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Sunday, August 24, 2014

First Impressions of Ottawa, Canada

Last year, my best Christmas present was a plane ticket to Ottawa, Canada from my oldest daughter.  She and my son-in -law moved to Canada a few years ago and are now permanent residents.  I hadn't seen them since the move.  Then my youngest daughter gave me my passport for my birthday.

When I negotiated my summer work, I got permission to move my stuff to National Bison Range before flying from Missoula to Ottawa for a two-week visit.  Jason, a wonderful intern, offered to shuttle me to and from Missoula so I didn't even have to pay for parking.

I had the best time in the airport and on the flight that I've ever had.  Justin, the intern, and I ate breakfast together at the airport before he left.  Then I asked a guy using his computer if he would mind letting me plug into the socket by him. We started up a conversation and found we were both from Houston. He is a chiropractor there.

Both seats were empty when I reached my seat. But just before the plane left, a young man, dressed in the same kind of pants I had on, and carrying hiking boots took the other seat.  We both worked to get his stuff stowed and then I asked him if he had been hiking.  He replied that he had been on a college credit course that involved hiking, learning about conservation and doing environmental activities while in Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Yellowstone and other nearby areas. I replied that I had just completed a volunteer stint at Red Rock Lakes and remembered seeing his group.

After that, we were best buds and talked animatedly and incessantly the entire trip, so much so, that the hostess came back to find out how such strangers were having so much fun together.   He  recommended some books and movies that were relevant to conservation in that area.

I can definitely recommend one of those books, The Big Wild . I am almost through reading it on my Kindle Fire. It is about the idea of hooking up all the public lands, from the Yellowstone to the Yukon, with corridors so animals can move freely among them, and thus maintain places for them to go when disaster strikes on one area, and to keep biological diversity high.  This is one antidote to extinction, which has already happened in some of the smaller, isolated national lands.  This idea was the start of Y2Y by the author and other like-minded visionary people.

My first impression of Ottawa was of extreme cleanliness.  The airport was pristine everywhere I looked. And so far, the city is also very clean. Then there is their respect of history with lots of old buildings among the still dynamic building of new ones. And the population is diverse and seems to have lots of people involved in walking, water sports, and biking.

Karen gave me a bus pass and a map and I'm starting to explore.  She took me on a long walk - even all the way over to Quebec, across the Ottawa River, the second evening I was here. Now I'm figuring out other places to visit each day.

Here are a few pictures from our first walk.  We took the bus downtown, but I've since walked there.  It is so lovely to get to use our feet or public transportation.




Parliament 


This  "face" on the Parliament building cracked me up

Ottawa View


Ottawa River where Rideau Canal Comes Out


Looking back at locks on the Rideau  Canal from bridge over Ottawa River

Maman (sculpture), giant spider by Louise Bourgeois


The pedestrian/bike boardwalk on bridge across Ottawa River


View  of parliament hill from bridge over Ottawa River

Recreation on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River


Downtown View-The glass top is in the shape of tulips 


Statue of  Samuel de Champlain - This was past the museum with all the
glass in previous picture - seen from bridge


View looking east on Rideau Canal

Murel on stairs

Looking across Ottawa River to Quebec side

My ribs are finally showing signs of recovery. I've had two more disasters while here: my computer broke down and one of my readers froze. But I'm now the proud owner of and Apple - and am struggling to learn its filing system and how to use a new picture editing program.  But it is so blazingly fast, I'll have plenty of extra time to learn the applications. Amazon has sent me a new reader.  And of course, I'm having a great time with my kids.