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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 45.4214, -75.6919
We started out this morning at 8:45 and 65 degrees. And we had a lot on our plate for today. The plan was to see both Montreal and Ottawa, and we did our best. As is often the case, the GPS got a bit confused in the cities and that cost us some precious time. What did we ever do before we had a GPS? Read signs? Yes, we did, but that is easier if the signs are in English.
So we decided to head over to the Biodome, which you can see for miles as you drive into the city. When we spotted it, we wondered what it was. It kind of looks like something unfinished, and I thought about the '76 Olympics, when a number of the venues were not completed because of striking unions. This structure was originally built as the Olympic Stadium and they were able to use it, but the tower and retractable roof were not installed until years later. Today it looks like it was originally designed, but it has been renamed and converted to a facility that contains four ecosystems found in the US. We could not go inside with the dog,
so I just took photos from the outside.
We then headed for Mount Royal which is a backdrop for the city and from where you can overlook the area for miles. Well…that used to be the case. Steve and I climbed it back in the 70's and I remember being able to drive to the top, where the big cross is mounted and have an unobstructed view of the city. But all of that has changed. Before you get to the top there is a big parking lot and if you want to see the cross you have to walk a 30 minute trek up the mountain then back down. This was never designed for people with physical difficulties. And I though, how sad. Those who may most want to visit the cross will have the most difficult time getting there, or not getting there. We decided it was just too much for me and so we settled for a stop at a roadside lookout a bit further down the mountain, which unfortunately has overgrown with trees and plants and if you are short, like I am, it is a stretch to get a really good view. I was disappointed.
I really wanted to visit the cross. But it is what it is.
So we moved on and headed toward Ottawa. We drove for a couple of hours through farmland - huge fields rich with crops, maturing corn, golden wheat just harvested, and other various dark green plants, and the horizon was dotted with silos and grain elevators. And I kept thinking how my grandfather had started life up here as a farmer. He never owned a farm this big, however. And the drive reminded me of Maine only flat, with pine and spruce and maple and birch all mixed together to create variegated shade of green against the bright blue sky. It felt like home to me.
Eventually we landed in Ottawa and we drove through the city, a mixture of old and new, interesting architectural styles all existing together. My plan was to visit the Parliament and that we did. It took a while to get there (thank-you Mrs. GPS) but we did. I got out and walked around taking photos of the parliament with the Tower of Peace as its focal point. And the bells rang right on cue. The building actually has a blackish color to its
stone, the cause of which I do not know. In the photos you will see a lot of people milling around. And a troupe of soldiers was unloading chairs by a portable grandstand which made it clear that some kind of ceremony was going to happen soon. And the architecture of the surrounding buildings was very interesting, all very old, many with copper tops that had long since turned green and a style that looks like old castles from centuries ago. I found it all very charming and great subjects for photos.
After some creative navigation (Mrs. GPS did not accept the address of our hotel) we landed for the night. Tomorrow…Huntsville and a visit for a couple of days with Pat and Robin. My next entry will likely not be until Monday.
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