Friday, 30 September 2016

a week in ottawa, canada.

solo travel blog to ottawa canada

Even though it's the capital, I feel like Ottawa is one of the lesser-visited cities in Canada, trailing behind Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver... I mean, it wasn't even on my list of places to visit, until I decided it was time to head back over to that side of the pond, and I happen to have a friend there! But I'm really glad I went. 


At the moment, there's quite a lot of building work going on around the city, as they're gearing up for their 150th celebrations next year - it seems weird to me that a country can only be that old.. especially when you grew up in a house that was 500+ years old!

Having a friend there was great, as it meant I got to start my trip off with a friendly face, and he could show me all the best bits. I'll tell you all about what we got up to while I was there, but first, where I stayed..


solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada

I stayed in AirBnbs throughout my trip, and this first one was absolutely lovely. My hosts Ashley & Stefan welcomed me into their bright and spacious apartment, and I felt really at home. They were really sweet and helpful whenever I had any questions or wanted to chat, and were very respectful of the times I needed to just chill out in the quiet of my private room. 

I would highly recommend staying here if you are planning to go to Ottawa - they know loads of cool places, the bed is super comfy, and it's in a really convenient location! And as an added bonus, it's very affordable.

If you're travelling anywhere, you can use this special link to get £25 off your AirBnb stay!


solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada

I arrived on Monday afternoon & after having an early dinner with Will, I just needed to go home to sleep. When I lay down, my body felt like it was still moving. Too much travelling.


The next day we took a drive up to Gatineau Park, driving past lots of cyclists and gorgeous homes by the lake. It was a warm day and I wished I'd brought my swimmers, but a walk in the shaded wooded area was lovely too. It was nice to be amongst hills, as a lot of that area of Canada was very very flat. I was a bit sad that I didn't see any bears, but I did see some very cute chipmunks, as well as a few kestrels and a couple of eagles!

We hiked up to a viewpoint (above) and we sat and viewed our kingdom for a while, before looping around and heading for lunch at the Chelsea Pub. I opted for a smoked meat sandwich, and was very pleased when it turned up - it was about 90% meat! 


After a little rest & shower in the afternoon, I met Will & his girlfriend for dinner at Murray Street. The food was incredibly tasty, so if you're heading to Ottawa before 2016 is up, PLEASE go here as they're closing on New Year's Eve! I had my first taste of poutine which we all shared, but it was like fine dining poutine with duck gravy rather than a classic poutine. I then had some delicious falafel and pickled veg! 

We walked back along the river, with the big moon behind the parliament buildings. I felt very happy to be on my adventure.


solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada

The next day's activity was heading to Beau's Brewery, just outside of town. They're an organic, family-run, independent brewery, and they make damn nice beer! After trying a few samples (I liked all of them except the dark beers!) we had a little tour, which was actually much more interesting that I thought it'd be! We bought a few beers as a thank you to my hosts, and then headed into the little town for lunch. 

Vankleek Hill is a very sweet little town, and we went to a place called Vert Fourchette which was recommended to us by someone at the brewery. Lots of tasty looking cakes, sandwiches and soups for lunch! 

On our way back towards Ottawa we stopped at this huge cheese shop called St Alberts, where Will made me buy some cheese curds as it's a very Canadian thing. They were ok - kind of rubbery, salty cheese. Probably wouldn't have them again though..


When I got back to my apartment, Stefan made me a maple syrup iced latte, and it was INCREDIBLE. It's little touches like that which make staying in an AirBnb so much nicer that a hotel or hostel.


solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada

After a little rest I met up with Will again, and we got BeaverTails, before heading to Chateau Lafayette (otherwise known as The Laff) for a few local beers. We were pleasantly surprised to find that this guy was playing some lovely bluesy music, and we ended up staying for a lot longer than planned! I think John Carroll plays there quite often, and he is most definitely worth a watch - he has a very interesting microphone. 


solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada

The next day the tiredness really hit me, and I had to have a slow day to myself. I walked to a supermarket and bought some nice things for lunch which I ate in the park, and just wandered around the area by myself for a bit. 


solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada

By the evening I felt a little better, so I met up with Will & Mel and we headed to the National Gallery of Canada. It was huge! Nice to wander around and see a few things I loved. I find it hard to go around galleries with other people sometimes, as everyone connects with different things. Definitely connected with that guy below though..


solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada

The next morning we met bright and early, and headed to Art Is In to get breakfast to eat on the road! It's a lovely cafe full of delicious food & good coffee - the branding is on point too. 

We were headed to Montreal, but there is a whole blog post about that - a day in Montreal.


solo travel blog to ottawa canada

Saturday somehow rolled around and after spending another day to myself, it was time for my last supper in Ottawa. We headed to this place that my hosts recommended, as apparently they do the best tacos ever. 

We stepped out into the rain (the only rainy day of my entire trip!) and walked to El Camino, which is in an area that seemed pretty cool - lots of nice looking places. After a 30min wait in a place nearby, they texted us to say that they had space. 

It was so cool inside - very dark and industrial, cacti and concrete. We sat at the bar and ordered cocktails (it was my last night after all..) and some salt & pepper squid to share, before deciding on our tacos. 

Apart from the crisp shell taco that Will ordered, they all came together on a platter, which I liked - I'm fond of that whole food sharing thing. And I was pleased to see radish atop them all - something I seriously love on a taco, as you can tell from my previous posts about them - my beef tacos and fish tacos

I went for the ones my hosts recommended - the aubergine (or eggplant..) one, and the fish taco, and Will had some meaty ones. Thumbs up all round. We finished with churros to share. When in Canada....!?


solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada

And my last day was upon us. No idea how that zoomed by so fast.

We spent Sunday morning watching Mel and thousands of others run a half marathon, before grabbing an amazing sandwich and heading to the airport, where we finally remembered to take a photo of us two together. Just look at that 'tache. 

So all in all Ottawa was lovely, and much better than expected! 


Keep your peepers peeled for the next instalments of my adventure - you've still got Montreal, Toronto, Manhattan & Brooklyn to come! 


solo travel blog to ottawa canada
solo travel blog to ottawa canada


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4 comments

  1. Lovely blog post, reminds me of my time there. Such a great city! Can't wait for your New York post, I've just booked a solo trip for November and can't wait for your suggestions x

    www.lindato.con

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah Canada is so high on my list of places I want to visit! Can't wait to read the rest of your posts.
    Sophie
    x

    A Story of a Girl

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ahh, so much good looking food and drink in one post! I've never been to Canada but would love to go - Ottawa sounds so nice!

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

    ReplyDelete
  4. so so so high on next year's travel list!

    ReplyDelete

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