Same Political Crap, Different Country

Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal, Ottawa

Day 100        September 17, 2014

Montreal, Quebec  to  Ottawa, Ontario

Canada

When we saw the awful rush hour traffic heading into Montreal in the morning, we made the last-minute decision to not go back into the city. Instead, we pointed the Space Shuttle west, and drove to Ottawa.

We hadn’t heard much of anything about Ottawa, but we figured since it is the capital of all of Canada, we were obligated to stop there. Passing it by would be like driving by Washington DC and not stopping.

Ottawa turned out to be a fantastic city! The only disappointment was finding out that the Royal Canadian Mint had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Junior Mints! WTF? Completely misleading.

Ottawa

Ottawa

The US Embassy building

The cool and hip US Embassy building

The US Embassy building

The US Embassy building

Locks on the Rideau Canal. Downtown Ottawa

Locks on the Rideau Canal. Downtown Ottawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal

The back of some fancy hotel

The back of a fancy hotel. Looks almost like Parliament!

The Canadian Parliament buildings were pretty cool, as was the fact that we walked right into a political rally on the front steps. The Ukrainian President was speaking at the rally, and from what we could figure out, he was asking the Canadians for weapons and money. So, what’s new? Same old political bull shit so matter where you go!

Some action on the front steps of Parliament!

Parliament!

Political rally in front of Parliament

Political rally in front of Parliament

The flag of Ukraine

The flag of Ukraine

Parliament

Parliament

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parliament

Parliament

Parliament

Strolling by Parliament

IMG_6179

Parliament. This old stuff is quite pretty!

Due to the political rally on the front steps, the Parliament building was closed for tours. That’d have to wait until the next day.

At the recommendation of a local Ottawanonian, we completed our day with dinner at The Black-Thorn Cafe. Delicious beers and food!

Libations @ The Black-Thorn Cafe

Libations @ The Black-Thorn Cafe

The Black-Thorn Cafe

The Black-Thorn Cafe

It had started raining, so after dinner we took just a short stroll around the neighborhood, and then drove off to find a campground for the night.

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Moshe Safdie, Surfing & Legos…One Degree Of Separation!

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Day 99     September 16, 2014

Montreal

Quebec, Canada

Just as we suspected might happen, we hit morning traffic going into Montreal. It was slow going, but we did get there. Of course, the central downtown district was crawling with traffic, so we couldn’t park there. So screw that. 

Morning traffic into Montreal

Morning traffic into Montreal

Nowhere to park the Space Shuttle...

Old meets new in downtown Montreal

We got out of the downtown mess and made our way over to Habitat 67. I remember seeing it on a family vacation to Canada when I was only about 9 years old.. a long time ago, in a land far far away. It was time to see it again!

This is from Wikipedia…

Habitat 67, or simply Habitat, is a model community and housing complex in Montreal, Canada, designed by Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. It was originally conceived as his master’s thesis in architecture at McGill University and then built as a pavilion for Expo 67, the World’s Fair held from April to October 1967.

According to an article on dezeen.com, Safdie planned the arrangement of the project by using 2:1 Lego bricks to build models.

“We bought out all the Legos in Montreal at the time, because we built many, many alternatives.”

I wonder if he still owns all those Legos. I hear they can be hard to find and can be quite expensive. He could be sitting on a gold mine of Legos!

Habitat was pretty spectacular! And despite all of the signs surrounding it, telling us that this was private property and to keep out, we didn’t. This is just how it is when you are with an architect. Look around…until you get kicked out. And we did look around…and we did get kicked out…but not before having a good look at the place!

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

We're in!!

We’re in!!

Trespassing @ Habitat 67

Trespassing @ Habitat 67

Cool view from inside one the courtyards

Cool view from inside one the courtyards

Habitat 67

Habitat 67

One last shot before being kicked out of Habitat 67

One last shot before being kicked out

One of the little known cool things about Habitat, is that it’s located right next to a surf break. Uh-huh!! There’s a surf break on the river right behind it! When the fast-moving water hits underwater boulders…voila…it forms a stationary wave that can reach up to six feet in height.

Surfing on the river!!

Surfing on the river!!

The wave wasn’t that big when we were there, but the rapid speed of the water, and the fact that the surfers had to enter the wave by being swept backwards, downriver into it, made the whole scenario look rather frightening! And if a surfer missed the wave, which most of them did that day, they’d get swept downriver, get out, walk up the embankment, walk back to the entry point, and try again. Not for the weak or faint of heart.

