Roadtrip across eastern Canada. First stop – Ottawa.

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I finally took a week off work and as it aligned with my friend Monika’s vacation in Poland, we decided that she’d visit me in Canada and we’d do a crazy, unplanned road trip with only one predicate: that we’d rent a car and go east, use Couchsurfing, and then see what happens. Ottawa was first.

We got super lucky to begin with. Due to our initial plan to use only the most affordable options and not spend a fortune on this road trip, we went with a “manager’s choice” car rental option, which was about $100 cheaper than the economy variant. We ended up getting a Jeep Wrangler and we couldn’t believe our eyes! That car saved our asses multiple times. Once, when we found out it had wifi and neither of us had data. Then, when the roads were flooded. And again, when it was freezing outside and we could warm our butts and hands with its heated seats and wheel…

Let the experience begin…

We left Toronto on Friday afternoon and got to Ottawa at night. The host we stayed with that night wasn’t home and had informed us he’d be working the entire night. He also mentioned his dog was friendly… The trip started off with a story that was a highlight of the entire week. We arrived late so we got some sandwiches at the gas station. Monika left hers on the sofa as she stepped back to pick up her bags and bring them to the room we were sharing. We spent the next hour chasing a big black labrador puppy around the sofa. He eventually dropped it and, believe it or not, Monika ate the sandwich, but it will never cease to be funny.

This may not be the best photo but believe me, it was a big deal haha

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada but I don’t think we felt it. I’m still experiencing and learning about Canada but my guess would be that Toronto and Montreal feel more like business centers of the country. I may be wrong though, since we didn’t see a lot of the city.

Rideau Canal

The sights

The first place we explored was the Rideau Canal, connecting Ottawa with Kingston by the Ontario lake. The canal was built in early 19th century by the English in case of war with the United States. Fun fact: it is one of two UNESCO world heritage sites in Canada that we visited during this trip. Plus – it’s the only one that there is in Ontario!

Me and Monika at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa

It was a very rainy day, so we hid in the National Arts Centre. I was initially hoping to see some galleries. It was a center for performing arts and there were no shows at the time we were there. We rested on the steps and had some fun making fools out of ourselves and shooting photos.

The interior of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

And yet another story: we saw beaver tails at the ByWard market, but they didn’t seem inviting to me at that time. In the further days it became a thing and towards the end of our trip we were pretty much searching for it everywhere, which is what brought us to the last town on our map… but I will disclose more details in my further posts!

ByWard market

On our way from Ottawa to Quebec Monika suddenly exclaimed that we should pull over immediately. Apparently, she saw people stopping by the road and going into the forest but there were no signs pointing out what it could possibly be. It was a fantastic waterfall! Seriously, Canada is a waterfall country.

Check out the rest of the story about my roadtrip across Canada: Montreal, and the bonjour-hi and the little France of North America – Quebec!

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