This morning Christina and I were going on a cycle around Ottawa. Thankfully, although she was cycling across Eastern Canada, she wasn't a super pro-cyclist and just enjoyed biking, so she was quite happy for me to trundle along behind her. I borrowed one of Dean's spare bikes and it all started so well as I was too short for the pedals and fell straight off into a parked car - a great start. It was bizarre cycling through a city - I don't think I've ever done it before, let alone drive it. As I was going without a helmet I was pretty paranoid but Ottawa is very good for cyclists and especially on Sundays as certain main roads are closed to cars on Sundays. Ottawa is a bit like the Amsterdam of North America as it is famous for (a) canal, tulips and bikes.
We cycled to Richmond Street after a conversation last night about a wonderful chocolate shop around there. We reached West Borough which was a nice little neighbourhood off the tourist route and went in search of Truffle Treasures to stock up on ice cream and other small treats. We gawked at the endless little boutiques and patisseries in the area before working off our chocolate and cycling along the canal to the city centre.
With our bikes stowed we went a walk along the sights I'd sleptwalked past a few days ago. We asked an information guide where there was a good place to go and in particular any 'hidden gems' in the city but he just replied with; "Nope, there are none." So we took matters into our own hands and just wandered the streets hoping to come across something. We headed through Byward market again which was just as much of a feast for the senses second time around. We went onwards to the Museum of Civilisation which was across the Ottawa River in Gatineau. I was expecting passport control or at very least a plaque as we crossed into Quebec but it was just as subtle as the province banners that was all around the Ottawa were suddenly entirely in French.
The museum of civilisation was an impressive building on the outside and also had some great views of Ottawa. We thought two hours would be enough to cover the exhibits inside but we only managed to cover a mere three exhibits before the museum closed. The Canadian Hall was particularly impressive with whole heritage towns built around the exhibits on each period in Canada's history- you forgot you were indoors at times.
Back in the outdoors it was pouring with rain but we made a stop at Byward Market to get dessert for dinner before a soggy cycle back to Dean's. He had prepared dinner for us and we were joined by his neighbour Jasmine who couldn't have been much older than me. Dean always sets and extra plate out at dinner because there is no doubt that someone would turn up and he was right as Jackie (a very interesting woman from South Africa that was round yesterday) came round with her daughter, also called, Jasmine. Little Jasmine was one of those purely innocent kids who was just adorable.
Dinner and dessert was followed by a firework display due to Victoria Day - a day to celebrate Queen Victoria, which doesn't happen in the UK. The evening was spent sitting on the sofa drinking maple whiskey and talking about everything from the Russian mafia to swadges.