Wednesday, August 10, 2016

2016 - Kingston / Ottawa - Day 3 (Ottawa)

Today, we see the Changing of the Guard, try to get tickets for the parliament tour, and visit Remic Rapids.

Breakfast was the same as usual at The Business Inn, minus the free take-away cheese that they used to have, I guess to save on costs it makes sense. Included are breakfast sandwiches that come with ham, sausage, bacon, or just plain egg and cheese. There are bagels, toast, waffles, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, coffee (including a Nespresso machine), juice and take away bags which include a bottle of water, oatmeal cookies, an apple, and a juice box. Overall, still enjoy the breakfast here.

Breakfast at The Business Inn
After breakfast we went to see the Changing of the Guard which starts at 9:45am and we got there at 9:30am. It was my second time and Allison's first time there and it was neat since we actually were next to someone who participated in the event 20 years ago and he was explaining to his family (wife and three boys) what happens, why it happens and how it works.

If you come, there is a road parallel to Wellington on the south side of the field. In that area, there should be a cordoned off area with one section that is open, this section is where the guards come in, so try to get a spot there, make sure to not stand in the open section since you will be asked to move. It lasts roughly 30 minutes and is worth a watch if you have never seen it before. There is a live marching band to go along with it and over the speakers is someone explaining what is happening which is helpful for those who don't understand, this is in both English and French.

Changing of the Guard
Now with less crane!
We couldn't get tickets for parliament since it was the long weekend and it is really popular, maybe next time. So, off we went to Remic Rapids which unfortunately was not accessible when we tried to go Sunday Bikeday was going on. For those that don't know, on Sundays in the summer time, over 50 km of parkways and roads are open to cyclists, runners, and walkers alike and this means that there are road closures. Because of this, we went for lunch instead and ended up at Ginza Ramen in Chinatown. We ordered the spicy tonkotsu and the hakata tonkotsu which were $12 each. Came out to $27 before tip. The food was good, although I've had better ramen back in Toronto.

Ginza Ramen
After lunch, we try for Remic Rapids again! What is Remic Rapids? Well, it is an area near parliament where John Felice Ceprano decided to make balancing rock sculptures since 1986 at this site. Every year, he goes here to build the sculptures and they eventually get washed away with the rising river, making it different every year. We came at an opportune time since John himself was there to build the sculptures! However, some of them were destroyed due to vandals and he was rebuilding them but it was neat to talk to him. Worth a stop if you are in the area or if the pictures look neat. Parking is free and there was plenty of parking spaces when we came at around 1:30pm.

Remic Rapids
Remic Rapids
Ended up at Buskerfest next which is on Sparks St near parliament, free event where there are buskers from around the world (that's what they say, I can't tell if that's true or not) and they busker. There are some freebies here and in general, there were a surprising amount of buskers here. It was the first time that I have seen a contortionist perform and she stuffed herself inside a small box. Very cool to see. It was a bit disappointing to hear that some people comment about how much money this one lady was making but they don't realize that they don't get paid all the time. We saw a few acts, the contortionist, a show performer (he created a show, nothing really special, but he was entertaining with his props and comments), and a couple that was Popeye and Olive and performing tricks and rode a unicycle. We greatly enjoyed watching Buskerfest here since it was more spacious than the ones we have seen in Toronto and the buskers change really quickly between acts, so it seemed more eventful. I think we would have stayed longer but we had dinner reservations at The Whalesbone Oyster Bar which we failed to make during Winterlude.

The menu at Whalesbone Oyster Bar is small, but the food was really good. We ordered a platter to start which had mussels, oysters, and clams, all prepared in different ways, had the mackerel and lobster risotto for our mains. Overall, I think the food was really good, however, I can't really comment too much on it since I am not a big seafood person. Service was okay, when I think about some other restaurants, I wondered why the service wasn't up to par. I expected my water to be full, never needing to ask for more water, waiters/waitresses to be wandering around to tend to us but that just didn't happen. Bill came out to $118 before tip. In general, I think the food was really good, however, I probably wouldn't come back.

Platter (clams at the bottom row, mussels in the silver cups, oysters in the spoons)
Lobster risotto
After dinner, we went back to the hotel to clean up and pack up since we would be leaving for Toronto tomorrow.

Tomorrow, we visit Tangier Kanata and head back to Toronto which will conclude our trip.

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