Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Eastern Canada Trip 2013 Day 13 Tuesday September 24 Ottawa and Gatineau

This is the 13th of a series of posts dealing with my third trip to Eastern Canada. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of a year later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”.

Haven't done a morning version for a while but I think this warrants it.  Rooms are a bit tight and one person was complaining about how warm they were (I was fine in that regard) but I make allowances for this being a converted jail.

[NOW: The guy was also claiming to be from California but given his accent I doubt it.]

Couldn't access the Internet when I got up because you need a code to access and they were out of them until a few minutes ago. So I ended up outside taking photos in the cold instead; felt hand going a bit numb.  I walked to the Parliament Hill area, which aside from the hostel was the only interesting part of Ottawa I'd found thus far. Did get some nice shots of the Supreme Court and of Gatineau across the river.

Made it back to the hostel for breakfast and they waited another 25 more minutes for the codes to finally become free.

[NOW: As noted above, the above was written in the morning. The rest was written in the evening.]

My Ottawa trip took another critical blow when I tried to visit the Peace Tower, probably the thing I was most looking forward to, and found it wasn't open today. Unfortunately I leave too early tomorrow to go then.  Needing another break from Ottawa, I crossed Alexandra Bridge to Gatineau again, this time heading east past a couple of islands with parks. Around the point where the Hull area switches over to traditional Gatineau, there was a lifesize sculpture of Jesus on the cross. I hadn't realized this happened in Gatineau but history books aren't always right.  I went to another Cédé Troqué but it wasn't open yet. I continued east to a mall with an Archambault and a Renaud Bray. Didn't buy anything those plays but grabbed a pop from a Dollarama.  I bought DVDs from another Superclub Vidéotron (alas the final one for this trip), then headed west, this time buying a DVD from the now open Cédé Troqué. Despite the line I couldn't resist getting a speciale du mardi á PFK (a Tuesday special at KFC). I ate outside nearby but the wind knocked down a bit of my pop.

[NOW: The mall was Les Promenades d’Outouais.]

I returned to Ottawa via MacDonald Cartier Bridge. Having seen falls from across the river on the Gatineau end, I found their location upon my return to Ottawa. They are called the Rideau Falls. Not as big as Niagara Falls but still very impressive and a bridge gets you very close to the Falls.  I then tried to make my way to Mackenize King Bridge and something arose that epitomizes my biggest problem with Ottawa: too many highways at or near the downtown area of Ottawa. I had to dodge freeway access making my way to my bus stop, i.e. Mackenzie King Station.

[NOW: Both Stations listed this report are Transitway stops.]

I decided there was only one area on my itinerary that I wanted to go, a shopping district in Nepean, so I decided to make a quick visit there. That didn't go quite as planned.  First I had to figure out the quickest way. Then I was on the wrong side. Then the first bus that came along, 87 proved to be the milk run. The driver let me out where a connecting bus was but it drove off too fast, another of the same bus, 118 came around a while later but I got confused in my stress and got off prematurely. I visited Nepean's CD Warehouse and Comic Book Shoppe on Clyde and then tried to find a couple shops on Merivale, grabbing some pop at Dollar Tree along the way. I appeared that Merivale terminated at Clyde, but I later learned that Clyde then also becomes Merivale at that intersection, and it was this south section I wanted. So this all ran out the clock on my transfer. I visited Book Market and got some DVDs at Jumbo Video (some of you may recall the now defunct Toronto version from my 2011 reports).  I then took the 176 bus to a station I can't recall the name of, something Pasture I think, then took a 97 bus to Bank St, passing a giant teapot sculpture just before (also saw it the previous day).

[NOW: All buses listed are OC Transpo. Once a separate community, Nepean is now part of Ottawa. The station I transferred at was Tunney’s Pasture Station.]

I decided to give Invisible Cinema a second chance; this time it was open and I got some DVDs there. A pawn shop south on Bank closed a little before I got there (Howard's); they spelled Tues “Teus” so maybe I could have gotten some good deals there.

I then wandered east to the Rideau Canal, and gradually strolled north. This part of visiting Ottawa I did enjoy. I worked my way west through the Sparks Street Mall and then re-entered Hull one last time via Chaudière Bridge, which passes over a couple of tiny islands.  Working my way east I passed the Canadian Museum of Civilization. I reached Alexandra Bridge but I was pretty sure from the previous day that there were eating places nearby so located a McDonald's I recalled. Either by generosity or by accident they gave me fries pro bono.

[NOW: The tiny islands are Victoria Island and Chaudière Island.]

I then did a night time crossing back to Ottawa, getting some nice night shots of the Peace Tower en route.

So would I return to Ottawa? Maybe; certainly I thought I would never return to Portland but ended up liking it more on a return trip. Difference is, there are cheap ways to get to Portland from Victoria. If a cheap option like Megabus arises in Toronto or Montreal I'd consider it, but having been burned this time, I wouldn't spend an extra $70 beyond the usual cost of returning from Montreal to Toronto by Megabus to take a train ride there.

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