Weekend in Ottawa–Day Two

Sunday was a straightforward day: wake up casually with coffee in the hotel room, then grab a light breakfast in the Byward Market (fruit and pastry), then head straight to the National Gallery to see the exhibit before the crowds arrived in force.

The plan worked. We haven’t seen a show at the Gallery without fighting crowds in a long time, but things were manageable this early in the morning. The show was of a private collection now owned by the Met. The works were mostly drawing, watercolors and gouache. For a private collection, the show seemed huge, but it was also coherent, focused and defined by clear limits both aesthetic and (I think) financial. Interesting and really enjoyable.

Lunch was a happy error. For reasons I can’t fathom, all the restaurants we considered eating at outside the market were closed Saturday and Sunday until supper, which makes no sense to me but also seems very much like Ottawa. So we went back to Glebe to eat at a restaurant by a used book shop we wanted to browse. That restaurant was closed (grrrr)…so a bit lost, we wandered into a nearby Japanese place and ordered bentos. They came out hot and tasty and hit the spot perfectly, which made them a great end to a very fun but very Ottawa weekend.

Weekend in Ottawa–Day One

Last weekend was a three-day weekend for me and the Beav, so we decided to head down to Ottawa—a city that, like all other people we know, we neither love nor hate, instead finding it extremely odd, managing as it does to be both full of interesting things to do and yet unaccountably dull.

We were traveling down to see the Klee exhibition at the National Gallery, but decided to hold that for Day Two, thinking it would be less hectic to see it early Sunday morning. So after driving down, we stopped by the National Archives to see a small show on art about and collected by Canadian Prime Ministers. Then it was a short hop across the river to the Canadian Museum of History, where we toured the recently renovated Canadian History Hall and looked at some stamps. Then back across the river to wander a bit and to check into the hotel.

After a short break, we headed out for dinner at a great Indian buffet. After that we watched Green Book in Glebe.

Sun, Snow, and Blue Jays

Our second day in Saint-Michel-des-Saints was clear and bright and very very cold. A half foot of snow had fallen covering everything. After breakfast, one of our friends set out croissant for the birds, and female blue jays came to eat them. I’d only ever seen the males, but the female, even without the brilliant blue coloring, are almost more beautiful.

With the table cleaned up and the fired taken care of, we put on our boots, coats, scarves and hats and set out to walk around the lake. It was beautiful.

New Years in Saint-Michel

For New Years, the Beav and I were invited up north to stays with friends in a chalet on a lake in Saint-Michel-des-Saints.

The drive up was long and in the days since Christmas winter had finally set in. The fields were covered in snow and the rocks dripped icicles.

We got to the chalet early enough to offer to make dinner. The kitchen stove was wood burning rather than electric, so we were improvising a bit, but everybody chipped in and dinner—apple and sausage stuffed guinea fowl—was perfect and delicious. Done eating we helped everything digest with a quick walk in the cold.

Back inside, we shared a toast, wished each other a happy 2019, and by 10:30, were in bed and off to sleep!

Improptu: Florida

Home from Mexico, I started looking at the calendar trying to figure out when I could arrange a trip to see family. I hadn’t been down since my brother’s wedding and, come fall, that was going to be two years. It was a long time.

Life’s complicated though, so once I started trying to figure out when I could string together five or six days during the Fall term, I realized that “next summer” was a real option for getting down to see everyone. Then the Beav stepped in: “Why not just go now? You have a a few weeks before classes start again.” It was obvious and brilliant.

The trip begins

So after a couple calls and a few days to take care of some house chores and some Montreal errands, I jumped in my car and drove down. It was a two day trip (20 hours) both ways, but went well. I kept the windows down, the radio off and watched the landscape. Crossing the distance on my own made the two poles of my family life feel closer together.

The visit was great and a surprise: I’d only told mom and my brother. For everyone else it was all very “what are you doing here?!?!?!” when I showed up at the beach. (Well, mostly that. My sister and spiritual twin divined from signs too obscure even to mention what I was up to.) 

Heading home…almost there.

Back now and waiting for Mom to arrive tomorrow for a week’s vacation in Montreal. Clearly, but unexpectedly, it’s turning out to be a summer of partying.

Day 16–Heading Home

Setting off for home.

The schedule is a bus to the airport (3 1/2 hours) followed by the flight home (6 1/2 hours).

 

Once we’re in Montreal, we’ll take a shuttle to the car, then the drive home (1 1/2 hours). I think we’re going to be pooped once we get there!

Day 15-Rainy Last Day

We wandered out at the end of the morning without the umbrella because it was sunny with no rain in the forecast, but then spent the day trying to stay dry!

Our first stop was for a late breakfast and coffee (under the watchful eye of a dog on a roof) followed by a visit to the Museo de Ignasio Allende. The museum occupies his former home and is packed with long Spanish texts arguing that the city’s namesake was the principal figure in the Mexican war of independence. It also presents rooms decorated with period appropriate furnishings and made “life-like” by never appropriate wax sculptures like this one.

The first storm hit as we were leaving the museum, and we waited it out under the awning of a nearby depanneur. When it let up, we ducked into the Starbucks down the block.

We waited out the next storm there and then set off for the hotel but got caught running in the rain the last block. We spent the rest of the afternoon reading. When things cleared up, we headed out to a pizza place down the street, this time bringing our umbrella! Obviously it didn’t rain.

The food recap for the day is as follows:

 

Dinner done, we’re packed and ready for the shuttle tomorrow at 9am. It’s going to be a long day of travel.

Day 14-Canyon Hike

Breakfast (seriously)

After breakfast and organizing our ride down to the Mexico City Airport Wednesday, we decided to walk out to El Charco del Ingenio, the botanical gardens. The first few roads you have to walk to get there were winding, steep climbs and tough going.

The gardens were worth it. They were spread out across a corner of a larger reserve and were full of all kinds of cactuses and succulents.

The real attraction though is a nature trail running along the top of a canyon the drops down into San Miguel. There are ruins of an old water-powered textile mill and beautiful waterfalls and views. Phone died early on so not many pics but the hike will probably be the highlight of the trip.

Walking home we visited the market and, after cooling off with a couple local brews sporting T-shirt labels for the World Cup, ate Italian food for dinner. Yummy.