Fri 12 Jul - Ottawa, ON

Divided day - a biking day for Hans and a museum day for Di. We planned to meet again around 4ish to then have drinks together and dinner.

First Hans' day...

Hans went to "Rent a Bike" to get a bike for the day. $30 for 3 hours is not too bad and he was on his way. This is sort of how it panned out although Runkeeper had a few drop out along the way.

In summary, it was probably around 60km over 5.5 hours period including breaks and exploration.

Hans started off by following Rent a Bike's staff recommendation of following Rideau Canal south towards Mooney's Bay. This is along the way, the second set of locks and Hans thought that it looked very French.

This photo is taken from the same spot as the previous one. French picturesque.

As the map depicts, Hans has arrived at the bend, at Mooney's Bay where Rideau Canal and Rideau River meet.

A summery feel to Mooney's Bay, with all the floating equipment that you need to complete a day "at the beach". There is a beach volleyball tournament announced for tomorrow Saturday, expected to draw a crowd of 25,000 spectators.

Continuing on, Hans heard a "roar" from the other side of the road and biked there to investigate. A waterfall being the starting point of Rideau River. Impressive.

As Hans cycled along the Rideau River, he first wondered to himself why they didn't use the river as the basis for the canal, to dredge it and make it suitable for boats. Hans quickly realized that the river is quite shallow, with lots of rocks close to the surface, and probably with a very unpredictable and uneven seasonal water flow.
Eventually, Hans is back at Ottawa River, but given that the area north looked interesting, he decides to do a detour to discover. Good move. Hans reaches the Canadian Governor General's home called Rideau Hall.
The ceremonial Canadian guard is available for photo opportunities. The general security bloke came out from his hut behind when Hans was there. Maybe he just wanted to have his photo taken.

Hans asked one of the guys working in the Visitor's Centre whether it was OK to take the bike inside the Governor General's compound and there were no issues there (this is not the US), so Hans cycled inside to have a look. This is the Rideau Hall with another two ceremonial guards outside and their boss to the far left.

The changing of the guard was in progress and these guys being replaced were the ones at the front gates from earlier.

Inside the compound, there was a pile of stacked rocks. Not very interesting, but this adjacent sign was. Of course, English and French languages at the top, but at the bottom... Bottom right looked like Inuit language as that word is included (very long words by the way, giving German a run for the money), but what language is lower left...?

Back on the main drag, Sussex Street, looking south west which was Hans direction before his detour.

Well, opposite the GG's home is the home of the Canadian Prime Minister, who at present is the Honorable Stephen Harper. Not much signage revealed that...

If you look closely and behind the bars and the trees, you can see the Prime Minister's home.

Next door to the Prime Minister's home is the French Embassy. Of course, Bastille Day is coming up in a few days and they were preparing for a garden party from what Hans could see through the bars.

The French Embassy's front gate is actually on a non-descript side street.

But, oh yeah, party beckons...

Now, where Rideau River meets Ottawa River which is just south of the diplomatic area above, the river splits into two parts, divided by Green Island. Both these outlets were dammed up and in the form of waterfalls. The bridge near the diplomatic area was closed off as work was in progress, including a guy suspended between the bridge and the waterfall, see below. He can keep that job as far as Hans is concerned.

The bridge on the southern side of Green Island over the waterfall was open for punters and... Well, here we are looking straight down at the water fall.

And out towards Ottawa River...

Hans bike is to the left and the waterfall from a different angle, from the north looking south.

And looking back north. Yes, Hans was impressed and spent a bit of time loitering in the area.

A break from photos as Hans continued cycling towards town before crossing Alexandra Bridge and into Quebec on the other side of Ottawa River. There was a nice place in the shade down by the river where he had his croissant lunch before continuing across Portage Bridge back to the Ontario side.

This pic is taken from that bridge looking north east towards the Parliament House yet again. The small island in the centre was full of seagulls who were very noisy.

On the Ontario side of Ottawa River, the Ottawa River Pathway for bicycles and others continue westwards for quite a distance. Hans motored on and suddenly... vortexing... An art exhibition of sorts consisting of vortexed rocks mostly out in the water. Brought a tear in Hans eye as he thought about Sedona, AZ and all the vortexing that went on in that area.

Sorry, one more vortexing shot...

Hey, this is a beach. Westboro Beach in Ottawa. In an environment with the most ferocious winters. Well, on a day like today, there were a few sun and bath seekers out there.

Hans cycled as far as a place called Lincoln Heights, a junction where one path circled back to town through the inlands via Pinecrest Pathway and Experimental Farm Pathway.

Not too many photos as the scenery could have been from anywhere although the cycle path was nice and mostly away from cars and other vehicles.

At times, the environment looked a lot like the photo below, high rised 60s and 70s apartment buildings blended with farmland. In Hans view, spreading out the buildings like that wouldn't make much economical sense, but what does he know...?

