The National Capital Region is one of my favourite places to visit, and the City of Ottawa was offering a stimulus package this August called “It’s On Us” to support businesses. (During this time, cases were more under control and there were less restrictions for tourism.)
Elisa and I decided to do a weekend road trip before our September work began, and I was very excited! I’ve lived in Ottawa for a few months and I love returning to my old stomping grounds. I was also excited to play tour guide and show her my choice of local spots. Finally, I was glad that she and I were able to go somewhere at least to see how well we travel together. We were supposed to do a big Europe trip in April with a couple other friends. Although those plans are on pause, we still had our first trip!
So with our Spotify playlist on, we took Hwy 401 driving up. I’ve taken this highway countless times commuting from Toronto. My fond memories of this route include my parents and I driving 6 hours through the long stretches of road and snow to help their fledgling student settle in for my undergraduate internships. Elisa and I left Toronto in the afternoon and arrived into Ottawa in the evening. It was her first time driving this highway and for this continuous long period of time, and she just loved how convenient it was. We took our time and welcomed silly detours along the way, like going to the “Big Apple”.
After checking into the Hilton (which had amazing cleaning protocols and coincidentally free parking!), we decided to stretch our legs with a walk around Parliament and Byward Market. Elisa and I had a lot of fun playing tourist, looking at the public art and taking photos in all of the opportune spaces. There were many e-scooters zipping by us, which caught us off guard since these vehicles are not yet approved in Toronto and Mississauga. Nonetheless, we kept on laughing because walking on the sidewalks here were much more expansive than home, and that added space felt luxurious. Finally, we walked up along Alexandra Bridge to eat dinner at an outdoor patio at Tavern on the Hill, which had a great view of Parliament in the background, followed by gelato.
That was enough for us for our first night!