When we’d seen enough of the surfers and enough of the architecture, we ate lunch in the Space Shuttle, and then went to visit the nearby Biosphere. Like Habitat 67, Biosphere had also been built for the 1967 World’s Fair.

Lunch in the Space Shuttle

Lunch in the Space Shuttle

Biosphere is now an interactive environmental museum, and, unlike Habitat 67, it is open to the public…just not on Tuesdays!!! Crap!! We could walk around and take photos, but we couldn’t go inside.

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

Biosphere

We thought we’d try one more time to find parking in downtown Montreal. And once more, we were shut out. So we drove over to the old historic part of Montreal, where we totally lucked into finding two adjacent parking spaces on the street.

Old Montreal

Old Montreal

New stuff, in Old Montreal

New stuff, in Old Montreal

After further exploration, and dinner, we left the city.

Industrial scenes

Shooting while stuck in traffic on the way out of Old Montreal

Industrial scenes

Industrial scenes

Industrial scenes

Industrial scenes

We’d planned to return to the city in the morning to look around some more and to go back to Biosphere, so we found the nearest RV park and called it a night.

Cities….It’s a Love-Hate Relationship!

Coolest ever public sculpture!!

Huge head. Coolest ever public sculpture!!

Day 98       Sept 15, 2014

Quebec City   to  Somewhere outside of Montreal

Quebec, Canada

Since we’d discovered a great spot, just a couple blocks outside of Old Quebec City, to park the Space Shuttle, instead of taking the ferry over to the city again, we opted to check out of the RV park, and drive across the river. This way we could go on another walk-a-bout, and periodically check in on the pups. It’d be a little easier to manuever about, take photos, and eat lunch inside, without our little K9 buddies.

The bridge into the city

The bridge into the city

We explored. We ate. And we ate some more. It was a perfect day!

Cool graveyard, that also doubled as an urban dog park

Cool graveyard, that also doubled as an urban dog park

Entrance to the walled city of Old Quebec

Entrance to the walled city of Old Quebec

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Lots of hills = good exercise for us walkers

Lots of hills = good exercise for us walkers

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Coolest ever public sculpture!!

Coolest ever public sculpture!!

Mark, rockin' his Modern Times Sweatshirt inside the big old cathedral

Mark, rockin’ his Modern Times sweatshirt inside the big old cathedral in the middle of the city

Our pick for lunch

Our pick for lunch

We wined and dined

We wined and dined

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Flowers…Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Colorful...so the dogs can find it

Colorful…so the dogs can find it

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Around 4:00pm, we left Quebec City and began our drive to Montreal. We would have made it to Montreal, had it not been for the horrific rush hour traffic we hit leaving Quebec City. This was one of the very few times, since leaving San Diego back in June, that we’d seen any kind of “traffic.” It sucked! Cities suck!!

We got to about 30 miles from Montreal, and had to stop for the night. If we timed it right, we could probably hit rush hour traffic going into Montreal in the morning…if we were lucky!!

The Day That Went To The Dogs!

Old Quebec City

Mark and Dax hike up a steep, narrow street in Old Quebec City

Day 97    September 14, 2014

Quebec City, Quebec

Canada

Lucky for us, French Canadians love dogs, and dogs are allowed on the passenger ferries that cross the river into Quebec City. So Dax and Trixie would be hangin’ with us in the big city today!

Taking the ferry to Old Quebec City

Taking the ferry to Old Quebec City

Mark and I, and Dax and Trixie spent all day wandering around Old Quebec. There was one downside to having the pups with us. It was really cold outside, and although we’d have loved to been able to sit inside and eat lunch in a nice warm bistro, we couldn’t. The French Canadians don’t love dogs that much. So we ate lunch outside in the cold. That’s what coffee’s for…to warm up. So we drank a lot of coffee.

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Interesting architecture in Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

A lot of tourists in Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec City

After lunch, Dax and Trixie met a very nice Irish Wolfhound, who was touring the city with her people. Her name was Harriet. She was spectacular! The biggest Irish Wolfhound I’d ever seen!

I started thinking that maybe Harriet the Irish Wolfhound, was my mom, Harriet Cohen, reincarnated. My mom wasn’t particularly fond of dogs, so this would kind of make sense that she’d have to come back as a regal and beautiful dog…ya know, to gain a love and appreciation for dogs! At least, I think that’s how it works.

