DAY 1: SAT. MAY 17TH
With our flight being cancelled on the 16th, we had to shorten our stay in Ottawa, our first destination here in Canada. We arrived at the international airport at 10:20PM so we were busy trying to find a way to our hostel, and the taxi fare came out to be $33 CAD + tip. We chose The Barefoot Hostel based on the reviews on I believe… hostels.com? It was a small, but very nice hostel. Here are two photos of our room and bathroom.
The interesting thing about this hostel is that you have to take your shoes off at the door. “Barefoot” get it? It almost felt like home but with other people residing there. The beds were comfortable with thick comforters, which I really appreciated. The upstairs was reserved for 4 separate bedrooms and the downstairs had the kitchen, extra bathrooms, and a lounge area. We didn’t get to hold conversations with other travelers because for some reason, everyone was so quiet in the lounge area haha. We did have 2 roommates, who were out longer than we were. I don’t know where they get the stamina. My sister and I were pooped after 9-10 hours of sightseeing.
DAY 2: SUN. MAY 18TH
Since we had to squeeze everything that we wanted to do in just 1 day, we tried to schedule it as best as we can. We started out at a brunch restaurant called “Tutti Frutti.”
It had a long waiting line so we went in with high expectations, but it wasn’t as great as I thought. The food took a very long time to come out and I thought it was a little overpriced.
Next, we went on an adventure to buy “day passes” for the buses. It took us 3 separate stores and 1 OC Transpo representative to learn that we can buy them on the bus lol. A day pass for OC Transpo costs $7.95 (need exact change), it’s good for 2 people if traveling together, and good for the weekend, which is an awesome deal.
From all of the bus rides from this day, I’ve noticed that Ottawa is really good at accommodating to the people who need handicap assistance. The front boarding floor actually makes a 180 to make a smooth incline for wheelchair riders and passengers are really considerate to them. Ottawa being the Canadian capital, it definitely made a good impression in this sense.
We took the bus to get to Dow’s Lake for the biggest exhibition of the Tulip Festival. I think it’s comparable to the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC although I’ve never been to the one in DC. The 18th was the last day of the festival as well as Victoria Day, so there were tons of people. There were also tons of tulips. Lots and lots of them!!
Dow’s lake itself was also very beautiful!
We then went to the Canadian Museum of Civilization, but neither one of us had interest in the theme… but we did get to see an amazing view of the Parliament Hill from across the Ottawa River. It actually reminded me of Hogwarts!
On the bus ride back across the river, it started to rain so we were trying to see where we can eat dinner and just head back to the hostel, but while we were looking for a burger shop nearby, the rain stopped and we got lost and ended up at Parliament Hill.
All of the buildings looked very historical and they had this majesty to them. This was also another one of our photoshoot spots. Unfortunately (fortunately for my sister), we weren’t able to go inside for a tour, but I bet it would have been really interesting.
We then headed toward our hostel to grab dinner and call it a day. On the way, we got to see the Rideau Canal, which is a canal across Ottawa that is more than 100 miles long. In the winter, the water freezes and everyone gathers to ice skate on it. I hope I get to come back in the winter to see Canada’s beauty then.
We also stumbled upon Byward Market, which is an area sort of like downtown Charlottesville. It had a lot of restaurants and there was actually a street show called “The Engagement Ring Show,” where the performers spin and rotate on a giant wheel with a love backstory.
Byward is where they have the famous Canadian cookie that Obama bought for his daughters. I hear it’s not that great so we just took pictures of it lol.
We went to Smoke’s Poutinerie for dinner to try the signature Canadian food: french fries with gravy and cheese. These were a bit too salty and too heavy for my taste. Eating it actually made me crave a salad or a veggie tray haha. But everyone seems to love it here. Maybe I’ll learn to like it after a few more tries?
For dessert, we went to BeaverTails and tried the original flavor of cinnamon and sugar. It was delish! Soft on the edges, crispy on the center… I want one right now as I write this.
DAY 3: MON. MAY 19TH
With only 1 full day in Ottawa, we had to leave to go to Montreal. Not much to say about the last day in Ottawa, except that the bus ride to the Greyhound Station wasn’t bad at all. There is a starbucks only a few blocks away from the station and we camped there for a few hours before our bus ride. Starbucks was… exactly the same as those in the States. There was this one lady who looked at our green tea frapp and asked the barista if those were new because they’re not on the menu haha.
Montreal post hopefully coming soon! Btw Greyhound buses have wifi, but they’re not very fast. This post took hours! :O