These cycle paths were not very well marked at times and Hans got lost on occasion and had to stop and ponder at other times. In the end all good as he got back to Rideau Canal at Lac Dows Lake and returned to the bike rental place in town.

For quite some time, Hans was in company with an older Canadian bloke from a small place that Hans had never heard of just across from Detroit. The guy was a keen cyclist and an ex high school teacher and would probably have been good fun to have a beer with.

On the way back to Business Inn, Hans couldn't help but taking a picture of the Greek Embassy building, which is located on our street called McLaren Street and looks like any other suburban home if you remove the flags and the flagpoles. Talk about budget housing.

Back in the room, Hans kicks off his sweaty gear, uses whatever available furniture to get the clothes dry-ish and rested in bed.

Well, before all that, as Hans returned to the room, housekeeping was yet to come and of course our lovely Kosovo cleaner arrived just as Hans came out of the shower so he had to quickly get dressed and step out for a coffee.

Hans chatted with the cleaner and she mentioned that her brother lived in Göteborg (Gothenburg) in Sweden. She wanted to go there and visit him, but money was tight...

Di's day was quite different and with limited photos (with the iPad). Di firstly went to the gym in the hotel for a long work out - moving some very stiff and lazy upper body muscles for over an hour. Felt good afterwards.

Following a shower and change she headed out for a stroll in our local neighborhood. It turns out the Canadian Museum of Natural History is very close and that became the focus of Di's afternoon.

The museum is in a grand old gothic castle which was purpose built 100 years ago as a museum. Originally called the Victoria Memorial Museum and housing the Geological Society.
Inside is a bit of a story about the museum's start...
They've since added this lovely light atrium known as the Queens Lantern. It works well to allow people to move between the floors and provides some views out the front. It also replaced the old stone tower that was here and too heavy for the foundations, which sank and leaned.
But enough about the building because Di was visiting for the birds, beasts and fish, native to Canada. So back to the natural history....
First up the Canadian mammals and our mascot mate the moose. We will miss these when we leave.
Watching for bears...
Apparently polar bears are believed to have evolved from blonder grizzlies and got lighter in color over time as they moved northwards.
Bison and wolves are also locals and their numbers are on the rise.
Di met Bi...son (ha ha). Di to the right...
These gazelle like creatures, called Pronghorns are natives and are the second fastest animal on the planet, after an African cheetah. Who would have thought these were in Canada?
Then on to the Water Gallery...salt and fresh to see the fish and whales.
The Blue Whale skeleton on display here has a remarkable history - it took about 25 years to get it ready for display. The whale beached in 1975 and the museum went to collect it, them buried the whale for 18 years to allow the flesh and muscles to to decompose, dug it up and soaked in in an enzyme bath for 2 years to remove the old from the bonrs then scrubbed it and assembled it over 5 years. That's long term planning...
It's not all a museum - these fish are alive and living in this recreated stream.
Time for a break for a cup of tea before moving onto the Canadian bird gallery.
About 450 birds were really well displayed here - with lots of contrast and compare. For example these 3 pairs of related hawks were ranged to show that they differ only in size and gender, otherwise their colors and features are identical.
They also showed the same bird species but in different colors for male/female and summer/winter. Some other interesting displays of bird habitats made for interesting viewing.
Cute birds shown here for "song".
Di loved the John Howard eyebrows on these owls. Very cute.
Time flew by and Di realized it was 4pm before she left the museum. Oops. Back home by 4.30pm to meet Hans as planned.
Shortly after meeting up we decided it was time for some drinks and to compare notes from our enjoyable day. We went across Elgin Street to a pub named "John A" after a certain Canadian dignitary. Great place with a huge (and good) beer selection.
Hans found an excellent IPA called Muskoka - made in Ontario.
Di tried Cracked Canoe lite - very easy to drink.

As you can see in the photo above this place is popular on a warm Friday afternoon. We relax and settle in with some more drinks. Next Hans tried a Hops and Bolts local IPA. Ok but not as good as Muskoka, which he went back to later.

Now a sangria for Di. All too easy to drink.

We are "entertained" by the most amazing sight - a council worker after 6pm on Friday hand-cleaning traffic lights!

No joke, he had a squirt bottle in one hand and a rag in the other and he polished. His colleague drove the truck from corner to corner.

The pub had good character - they even have the restrooms distinguished by a photo of John A. McDonald on the men's room and his wife on the door of the women's. We wondered if Canada's first prime minister was spinning in his grave.

We really liked this pub and could be back...but for now it was approaching 8pm and we were feeling hungry and a little tipsy. Time to cross the road and eat leftover spaghetti bolognese (the sauce is always better after steeping for a day or two). Here is Di cooking pasta and stirring sauce. Not exactly master chef but a good outcome anyway.

Yummy. All good after yet another big day. Good night.

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