When we were thoroughly worn out from the cold and from so much walking around, we took the ferry back to the other side of the river. Dax was being Mr. Congeniality on the ferry. He was smiling at everyone, getting lots of pets, and giving lots of kisses. He was pretty much the center of attention on that ferry ride! Trixie ignored everyone, as usual, and just searched for scraps of food on the ground.

Later that evening, we drove back into the city to have dinner. We easily were able to park the Space Shuttle just a couple blocks outside of Old Quebec. And we were able to go out to dinner, without the dogs, to enjoy a little French Canadian cuisine. Or, as we dubbed it, Cuinadian!

I tried to order in French. I have no idea what actually came out of my mouth when I spoke. But the waitress appreciated my attempt, had a good laugh with us about it, and brought me what I ordered!  Cie la Vie!

I got what I ordered!

I got what I ordered!

The Dangers Of Speaking French! Who Knew?!

Longest covered bridge in the world!

Longest covered bridge in the world!

Day 96     September 13, 2014

Somewhere in New Brunswick  to  Quebec City, Quebec

Canada

When I woke up this morning, and looked out at the lovely river view that we had from our camp site, all I could see was the massive amount of steam rising off of the water. I don’t imagine the water was warm at all, but that’s just how freakin’ cold the air temperature was!

I don’t know why, but I was still shocked to find out that the air temperature in the campground shower/bathrooms, was equally as frigid cold. Brrrrr!!! Mark and I decided that we’d go see Quebec City and Montreal, and then head the hell south. It was so cold that, for the first time ever, when we hit the road, we both turned on our seat heaters!

We took a detour to Hartland to drive across the world’s longest covered bridge.

Longest covered bridge in the world!

Longest covered bridge in the world!

And another view of her....

And another view of her….

And it spans this pretty river....

And it spans this pretty river….

 

And on the inside....

And on the inside….

And across we go!

And across we went, just to say we did.

And we stopped in Perth-Andover, where we had an amazing lunch at the Waterfront Bistro. Gourmet smoked salmon and asparagus panini. Delicious!

Chillaxin' on the deck, waiting for lunch.

Chillaxin’ on the deck, waiting for lunch.

This would be our last stop in New Brunswick, which was a significant landmark. After this, we’d be crossing into Quebec Province, which is French speaking. I am not French speaking. Mark is barely broken-French speaking.

Our first stop in officially French speaking territory, was just over the borderline in Quebec, at Tim Horton’s. Using his not so stellar French, Mark tried to order one doughnut. We got six huge doughnuts. We proudly walked out of Timmy’s with a bag full of six doughnuts, and planned our strategy for survival.

It was time to bring out the big guns….the iPhone language translator app. Mark would speak French into the phone, and, in theory, the proper English words would be spoken back to us. Then, speaking as precisely as I could, I would try to mimic the French words into the phone, and then listen to the English translation spoken back to me.

Here’s a little chart of what I thought I said in French, and what the iPhone thought I said:

What I thought I said in French…………………..The IPhone’s English translation

I’m sorry, I don’t speak French…………………..I saved Jana Ronson

I’m sorry, can you say that again…..……….……I’m sorry, and you could diet

I’m sorry, repeat please…………………………..I’m sorry, pizza please

And then there was a translation that had something to do with telling someone they need pants. I decided that it’d probably be too dangerous for me to attempt speaking French.

At the end of our fun little day full of adventures, we checked into Motel et Camping Etchemin, just across the river form Quebec City. This was a combination motel and RV park. Lucky for us, the receptionist spoke perfect English. And so, we DID end up with a nice RV site behind the hotel, and NOT with a deluxe hotel suite!

You Call It Summer, I Call It Winter!

Local cuisine. It's cold out, but not so cold that we can't drink a beer!

Local cuisine.

Day 95     September 12, 2014    part 2

Antigonish, Nova Scotia  to Somewhere in New Brunswick

Canada

There was still a lot of driving to be done today, so back on the road we went. We crossed most of New Brunswick on the highway, which meant that we didn’t see much, except for trees. New Brunswick has a lot of trees.

As evening approached, we found a really nice campground for the night. The place  was closing for the winter in three days, and it was pretty much empty except for a handful of New Brunswickians squeezing in their last few days of camping for 2014.

We had a site with a nice sunset view overlooking the river below. The view didn’t quite make up for the fact that it was butt-cold outside! We bundled up by layering on almost all of the clothes we had with us. Thank goodness we’d bought wool hats when we were in Newfoundland.

Once bundled up, we leashed up the pups to go on one last evening doggie walk. And that’s when we met a group of four New Brunswickians, out for an evening stroll around the campground. They looked at us, and we looked at them, and we all burst out laughing.

