Welcome to part 2 of the On the Road series. If you missed the first part of my experience in Toronto you can check it out here. After 8 days in Toronto, you’d think I’d be ready to move on to the next location, but that was not the case. I loved my time in Toronto. I met some great people, and I really came to love the city, so I was a little bit sad to leave, and I think that affected my judgment of Ottawa at the start of this trip.
Arriving in Ottawa, I didn’t know what to expect. What I did know was that the hostel I stayed at was once a prison. I don’t think I’ll get many opportunities to say that I stayed in an old jail, so that was pretty cool. The history surrounding the building was fascinating. You can opt to stay in a single cell or a dorm. I chose the dorm because I would get so claustrophobic in the cells. They were tiny. I’m telling you if you want to experience life behind bars without committing the crime, this is the place to be.
My first night at the hostel also happened to be the night of the pub crawl. I’m all for a good pub crawl. It’s a great way to meet people and before I go any further, you don’t have to be drinking to have a good time. It was a great night. We had live music, visited the oldest pub in Ottawa, did some dancing, and went on a midnight walk with the best company. The best part, no hangover, just a lot of good memories.
We’ve already established that the best way for me to get my bearings in a new city is to walk. It’s how I navigated Toronto, and the tactic was just as effective in Ottawa. Suffice to say, I did a lot of walking. It’s amazing what you can see just by strolling along and what fascinated me was the contrast between the two cities. Toronto is huge. It has the hustle and bustle expected from such a large city. However, I felt like Ottawa had the perks of a city with a small town vibe. It was awesome.
My time in Ottawa coincided with the annual tulip festival, which was a thing of beauty. I also thought that the history behind the festival was really interesting. I’ll confess, my knowledge of Canadian history is limited which is why I loved learning about the connection between the Netherlands and Canada. If you’re like me and love to learn about history, art, or anything really, then Ottawa is the place to be. You are spoilt for options when it comes to museums and galleries. I didn’t even check out all the ones I’d plan to, but I did go to the National Gallery of Canada, which was a visual delight. There was something for everyone there, and I especially loved seeing the indigenous artwork. What I didn’t know was that there is also a chapel in the Gallery, so I’ll have to check that out next time. I also visited the Canada War Museum, and I found it so insightful because we rarely get to see Canada’s perspective on the World Wars. We’re also never taught about the early wars in Canada, so that was a learning experience.
Now, a trip to Ottawa would not be complete without visiting Parliament Hill and the Byward Market. Fortunately, both attractions were basically on the hostel’s doorstep, which was a nice surprise. The market is basically a foodie’s paradise. I’m a self-proclaimed carb queen so I was in my element here. Prior to my trip, I had been advised to try a Beavertail and it was so delicious that if I wasn’t so sure the prospects of turning into a dumpling on this trip then I would have gone back for more!
Overall, I loved my time in Ottawa. I only spent 4 days in the city, but I could have spent more time there. So, I have no doubts that I will return to Ottawa in the near future. However, the next part of this adventure took me back to Toronto where I butchered my back and fell in love with graffiti art.
Have you ever visited Ottawa?
Any suggestions of things to do for a possible Winter trip to the capital?