Posted by: The Starfish Dancer | September 16, 2014

A Much Needed Mini Break: The Ottawa/Gatineau Experience #2

This statue near Parliament Hill helped me navigate to and from the Byward Market.

This statue near Parliament Hill helped me navigate to and from the Byward Market.

Well, another day has come and gone, and I am sitting down to write about how I spent my day.  This time, I’m doing so while sipping decaf coffee because I needed something to take a painkiller with, and I really need to remember to buy a bottle of water.  My hips are sore from walking on concrete in flats all day.  Still I got a compliment on my “In the Mews” dress from a stranger (which I’m choose to take as sincere because I think it is awesome even though when I bought it online I thought it was regular newsprint not cats) and I was sore in my runners yesterday, so it is worth it.

I spent my morning reading in bed with decaf coffee, since the housekeeping staff didn’t replenish the real stuff when they did my room yesterday.  Today this was remedied, so I have no complaints.  By the time I was ready to leave, it was about 10:30, so I decided not to bother with breakfast, as I was hoping to connect with a former colleague who now works for the Red Cross in Ottawa over lunch.  I made my way toward the office in the off chance we could connect (and found a Starbucks and a salted caramel mocha to get my caffeine fix), and sure enough we were able to meet up.  We walked down to Elgin Street, and ate at the Lieutenant’s Pump, where I’d eaten a few years ago and liked quite well.  We tried eating on the patio even though it was chilly when the sun went behind clouds, since I’m a “hardy Northerner” and he used to be, but after a wasp drowned in my drink and two more wouldn’t leave me alone, we decided to move inside.  The Pump serves these awesome cocktails on special, $10 for a mason jar drink and not the small one either, as long as it is before 5:45. They kindly replaced my Pink Panther lemonade when the wasp tainted the bulk of the first.  And while it is a big drink, it wasn’t too potent (just 3 oz total despite the size of the glass) so I didn’t feel like too much of a lush.  I took advantage of the delicious vegetables available in Ottawa and had an eggplant steak (grilled and topped with goat’s cheese) with a side of corn, bean and quinoa salad. It was very good and the prices are so reasonable!

So many stalls with fresh vegetables and fruit for sale at the Byward Market.

So many stalls with fresh vegetables and fruit for sale at the Byward Market.

After lunch, I made my way toward the Byward Market. I did stop in the Chapters first, because I can’t help myself when it comes to bookstores. I did manage to hold off on buying a bunch of books since I work in a store at home and brought way more than I’ll read for this trip anyway (five hour layover on the way home or not) but did get some crossword puzzle books since I like changing things up on the plane with those every now and again.  Then I wandered the market, where there are lots of fresh produce for sale, stands of maple syrup, jewelry and other goodies. I didn’t buy anything but a Beavertail, which is a favourite.  It’s a flat pastry you can get sweet or savoury, and I always have mine with cinnamon, brown sugar, and lemon juice. It’s so good, I never have any desire to try the one slathered in chocolate or anything else. I’m not sure how far west you can get it, but I know I’ve never seen a stand in Alberta or BC, so I always try to get a little fix when I travel east.

One of my favourite stops at the Byward Market. Yum!

One of my favourite stops at the Byward Market. Yum!

After my snack, I made my way back to my hotel to get off of my feet, walking slowly as I was starting to feel sore.  I took some pictures from the Alexandra Bridge of the Museum of Civilization, which is not far from my hotel.  It’s definitely worth checking out, as are some of the other things I decided against checking out today – a tour of Parliament, and a spin through the National Art Gallery.  I chose not to see any of these things because I had had enough learning yesterday and wanted to give my brain a break.  I did almost reconsider the Gallery, since there is a study of a Tom Thomson work and my dad has been on a Tom Thomson kick for a while, but I’ve seen most of the permanent collection before and am content to catch it again the next time I’m kicking about Ottawa.

The Museum of Civilization is a hop, skip, and a jump from my hotel, on the Gatineau side. Fun fact: there is a replica of Yellowknife's Wildcat Cafe inside, if I recall correctly!

The Museum of Civilization is a hop, skip, and a jump from my hotel, on the Gatineau side. Fun fact: there is a replica of Yellowknife’s Wildcat Cafe inside, if I recall correctly!

Once at the hotel, I emailed one of my National Capital Region colleagues, with whom I have plans set for tomorrow, and she invited me out for trivia night with her and a friend.  So I was happy to have another evening activity (and dinner company). Of course, trivia was at the Lieutenant’s Pump, so I did eat there twice in one day.  I drank a red wine sangria and had one of the specials (tempura fish and chips) to change things up.  My colleague, L, plays with 2-6 friends on a regular basis, as it is an ongoing thing.  It was just three of us representing The Nerd Posse (I approve of this name), and we didn’t win, but we did equip ourselves moderately and I wasn’t embarrassingly bad.  I love trivia in general, so it was a great end to the evening.  We could go again tomorrow if we wanted, but the places it is being held are a bit sketchy, according to L, or where not sketchy, the round starts later than I can do on a night before a course.

Tomorrow is a working day and not a fun day, though I do get to meet colleagues I’ve only emailed or spoken to on the phone, and that will be nice (especially if these colleagues are half as awesome as L is, since she’s a super star at work, which I knew, but outside as well). L is kindly picking me up tomorrow, so I don’t even have to contend with hauling my laptop around for a half hour while I navigate Gatineau.  And now I’m off to put on my pjs and chill before bed, so until tomorrow!

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