Ottawa and the terrible awful no good very bad day.
Day 16: South Mountain, ON. 3.782.3 km.
(Another late blog post…no wifi in South Mountain!)
Today (that is to say, Friday), we went to Ottawa, with no particular goal in mind. Uncle Andy had recommended a scenic route to us, rather than the main highway, so late in the morning we set out, hit a pole on the way out of the driveway and scratched the car, went out along the main highway, and…missed our turn, because I misread a sign.
We knew we had missed it, though, so we turned around at the next exit, and…missed it again, because our GPS was showing us farther back on the road than we actually were. So we turned around again, made it to the scenic route, accidentally turned off the scenic route because the GPS thought that was the wrong was to get to Ottawa, found our way back on to the scenic route, and followed it to Ottawa.
And then we agreed that it wasn't worth the trouble, because it wasn't very scenic! I guess it's possible that after all that we were on the wrong road, but we're pretty sure we had it right, and most of it was just a drive through a residential area, with not much to see. And then we had to find our way to Parliament Hill, which took a bit of effort because we weren't on the main road, and then I missed the turn to the parking lot that Uncle Andy recommended.
By this point I was pretty much done with navigating Ottawa, and we just pulled into the next parking lot we saw, paid eighteen bucks for parking, and started walking around. Which is when we learned that it was colder in Ottawa than it was in South Mountain, so we were both underdressed for the weather.
We didn't want to do the tour of Parliament, since we've both done it before and only had the one afternoon. We went to the tourist centre to find out what else there was to do, but it was closed. So we went to do some shopping on Sparks Street, but found out that in the winter, there isn't much interesting there either. We were hungry, so we found a little (mediocre, it turns out) restaurant called Yesterday's for a mid-afternoon snack, and went to the local mall (Rideau Centre) for some shopping, since we had nothing else to do.
Then, we got lost trying to find our car back, and our attempts to locate the parking lot led through Byward Market, a fantastic little area full of unique shops and restaurants, which is where we should have spent our day, but of course we had no time to look at them now, because we were already late and were trying to get back for supper. So we made our way to a KFC, lost another 20 minutes there because they were super busy, found our way back out to the highway, and finally made it back to Aunt Carla and Uncle Andy's at 7:30. We almost ran out of gas on the way, and arrived so late that they had already eaten without us. (Not that I blame them!)
But, happy ending: after we ate, we had a very nice visit with our hosts, and chatted until almost midnight, when the day caught up with us and we needed to go to sleep!