No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.
Last but not least, we have Ottawa, Canada’s Capital City as the final city to profile from Samira’s visit. I have called Ottawa my home for over two years now and really do find it a beautiful and nice city to live in. It is clean, well maintained and the people are friendly. Less than half of Samira’s visit was spent in Ottawa, but it still topped her list as her favourite city visited.
The day her plane arrived, after we got her settled into our itty bitty apartment, she wanted to head straight to Parliament Hill. We parked at the Rideau Centre downtown and made the 5 minute walk over to Parliament Hill. Having not eaten yet, we stopped at a hot dog vendor across the street from Chateau Laurier. Samira, being the sport that she is, is always up for trying anything. So when she saw me piling on Relish and Sauerkraut she quickly followed suit even though she had never heard of either before.
On our way back from Quebec City, Samira and my next stop was Montreal, Canada’s second largest city (behind Toronto). Only a 2 hour drive from Ottawa, it is always a great destination for a weekend getaway or when you are in need of a change of scenery. The shopping in Montreal is superior to what you would find in Ottawa. Not only are there many shopping districts in the city, but the malls also offer up different stores than what is available in the Nation’s Capital.
To me, Montreal is best visited in the summer. With us visiting in April, unfortunately many of the attractions are still closed from the winter season such as La Ronde (the only Six Flags Park in Canada) or the African Park Safari (where you can actually feed Ostriches, Zebras and Giraffes by hand – very cool). So, given the time of year, one of the places we opted to visit is the Biodome where the climate is moderated all year round. Your entrance fee is $17.75/adult including taxes (this is actually less if you are a resident of Quebec). The Biodome is made up of 5 ecosystems and is completely indoors.
After Toronto, next up for Samira and I was Quebec City. Located on the northern bank of the St. Lawrence River Quebec City is about a 2.5-3 hour drive from Montreal (about 4.5-5 hours from Ottawa). Even in the rain, Quebec city proved to be an absolutely enchanting and magical stop on our tour. Rain or shine, prepare to be wrapped up in the atmosphere of cobblestone streets, brightly coloured buildings and the roaming horse and carriages.
As you all know, my childhood pen-pal from Brazil has been here since March 31st so I have been super busy travelling around and seeing the sights with her. For the first time since her arrival, I finally have a little bit of downtime and wanted to share with you some of our adventures. Over the next week I will do travel posts about our time together in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City.
For starters, I will begin with Toronto. Toronto is Canada’s largest city with a population of just 2.6 million. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the metropolitan area of Toronto has a population of approximately 6 million.