Ottawa was a strange place to visit. I chose to explore it with Meg and Clare whilst Michele went off with some others from the group to visit galleries and museums. The three of us ambled past the impressive (and rather Hogwarts-esque) Fairmont chateau in the centre and watched the changing of the guard at the National War Memorial. Our next big plan was... to do absolutely nothing at all. We wanted to see Byward Market so we headed there and spent most of our time sitting around drinking iced tea and trying out beaver tails, the big, flat, fried pastries that come topped in all manner of deliciously naughty things. Mine was smothered in Oreo cream and biscuit pieces and probably contained my entire calorie/fat/sugar allowance for the entire day.
Afterwards, we walked lazily around the parks and canals, admiring the unique Ottawa skyline. Something about the buildings made me think of Scotland (not that I've really ever been before) with their reaching spires and smoky brickwork. Their green roofs shot up beyond the treetops and punctured the sky. A small museum beside the canal offered a little culture and history, painting a picture of early Ottawa and the role of the canals in the city's growth. We sat outside and watched the water glide on past towards the greater river before heading back to the Canadian Parliament buildings where we soaked up the last of the sun and caught up with the rest of the group.
As with most of our stops on the road from Seattle to New York, there was a sense of having barely scraped the surface. But our lazy, unplanned day was exactly what we needed after weeks on the road. Ottawa was hardly the most exciting day of the trip but it definitely did the trick.