If you’ve been following along, and if you’ve been patient over the last month or so, you’d know that my husband has been back from 8 months away since July. We are currently in the midst of organizing our move over to the UK, so I’ve been ridiculously busy packing, organizing passports, visas and other official stuff, counting every penny, trying to sell all my stuff (you want anything? email me to see if we still have!) etc. etc….
We did however, find a bit of a break…sort of….at the end of August. Our wedding anniversary was August 23rd, and yes, this year I’m afraid I missed my week of dedications to the Luv Luv and did not organize the rest of our wedding story as I had done last year. This is because I’m FREAKING OUT – I’m so busy yet I can’t figure out what there is to do. This is when the list fairy usually comes in and writes a list to help control my anxiety, however all our paper has been packed, and, even though I am a “digital woman”, lists are just not the same when they are electronic!
Wait, I’m not supposed to be complaining – sorry, I got carried away.
Anyway, we had to go to Ottawa to get some paperwork done, so we decided to take a mini-break at the same time. When I realized that we would be driving, and that it would be my first trip out of Toronto with my husband ALONE since he came back, I asked Ford to borrow a car to review and use on the trip.
I am ridiculously glad I did. Ford lent us a media car, specifically a little Ford Focus 5-door Hatchback Titanium. As I strolled through the Ford car park trying to figure out which car it was (because I am car-illiterate. ie, I look at pretty colours not underneath that), I was surprised by a bright yellow little beauty which I have named Frenchie after the mustard.
Why? Take a look.
It’s the exact colour of French’s mustard! That sounded quite gross, but as you can see, it’s absolutely adorable!
Oh, the Luv Luv’s reaction? Well, it made him smile of course! It’s a sporty little attention-getter – what else would happen?!
This little beauty was our ride to Ottawa, graciously hosted us while in Ottawa and drove us safely back. The best part for me was that it had the type of dashboard that was perfect for a long ride in the passenger seat. For this reason (and no the Luv Luv does not let me do this in our car … which is not as long ride friendly).
There were lots of other great features, such as the full-of-everything-you-could-possibly-need dashboard that included the self-parking feature (that yes, actually works and works well people!), spacious backseats (for such a little car it was pretty impressive) and the awesomesauce sunroof that just made me happy as these things tend to do.
Now, our trip to Ottawa was partially for official business, then to celebrate our anniversary (although we usually go to Montreal) and just to get away from the mess that was (and still is) the remnants of my apartment.
We stayed at a hotel we stayed at years ago when we first got engaged, the Arc Hotel on Slater Street. It has aged fairly well. When we first went there, everything was new and gleaming – floor to ceiling subway tiles in the washroom, comfy featherbed with grey and white bedding and immaculate fabric-covered headboards. The rooms are small but comfortable, and the hotel is obviously geared more towards the modern yuppie than families. This time, there were greasespots on the fabric headboard (that’s the thing with those, right, you have to CLEAN them…), a little mildew on the subway tiles and general wear and tear. Overall, it was comfortable, except for the fact that I seem to be allergic to their feather pillows, mattress and duvet….and was itching the entire time. Aaaah, the life of an allergy-queen.
Anyway, the first night we went there, we walked to the Byward Market for dinner and stopped at a restaurant (which I believe was) called The Fish Market. There we dined on fresh seafood – it wasn’t spectacular, but was nice. The food was a bit bland and expensive for my tastes, but they were very, very much aware of my gluten allergy when I spoke with them. I was informed that my meal would take a little longer because with a gluten allergy they WASH THE WORKSTATION DOWN COMPLETELY before they prepare my meal. I wanted to kiss the waiter (but my husband was there ha ha…just joking). I do not know of any non-gluten-free restaurant that will do that. Or perhaps, this was just the first one to tell me they did it. Whichever the situation, I truly appreciated it and would probably return there for that very reason.
We then went back for the night, exhausted because of the long drive. We had MEANT to wake up early to go get tickets for the Parliament tour, but were distracted by some last minute forms to fill out for our official business. We did go down to the restaurant in the hotel for a fancy schmancy breakfast that we both thought was over-rated and over-priced. The service was quite grumpy too, which surprised us because we had never had grumpy service at this hotel, even when we knew we were being a PITA!
