Posts Tagged ‘Byward Market’

My Old Stomping Grounds

This past weekend I made the long drive east to Ottawa. A trip that should have taken me 7-8 hours ended up taking two full days after the CRAZIEST white-out snowstorm I have EVER driven in (and that’s saying a lot coming from a girl who lives in Bruce County…) left me storm-stayed in Belleville for a night. While I was disappointed to have to miss dinner plans with my friends Nicole, Rob and their son Max, I decided to make the best of it and  think of it as yet another travel adventure and story. Turns out every hotel in town was sold out of rooms and full of stranded travelers! Some beers and stories in the hotel lobby with fellow strandees and I could do nothing but laugh at being stuck somewhere en route to a destination AGAIN!

Over night the snow stopped and the highways were cleared and I headed back out on the road in sparkling sunshine to finish the last stretch of the drive. As soon as I hit Hwy 417, a huge smile spread across my face; I absolutely LOVE Ottawa and have the best memories of my time living there. It is a place of firsts for me; my first time living on my own and by my own rules, my first apartment, my first roommates, my first serious relationship, my first grown-up job, my first deep hurt…It is also where I lived the glorious life of a student, spent far too much time (and money) partying and had some of the most hilarious and story-worthy encounters and adventures. Ottawa is a beautiful city and will always hold a special place in my heart.

The Capitol also happens to be where some of my favourite people reside but because it’s so far away, I don’t make it back nearly often enough. Needless to say, I had a full schedule to see everyone I wanted to see while there but managed some great time with all my important Ottawa people. Noah (my NZ travel buddy) recently moved back so I used his apartment as my home-base. Friday at noon I met a work colleague (fabulous lady who knows just the right things to say to get me motivated!) at Heart and Crown for lunch and followed lunch up with wandering around the market reminiscing! Friday night we went to an old church in the Byward Market that is no longer an active place of worship and has been converted into an event space (although converted might be the wrong word…it really hasn’t been changed in anyway and the pews and everything are still set up) for a dance party.

For possibly the first time in my life, I felt old. There is a good chance I was about a decade older than a lot of the people there. Regardless, it was kind of hilarious and we had a pretty good time dancing and ended the night at Shawarma King, which is never a bad thing. When I lived in Ottawa, I assumed shawarma was standard fare in all major cities but O-town is truly the only place I have been where you can find it on almost every corner.

Saturday morning was breakfast with Nicole and Rob (delicious eggs benedict on home-made english muffins!) and cuddles with their adorable son Max. It was so great catching up with Nicole! She and I spent years traveling all over the country together competing in biathlon and I am so happy we have remained such good friends throughout the years. She is also one of the most interesting people I have ever met – the girl has traveled all over the world on her own and has some pretty remarkable stories (you should read her blog to get a glimpse of some of the remarkable adventures she has been on –

Drinks Saturday night at The Lieutenant’s Pump followed by a trip to Elgin Street Diner, an Ottawa late-night institution where the line-up and wait is well worth it to grab one of their multiple flavoured, cheese-curd filled, gravy-drenched poutines. I wondered if the four-cheese variety was as good as I remembered it from my university days and it was although I wasn’t able to shovel back a full order on my own the way I used to be able to! (You’re almost guaranteed to run into someone you know at ESD and this trip proved that theory true once again as I ran into a friend from highschool that I used to work beachstaff with).

Sunday brought a morning coffee date with Tasha at Bridgehead (BEST coffee in Ottawa and it’s all fair-trade, organic and shade-grown from small growers) where I got to hear all about the plans for her upcoming nuptials! An afternoon coffee date with a long-time family friend (who incidentally I used to babysit and who’s recent engagement announcement, that she told me about when I ran into her Friday night, contributed to making me feel so old…) at Sun Cafe (a cute place that combines coffee shop and flower shop) and my caffeine levels were perfect for the day. Dinner and laughs with Norah, one of my best friends from highschool, at Clocktower Brew Pub (they brew their own beer – Wishart’s Bitter is my favourite) brought a perfect close to my weekend.

Monday I hit the road heading back west and broke the trip up perfectly with an over-night stop in Kinsale to visit my sister and brother-in-law and get some always needed snuggles in with my gorgeous niece Paige. Tuesday was a stop in Grand Valley to visit my sister-in-law (the sister-in-law who was my university roommate in Ottawa so it completed the circle perfectly!) and grab some snuggles with my handsome nephew, Callum before I finally arrived back home!

It was a perfect long weekend full of people I love and I cannot wait to plan my next foray back to Ottawa sometime very soon!