What was wrong with the picture was, that we were bundled up in lots of clothing, including hats, scarves, and gloves, and we were still cold. And they were out strolling around in shorts and t-shirts, and were perfectly comfortable.

When the New Brunswickians saw our California license plate, well, they said, “That explains it!” And when they found out we’d been living in the Space Shuttle for three months, one of them exclaimed, “Oh my gosh! You should be given some kind of award!” Haha!! Mark and I both laughed, and then agreed with her!

We bid these nice people good night, and went about our evening walk, in the frigid cold of the Canadian summer!

Local cuisine. It's cold out, but not so cold that we can't drink a beer!

It’s cold out, but not so cold that we can’t drink a beer!

In Dax We Trust! When Dogs Are Smarter Than People!

Sittin' on the dock of the bay, waitin' for the tide to come this way...

Sittin’ on the dock of the bay, waitin’ for the tide to come this way…

Day 95        September 12, 2014        part 1

Antigonish, Nova Scotia  to Somewhere in New Brunswick

Canada

In a reversal of our previous decision to skip it, we decided after all, to go to the Shubenacadie River, in Truro, to see the “reversing falls.” With extraordinary 40+ foot tides in the Bay of Fundy, when the tides change, the direction of the flow of the water on the Shubenacadie also changes. The term “falls” is completely misleading, but the phenomenon is still cool to witness.

Our timing was perfect (dumb luck), and we arrived at the interpretive center 20 minutes before the tide change. We were instructed to drive ten minutes up the road to Maitlin, and to watch from the pier.

Pastoral beauty on the river's edge in Maitlin

Pastoral beauty on the river’s edge in Maitlin

Mark and I and the doggies, and ten other tourists, gathered on the Maitlin pier, waiting for the tidal change  It was a friendly bunch and we had a good time talking with everyone. Dax and Trixie were extremely popular with this group as well. I guess everyone else was missing their doggies back home.

Sittin' on the dock of the bay, waitin' for the tide to come this way...

Sittin’ on the dock of the bay, waitin’ for the tide to come this way…

Yes, the riverbed IS really this red!

Yes, the riverbed IS really this red!

Coastline in Maitlin

Coastline in Maitlin

High tide was scheduled for 12:55. I know these things aren’t exact, but there we all were, just waiting for the big moment to happen. We weren’t even really sure what was gonna happen, just that we wanted to see it, whatever it was.

Surely something special was gonna happen, ‘cause otherwise all of these crazy kayakers wouldn’t be trying to drag their kayaks through the filthy red mud to get to the tiny bit of water that was currently in the river. That in itself was a hilarious sight to see!

Crazy kayaker trying to get out into the middle of the river without actually touching any of the red messy mud.

Crazy kayaker trying to get out into the middle of the river without actually touching any of the red messy mud.

Misery loves company.

Misery loves company.

This guy's gonna do it standing up!

This guy’s gonna do it standing up!

Once in a while, we’d have a false alarm. Someone would think they heard something or saw the water rising. But no, nothing was happening.

It’d been twenty minutes since the tide was supposed to change, when suddenly, Dax stands up, faces down river, and starts barking like crazy. Well damn! Wouldn’t ya know it, as we all looked up to see what he was barking at, we could see the water heading towards us, up the river in the reverse direction!

And that is how we discovered Dax’s hidden talent! Apparently, he has an uncanny ability to predict tidal changes! The crowd on the peer hooted, hollered, laughed, and applauded Dax! For just those few moments in time, he was a Superhero!!

The reversing falls was pretty fun to see. Suddenly, the almost completely dry river bed turned into a very wet river flowing in the opposite direction, and the water level was rising so fast you could see it. And the kayakers then had little rapids to run!

We hustled back to the interpretive center, where there was a platform viewing area high above the river’s edge. This was an even more dramatic view where we were able to watch the river rise 40’ in 15 minutes. That’s a lot of agua!!

Finally, some water in the middle of the river

Finally, some water in the middle of the river

Low water

Low water

Same view. Higher water.

Same view. Higher water.

Still some dry spots in the middle

Still some dry spots in the middle

No more dry spots in the middle

No more dry spots in the middle

Tourists in motorized rafts ride the rapids!

Tourists in motorized rafts ride the rapids!

So much water rushing in!

So much water rushing in!

So yes, it was worth the detour to Truro. We got to witness the power of nature that day. But even better, we got to discover the Superhero that is Dax!