Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Nation's Capital (just not ours)

Well, I have never been to Washington DC, never seen the White House, and I've never seen Congress but now I can say I have at least seen one capital in person. I spent the weekend in Ottawa and I had a few hours to kill before my flight today. It's amazing the similarities between here and Seattle, some 2500 miles away.

I first strolled along the street my hotel was on. It is called the Byward Market and if you put a cover over it, you could name it Pike Place Market. There were lots of vendors set up with temporary and semi-permanent stands selling flowers, trinkets, and clothing. The biggest change, of course, was instead of fish vendors everywhere, it was people hawking real Canadian maple syrup.

I walked a few more blocks past the Canadian Revenue Agency national headquarters (their version of the IRS I assume) and the U.S. Embassy and looked at the Rideau Canal Ottawa Locks. Reminded me quite a bit of Ballard.

After I passed the locks, I walked up to the parliament building and got there just at Noon. This was very interesting because their clock tower has a huge bell and chimes that played for almost 15 minutes. You can walk right up to the building and sign up for a tour without a second thought. I'm sure it's much different back in the states with background checks required weeks or months in advance.

As you walk around the parliament building, hidden behind is the Library of Parliament, a very unique attachment and a little area called the "stray cats of the hill". The little fenced off area had several cats, dozens of squirrels and a raccoon living there. I can only attach a picture of the sign because I couldn't possibly expect to do it justice with my description:
Just behind the parliament building is a cliff that overlooks the water and beyond to the french speaking side of the city. I took many great pictures but here are two of my favorites:

As I headed back to get my car, I stumbled upon the Canadian Tulip festival. The tulips were beautiful although from what I hear, the festival was laughable when compared to it's counterpart back in Washington.

These thoughts of Washington remind me of how much I am ready to be home back in the Great Northwest and, wouldn't you know it, they are calling my flight. Hope you've enjoyed my little tour of central Ottawa and I'll see you soon!!


Tracie said...

Great post Colby! Beautiful pictures! I felt like I was there. Thanks so much for sharing.

Tracy said...

Loved your tour. Your travels are fascinating!

Lana said...

Colby, good job with the photography. The cat/raccoon hid out is creepy. So did you get me some of that yummy caramel?

Oergel said...

After looking at your photo's I would like to go to Ottawa! Amazing buildings.