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North America » Canada » Ontario » Ottawa
July 28th 2016
Published: July 29th 2016
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There's not much to tell about today, but there are plenty of pictures because I visited the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. This was one of those big travel days - most of my day consisted of driving from Quebec City to Ottawa, which took about 4 hours. The one thing I've discovered about Ottawa, and this in my first 30 minutes of driving around the town, is that this section is a nightmare when it comes to traffic. I have happily parked my car for the next two nights. I'm on foot (and maybe bus) until Saturday.

Normally I'm a big moviegoer in America. I had the MoviePass until they hiked up their rates astronomically last month. So I haven't been keeping up with movies as closely for a few weeks now, because I don't know how often I'll get to go or whatever. I knew that if I left Quebec City early this morning, I'd have to find something to do before I could check in to the hostel I've booked in Ottawa. Otherwise, I could waste some time in Quebec City or find stuff to do on the drive in between. But then I remembered that the film Nerve was coming out this weekend, and I had wanted to see it. I checked the showtimes when I woke up and could process thoughts this morning, and sure enough, there was a show of it at a decent time that would allow me to leave Quebec City without wasting time and would allow me to check in to my Ottawa hostel as soon as I left the movie. Problem solved. So I got my things together, brushed my teeth, dropped off my sheets and towels, and I was on my way. Traffic going out of Quebec City was so much better than what I remembered getting into it.

I stopped by Trois-Rivieres on my way, about an hour outside of Quebec City, because I had seen they had a big art-deco arch just off the highway. And it was. I pulled off the exit ramp and could already see it. I stopped by, took a few pictures and paid my respects before jumping back into the car. I had also considered stopping by Montreal for a few of their architectural pieces, but when I looked at the time and considered the hassles of traffic, I passed. I figured I'd have other opportunities since I do hope to return to Montreal one day.

Most of the rest of my trip was uneventful. I made great time and my car got the best fuel efficiency I've ever seen - over 450 miles on a tank, with fuel still in there. The GPS and I had some disagreements, but I ended up getting to the film with about 25 minutes to spare. Since I hadn't had any food today (except the granola bar and pop tart in my car right when I left Quebec City, at 8:30AM and it was now 2PM), I decided to make it 3 days, 3 poutines. Every movie theatre of any size in Canada so far has had poutine. Theirs wasn't all that great - mainly the gravy was almost too salty to eat, but I was hungry so I finished the whole thing before the movie started. Nerve was a decent film - nothing spectacular but definitely energetic and engaging throughout. I'm glad I did it. It gave me a time to relax and recuperate from the drive.

As with any big city, Ottawa has parking at a premium. And traffic was straight out of hell in the neighborhood of my hostel. I even called them once I had made the circle around the block (about 20 minutes to do) and asked them where I should park. Once that was done, I got into the hostel and found my room (4-20) to be exactly as described. I' m staying at the Ottawa Jail Hostel, and you are correct when you think that it is the site of a former jail. My room is TINY - wide enough for a twin bed with no room to spare. Long enough for the bed and about 3 feet of space between the end of the bed and the door. No a/c in the room, but the floor is air conditioned, and each of the doors - original, I imagine, though most of the bars have been covered over with iron plating for privacy - has open bars at the top and bottom for ventilation. It's probably a step down for some, but it's a unique experience and certainly a step up for me over the privacy and sleeplessness of the past two nights. I dig it.

Once settled in, I made my way to the National Gallery of Canada. I had read that Thursday nights after 5PM are free for the permanent exhibits, but it's normally $12. I could do the same deal for the War Museum, but (1) I wasn't going to pay for the National Gallery, whereas I will pay for the War Museum and (2) the National Gallery was close enough for me to walk - about 15-20 minutes on foot. The War Museum is 35 minutes, and I may be doing a bus to get there tomorrow. We shall see. But the Gallery was actually pretty awesome. The building in which it is housed is a work of art, too. When I went into the first few rooms, I was unimpressed, seeing a lot of (in my opinion) idiotic modern pieces - like ultra-modern from the past 15 or 20 years where the artist is just trying to do something different for the sake of it. Blah. As I wound my way through the rooms, some pieces caught my eye, and I've uploaded pictures for all of you to see. It basically went in reverse chronological order, so by the time we got to the medieval stuff (which I usually really like) my feet were worn out. This was all on the top floor. On the middle floor, they had an exhibit of all Canadian artists, and on the bottom floor, in only 4 rooms, they had the native Inuit works. They tried.

Well, that's all I have tonight. Enjoy the works of art. Tomorrow, I'm going to see the governmental buildings and maybe even catch a glimpse of Canada's newest heart throb named Justin - not Justin Bieber; Justin Trudeau! It'll be a full day, I imagine, with loads of walking. But after Quebec City, I think I'm ready for it.


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"Saint John the Evangelist" by Lippo di Benivieni, ca. 1300"Saint John the Evangelist" by Lippo di Benivieni, ca. 1300
"Saint John the Evangelist" by Lippo di Benivieni, ca. 1300

The oldest work I could find at the museum


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