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Not yesterday as we were blessed with a timely update from Larissa but the day before I had a tennis match that morphed into something more and ended up hanging out all over Ottawa. Ottawa is an awesome city for the tourist who just wants to hang out. It’s so beautiful, clean, safe and a very very relaxed vibe to it. Granted I didn’t go “all over Ottawa” as I didn’t go west of downtown but I’ve probably gone west of downtown 10 times in my entire life (kidding but not really).
Above is the private tennis facility I was alluding to in my last post, forget the tennis courts though, they have a slick wall. One could argue that a good game of wall ball beats playing poker in Prague or sipping sodas in Stockholm. From there we realized the day was young and everyone that we know lives closer to the city so we headed in…
We visited a friend near the canal who is ALWAYS home but oddly, he wasn’t. We dialed a friend of mine who works as a broker and went to visit him. The market was up 200 points after being cremated for 9 weeks and sure enough he was in a manic mood. I reminded him to enjoy himself as when the market does a swan dive into drain pipe he’ll also be getting calls of a somewhat different nature. We asked him to join us for a beer but he declined. I like capital cities, have even considered checking hotels in Central London as the Olympics just may be in order but I digress!
We were feeling alive and wandering around the Byward Market. I love the Byward Market and have countless fond and foggy memories from that fantasy land of bars and random bistros. They have a really nice farmers market and it’s just a happening place. We looked for a place to procure a pint and rejoice with pleasure. We looked at a few of the “hot spots” when I literally said exactly this “Let’s go somewhere grimier” aka with a little more soul. I choke up and I don’t mean emotionally whenever someone wants me to pay $10 including tip for a 20 oz pint.
With that we decided to go to the grimiest place we could think of, Chateau Lafayette. It’s one of if not the oldest bar in all of the Byward Market and it has an incredible location for people watching inside the joint and outside. Also for $20 with a gentlemanly like tip, you can get two tall bottles. I can’t get over how expensive things are, seriously. I’ll buy like a beer and wings and it comes to $25 and I’m like ehhh wow, that was a full day on a Caribbean Island with a lobster lunch but I digress….
After leaving Lafayette, we headed to the one and only Majors Hill Park in downtown Ottawa. This place is one of my favorite parks to just hang out and relax. It’s stones throw from Parliament, Chateau Laurier, Art Gallery of Canada, Notre Dame Cathedral and more. It’s a big wide open spot and despite being in the core of Canada’s capital, it has a very very very relaxed and laid back vibe to it. If you’re in Ottawa, I recommend you spend some time just relaxing there when you want some down time.
I would like to note that Ottawa now has those bike rental places where you just throw your credit card in, you pay a small fee and you can use a bike for 30 minutes. These aren’t a rental so much as just for transportation, you pick one up at a location and drop it off at another, when it’s time to leave you grab any bike and do the same. I’ve seen these all over the world and recently used one in Fort Lauderdale. If you’re a tourist, consider them as they make things really easy and let you avoid costly cabs.
Going downtown was fun, it reminds me of my travels. You can live in a city forever and never get a sense of what its like from a travelers perspective. Ottawa doesn’t have the scene of say Montreal but it’s a fine place to pass sometime in the summer. It’s also crazy how when you live somewhere you can easily miss the magical mix that is created in the crock pot call downtown by spending your time eating suburbia steaks with a pinch of salt. Yeah, that’s it.
Have a fantastic weekend, I’ve been planning a section called “Flashback Friday”, it will happen eventually…