Ottawa & Montreal – Canada

September 8, 2010

Kettle and I had a big day ahead of us. Our goal was to drive to Ottawa (the capital of Canada) for lunch and sight-seeing, then make it to Montreal for dinner.

Of course that didn’t stop us from pulling over to walk across a bridge.

Not just any bridge, but the longest covered bridge in the province of Quebec. Longest, but not widest, and we had to hurry across the 110 year old bridge lest a car force us to cling to the side.

It was worth the risk because, as I’ve learned during this trip, Kettle is passionate about walking across bridges.

Or running across, as was the case with this one.

You may have noticed that I said that the bridge was in Quebec.

I was going from Pembroke to Ottawa – both are located on the Ontario side of the border with Quebec. To get to Ottawa, I had the choice of taking the main highway, which runs on the Ontario side, or a more rural road, which was on the Quebec side.

I chose the rural road, which had two important results:

a) We discovered and crossed the aforementioned bridge.

and

b) We ended up on the road to Gatineau instead of Ottawa.

Based on my iPhone GPS, I was going the right way. But all of the road signs were saying how far Gatineau was ahead, with no mention of Ottawa whatsoever.

I tried to find Gatineau on my phone’s map, but to no avail.

So I followed the signs to Gatineau, out of curiosity if for no other reason.

Turns out that Gatineau is the city adjacent to Ottawa, on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Although the parliament buildings are located in Ottawa, Gatineau is considered to be part of the “capital region.”

Google Maps didn’t think it was worth mentioning Gatineau, and the Quebecois sign makers didn’t think it was worth mentioning Ottawa.

Globalization, meet Provinciality .

I like Ottawa. It’s beautiful, historic, and diverse …

On the street where I parked there was a store called The Bible House: Christian Books, Music, and Gifts. Directly across the street was a store calledVenus Envy: Books, Sex, Health.

Funny, I didn’t feel comfortable going into either one.

But I had no problem taking pictures from outside.

We (well, I) had a nice lunch at a bistro, then we walked around the spectacular Parliament Hill. As we were leaving, we came across a dozen teenage girls all dressed up in colorful jester-like outfits.

I asked if they would pose for a picture with my dog. They were quite enthusiastic about it and gathered around Kettle.

Which scared him.

But the girl with the leash held on tight, and the photo shoot was a success.

Finding a motel in Montreal that would take dogs proved difficult, but we found a place outside of town near the airport. I was about to pull into the motel, when a woman crossed the street in front of my car.

She was holding a yoga mat.

I looked in the direction she was going, and sure enough there was a yoga studio right across the street. I took this as a sign, so I quickly checked in, changed, and went to the class. It was a Bikram class (aka Hot Yoga), which I had not done for a long time. But I managed to not pass out in front of a room full of Canadiennes.

Barely.

By the time I was ready to go to dinner, it was late, we were still 20 miles from town, and there was a lightning storm.

But our goal was dinner in Montreal, so braving the weather we drove into town, parked, and went to the first place I found, Brasserie Alexandre, where I enjoyed a French Onion Soup and glass of wine.

So it ended up being a serendipitous day – I found a dream bridge for Kettle to cross, got a photo with a gaggle of colorful girls, was literally led to a yoga class, and ate at a restaurant with my name on it.

The next day we walked through Old Montreal, stopped at a veggie/fruit stand, then headed off to the city of Quebec.

Do you see this?
We can make it!
That was fun. Let’s go back!
Stage Right
Stage Left
Are you done yet?
Kettle, Dignitary
Kettle, Dog.
View from top of Parliament building
Zoomed In
I tried to get him to look at the camera, but he wouldn’t turn his back on them.
Notre Dame de Montreal, avec un chien
Random Street in Old Town. Not so random dog.
How am I supposed to read that?
Cooler’s full again

2 Responses to “Ottawa & Montreal – Canada”

  1. Patty Hyde Says:

    how many bridges have you crossed so far on your adventure? Do you know why the gaggle was dressed up?

  2. Alex Beltramo Says:

    Hi, Patty!

    These are two questions to which I just don’t have the answer.

    We’ve probably walked across 20 bridges, and driven across at least 10 times that.

    Debbie thought maybe the girls were the cast of Godspell. But I’m open to other suggestions.


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