subway take a dislike to me, and spend several minutes glaring at me across the crowded carriage, shaking their heads and generally trying to intimidate me. I was surprised to see this type of nonsense in Canada, but I guess that travel is about opening your eyes to the darker side of the world, albeit from the safety of a crowded Toronto subway carriage.

Posted by kelnweps 18:13 Archived in Canada Tagged toronto toronto_islands shoe_museum Comments (0)

Ottowa - the Canadian 'Canberra'

semi-overcast 3 °C
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We’ve discovered an unpublished rule that any nation’s capital must have an appalling public transport system. After the really efficient Metro in Montreal, we’re let down by the sub-standard bus routes we have to piece together, to get around in Ottowa. It’s also the first time on our trip we have to catch a taxi. We stay in the ‘Queanbeyan-like’ area – just East of the city. Ottowa experiences freezing cold weather (a few weeks after we leave it drops to minus 37 celcius), and it’s pretty cold while we’re there. We bus it into the city and do the Parliament tour. It’s a gorgeous and old set of buildings, and we get to check out the Parliamentary Library – a beautiful old timber room - very Harry Potter-ish complete with massive timber bookcases extending up to the ceiling, and quirky timber ladders on wheels to access books up high. A trip up the top of the Peace Tower at the Parliament gives good views over the city.

Our second day is a visit to the War Museum which includes uniforms and artifacts from as far back as the 1700’s, and I discover the poem “In Flanders Fields” is written by a Canadian Army Doctor. On display was a somewhat gory special exhibit of War Medicine, including various bottled body parts from anonymous German soldiers from WWI. Our museum experience continues at the Museum of Civilisation, where we see massive totem poles and amusing and life-like displays of various impacts on Canadian culture across time (chinese laundries in the 50’s; the construction of the trans-canadian railway, lumber and timber industries and fishing).

We do a night ghosty tour of Ottowa which is a little lame, and bloody freezing but we learn some interesting stories about Ottowa’s past (it’s built on a cemetery!), and get to see the Rideau Canal (oldest canal in North America, and in winter it freezes over and becomes a massive ice-skating rink).

Three days is enough, and we’re off to Toronto Via train again.

Posted by kelnweps 21:43 Archived in Canada Tagged ottowa Comments (0)

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