That day we also met with my pal, Suzie, a.k.a the Single Dating Diva (whose blog holds the same name) for lunch. She is the most gregarious person IRL and she dates guys!!! So go on over to her blog and ask this gorgeous girl out!
That night, we celebrated our anniversary by hopping over to Hull to a Brazilian Steakhouse (Churrasqueria), Ekko de Brasil. This is one of our favourite “night out” dinners and we tend to eat as little as possible before going so we can fit all the meaty goodness (sorry vegetarians!). This one, however, was pretty bad – in fact absolutely awful – the hostess had gone home, they stuck us in the back of the restaurant in a completely different room from the live band that was playing, we had to ask for our drinks four times in an hour (sat there the entire time with no drinks), had to request meat service (in fact the waiters thought we wanted dessert and we were like “we haven’t had anything to eat yet!!”) and the meat, when served were the dregs and ends…and didn’t taste very good…man, I’ve never had such a bad Brazilian BBQ experience! That reminds me, we have to go to a good one asap to make up for that night! If you’re in Ottawa/Gatineau and are going to a Brazilian Steakhouse and have to enter through the side of a banquet hall into the basement, run far far away and go get shawarma by the Market instead (trust me, take my advice)!
After a night of indigestion and itching, we got our official stuff done in the morning and then headed over to a little Gluten Free Burger joint called The Works (Ottawa – The Glebe location) that took us about half an hour out of our way. I was glad though because this little burger joint was spectacular and has the most AMAZING home-made lemonade!!!!! You MUST go – and if you visit the website, they are a franchise, so there may be one near you! Kudos to The Glebe location though, they rocked our world and completely made up for the bad food the night before! (sorry I was too busy eating to take photos!)
That afternoon, we hit the Museum of Natural Civilization. Now, I have been there before, and I’ve even fashioned a cake (that ended up a cake wreck) after the building, but my Luv Luv had never been. We, of course, had to take time to sit in the “Queen’s Throne” celebrating her diamond jubilee (in the children’s area). So we were royalty for a few minutes *lol*
My friend, Suzie, had advised us to go see the area with Gods and Religion, and she was right – it was a spectacular exhibit. We did as much as we could before we headed to their IMAX theatre to watch polar bears (did I tell you my Luv Luv is a documentary nut?!) and then headed back to finish the Gods and Religion area. It was so intriguing – all the different religious statues and information about each religion, all their festivals and comparisons of the religious beliefs about each celebration or event in life like Birth, Christening, Coming of Age, Marriage, Death….it was nice to see all of it together like that, and even better to see how many similarities there truly are between most religions. They even mentioned the Voodoo religion from Haiti, which my husband was fascinated by!
That evening we went out with my pal from Ryerson, my lovely little friend @roulabug. She is an Ottawa Native and took us for a lovely steak dinner (at a restaurant called…you guessed it, Steak) and then for a fun night of drinking and chatting at her little hole in the wall, a pub called “The Honest Lawyer”. Luv Luv HAD to take a photo in front of it – after all, he’s studying law and is honest….most of the time After catching up and watching Roula and the Luv Luv down an amazing amount of alcohol and still be sober, including an amazing drink Luv Luv introduced us and the table next to us called a grenade, we went home back to the itchy bed with promises of a morning at the National War Museum and an uneventful afternoon drive back to Toronto.
I wish we had put aside an entire day for the National War Museum, because there’s just so much to see and learn. The last time I visited it, I had gone with my architecture class and we were studying the building, but the content in the museum is fascinating! It traces the history of war and celebrates Canada’s involvement in each major (and many minor) wars throughout history. It is done sympathetically to the victims of the war and celebrates the strength and courage of Canadian soldiers, well known and invisible, througout the ages. I would love to go spend a few days there to get it all in. They also have a display of “boy toys” – ie. tanks, bombers etc that were once in actual use – that’s more for the “hero” in your male loved ones I think…but, whatever floats your boat.
All in all, we had a wonderful time on this trip, from the beginning when we picked up Frenchie to the end when we dropped her off. It was lovely to meet with my two old friends, and it made me realize how precious my friendships are. It was a wonderful visit to Ottawa and an excellent opportunity to spend some quality time with my Luv Luv. It completely reminded me of when we were younger and had not a care in the world, other than to just be with each other.
Thank you Ford, Ottawa, Luv Luv, @singledatingdiva and @roulabug for a most excellent adventure (yes I am old…)!