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Last updated 11pm Tuesday 28 August 2012

August 27 - Ottawa

This is Parliament Hill.  Stunning buildings all around.  We took a tour of the building - cost - Nil.  Value first class.  Not only that we were also aloud to take photos inside the building except for the security area on the first floor (Aussie translation - ground floor).  We got some top class panorama shots from the bell tower (located just under the clock face). I think I recall hearing the clock tower was 19 stories high.  The bells ring on the 1/4 hour and on the hour.  They make a wonderful sound. 

A carillon is a musical instrument that is housed in a bell tower. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped  bells, which are played serially to play a melody, or sounded together to play a chord. A carillon is played by striking a keyboard - the keys of which are sometimes called batons - with the fists, and by pressing the keys of a pedal keyboard with the feet. The keys mechanically activate levers and wires that connect to metal clappers that strike the inside of the bells, allowing the performer on the bells, to vary the intensity of the note according to the force applied to the key.(Wikipedia)

The views of Ottawa were spectacular from up there. 

I was really looking forward to seeing the changing of the guards that happens each morning at 10am until the end of August.  However we were advised that Ottawa's idea of the 'end of August' was the 24th August!  Go figure! So no changing of the guards...Grrrrrrrr *frowning face* and discontentment.

Every night there is a light show display upon the building. Another 'however'.  We seemed to have chosen the only night that they cancelled it.  This was due to the forecast of stormy weather.  That never eventuated, even at 10pm the skies were clear..  Very disappointed seeing we could have pushed ourselves to get there the night before.   Let that be a lesson to us and anyone else for that matter.  If you get the chance to do it strike whilst the iron is hot or you might miss out.

Pictured below is the Senate inside the Parliament building

What did I tell you?  Stunning views of Ottawa from the top of the bell tower.  The Fairmont Hotel in the foreground.  On the way back we had a walk through it.  Nothing special on the inside on first glance we thought or perhaps we did not explore enough.  In fact we think that the Fairmont Hotel at Lake Louise (Canada) is far superior in every respect.  It still is quite a stunning looking building to say the least.  It was built between 1909 and 1912. The city has grown up around it and it is a shame really because from George Street which is behind it there is hardly any good vantage photo spots due to all the other city buildings that surround it.

More stunning views from the Parliament Building Bell tower

And not only that there's more ;-)

And one more just for good measure.  The eternal flame at the end of the central path has been burning since. 1/1/1967.  (Oh sorry I forgot Aussies don't really understand North American dates - where they reverse the day and the month... so for all those in Australia, that was 1/1/1967.)

Somewhere during the washing, drying, pool and nap the heavens had opened.  There were some pretty big puddles around the car park.  We thought we would take the car out for a spin around town but I misjudged the depth of the water next to the car and missed my footing so to avoid falling through the rail down into the lower car park,which I might add had become Niagara falls I went face first into the water.  

What a mess!  The brown die from my trousers came out and I ended up with pink shoelaces as well.  But boy did David and I laugh despite a grazed knee, elbow and hand.  You can see how gingerly I am now holding my purse.  It was full of water when I opened it.

We finally made it to the Civilization Museum.  Look out Mr Moon, if you do not behave yourself you will end up like one of these...... 

What a day what a day.   Had a nice dinner at the Dubliner Pub.  There are a lot of Irish Pubs in this area.  It's great.  Around the corner from our hotel there was also a pub called Mother McGinteys.   Denise remembers her mum used to use that as an expression when I she was little when she was feeling like she was being taken for granted.

August 28 - Ottawa to Montre

Awoke to a spectacular morning and our last morning in Ottawa.  

A short walk took us to the Notre Dame.  Lovely architecture from the outside especially with its two silver spires and roof.

Even more decorative on the inside.

Opened in 1846 The Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, (Neo-gothic architecture, Neoclassical architecture) is an ecclesiastic basilica in Ottawa, Canada. 

Across the road from the Notre-Dame a contrast of architecture and sculpture that sent my head spinning into the Twilight zone in the night.  Last night it was lit up in red.

Time marches on when you are having fun and it was really time to push off towards Montreal.  Goodbye Ottawa thanks for having us.

Pictured below - first views of Montreal.

The traffic started building as we got closer to the city but fortunately we seemed to be taking the freeways and slip lanes that were all going against the traffic.  We made it to our hotel in no time at all.  Pictured below is the view we have from the 18th Floor of the Hilton.

Once we were settled and got our bearings we were off for a city wander.  There is a whole underground city here.  Shops that covers or 12 square kilometers apparently and is classified as one of the largest  underground complexes in the world.  The only other one I can think of at the moment is Edmonton.  And we missed that so this now makes up for it as I am sure it is probably quite similar in nature with 13 kilometers of underground tunnels.

Somehow we ended up going up the wrong escalator and we were back in the street.  This sculpture was a great find. 

Curious about what was at the top of the hill we continued on and found McGill University.  "Montreal's equivalent of Harvard."  Well that is what the T-shirts said.  It was huge.  There was an orientation day going on for new students.  The place was full of life.  David has a good reminisce about his uni days.

A view down one of the many busy streets of Montreal taken from the front gate of the Uni.

Dinner time.  Back to the Hilton to take advantage of the Executive Business lounge and the dinner delights they make available to their business execs and guests.

Stay tuned for the next episode of the Kuchmar Family holiday as we gear up to explore the public transportation system to speed us on our merry way to some of the many of the attractions Montreal has to offer.

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