I had the nicest welcome in Ottawa, with someone giving me their day pass for the bus upon my arrival. However, that sentiment didn’t really reflect what was happening for the rest of the week. Let’s break it down.
Tuesday – Getting Organised
The weather wasn’t exactly nice, but I had the room at my hostel all to myself the night before so I was at least well rested. I thought I should do some recon and got a bit of a feeling for the area. There was a lot of sitting around at Starbucks involved (which you can find like three times on any given street) and then I just wrote some post cards and bought some food for the hostel. It’s so much cheaper to prepare food yourself, instead of eating out all the time. Come evening, the hostel was almost full and there were so many new people to meet. I seriously just don’t have anything exciting to say about this day.
Wednesday – Parliament Hill/ByWard Market
Everything essential was in walking distance from my hostel, which was amazing. I teamed up with my roomie and we explored Parliament Hill in the morning. You can get free tickets for a tour of the parliament itself, in both French and English language, so we did that as well, but only in the evening. To kill some time until then, we went to go see ByWard market. It’s a very touristy area, but it’s great if you have no idea what you want to eat, because there’s a restaurant for almost everything. We also got some maple-leaf shaped cookies with Trudeau’s face on it. There’s just no way you can pass on that if you are willing to take hilarious photos in front of the Ottawa sign.
The tour later on was interesting, but I am not much of a stickler for politics. However, we did get to see the House of Commons still in session and the building itself is really beautiful too. It’s a free and I got to meet some nice solo-travelers there as well, so it’s definitely worth a recommendation.
Thursday – Ottawa Museum of Nature
This day was kind of the one where everything started to go South. I scheduled a Skype call with my mum to discuss my further travels after Montreal. I knew I wanted to get to Vancouver, but I didn’t really know how. So, my obvious options were bus, train or plane. I finally settled on plane and my mum sent me link for a place I might be able to stay at for the first weeks. Innocent me goes on the websites to book the plane ticket and accommodation and what happens? My credit card does not work. Naturally, I freaked out. It’s the most annoying and maddening feeling when something that should be fine just isn’t and there is very little you can do for the moment. I wasn’t sure if it was just an online thing, so I needed to somehow test if the card worked in a shop.
Every Thursday a majority of the museums in Ottawa offers free entry to their general exhibitions. My roomie and I went to the Museum of Nature. I have to admit, I was terrible company. I was in such a foul mood because of the credit card situation, but the museum was still very nice. They did their best to make the exhibitions interactive and fun, having quite the variety of subjects spread out on three floors. I was so tired on the way back from there, I just wrote a quick email to my credit card company, asking them about the easiest way to fix this mess. Let’s just say I didn’t sleep easy that night.
Friday – Still Freaking Out
I wake up to the glorious email that my card is active again. There was some kind of problem with a data transfer from a previous purchase, so they temporarily deactivated it for security reasons. I get my laptop, try to book on the same site I did the day before (only accommodation and not the plane, because my mum was kind enough to purchase that for me and I’ll pay her back when I get home again) and IT. DIDN’T. WORK. I was so pissed and worried. However, then I tried it in a shop and on other websites and it was just fine. Conclusion of this ordeal, do not book anything on 9flats! Now I have to monitor my credit card balance closely for the next weeks and I am NOT happy about that.
Saturday – National Gallery of Canada
There’s a vast variety of museums in Ottawa, but I like art. I studied it and they had a lot of artists I recognised as well as a bunch of stuff I have never seen before. You get a discount if you are a student or below 24 years of age, which was awesome, because 7 Dollars for an entire day pass is not a lot at all. I was pretty beat from the previous days, had a massive headache and was quite glad to get back to the hostel at that point. I was just innocently making a toast, which neither smoked, nor got charred or burned, and suddenly the smoke detector went off. It was so loud, it even affected my vision. I hated that week so much at this point.
Sunday – Feeling a Little Dead
I wouldn’t say that any of the bad stuff that happened to me had something to do with Ottawa, because it so obviously didn’t, but at that point I was just over it. I was tired of always having to lock up my stuff, I was tired of walking around all day, I was tired of not really having a place that was really my own. It didn’t feel like homesickness, because I didn’t want to be home in that moment, but I was kind of over the whole traveling aspect of my experience. I just wanted to get to a place and stay there.
Monday – Montreal, Here I Come
Traveling days always make me anxious, because I am afraid of forgetting something. I met a nice girl on the bus to chat with and Montreal is the current home of my best friend, so I was just so ready to get there. I was greeted by tons of rain that drenched me, but nothing could overshadow my happiness upon seeing my bestie after almost a year. I have high hopes for my time here, although I can already tell you that the French language and I will never become friends.
How was your week? Tell me all about it!