A Travellerspoint blog

Ottawa Trek

Pet Rocks become the next big thing

sunny 22 °C

Dear All

Have been flat chat with visiting Rowan and Jenni along with the kids and really have not had the time or energy to get into writing the blog over the last couple of days. Sorry! But there you go!

So, we had a rather gentle start to the day on Saturday. We found the canal and walked along that until we got into the city. Beautiful sights and beautiful colours with a lot of the foliage beginning to change and drop for winter. I guess we can admire this as tourists but housekeepers probably don't look forward to this time of the year with all of the leaf litter. I know I'd be going crazy and driving the neighbours nuts with the Blower/Vac but from a tourist point of view it is wonderful.

After that, walked back down to the hotel for a bit of a restette before being picked up by Rowan and Jenni along with the dynamic duo!

Taken for a drive to Gatineau Park which is in Quebec. So across the river and entered into Quebec and Holy Sh*t, the drivers are mad as hell here. All of a sudden logical driving gets thrown out the window and replaced with the French arrogance and it's fend for your life! Truly! I thought W.A. drivers were Feckin mad but the Quebecous make them look like Sunday drivers. Never, ever thought I'd be saying such a thing.

Anyhoo......eventually find the way to Pink Lake in Gatineau Park whilst being entertained by Rowan and Jenni's (only joking guys and you gotta admit it was hilarious really) combined methods of direction finding. Kind of reminded me of Ron and myself finding our way to things. Guess some things never change between partners! Jenni did mention she rarely drove in Quebec because it did her head in and I can truly see why!

In the mean time, Izzy and Rhy kept us entertained with "Mummy he's touching me!" whilst the vocal one is busy digging her fingers into Rhys's side. Then of course there is the "Mummy, she's eaten my last gum without asking my permission!", whilst the accused is busy giggling! Meanwhile, Mummy and Daddy are strangely having difficulties focussing on things!

The traffic was truly awful around the Park so we cut the visit short as it was difficult to get to things to see without millions of people milling around blocking your views. Therefore it was into town to Rideau Park.

Another beautiful icon of the city with beautiful trees, park lands and hundreds of squirrels. There was even a game of cricket being played in one of the parks. At one stage, Rowan and I saw a couple of Black Squirrels get into a bit of biffo. I couldn't get my phone out and cranked up quick enough to video it but it was so funny watching these two little mites giving each other a right going over!

At some point Izzy found a rock and unbeknown to us, took it back to the car with her. The first we knew about the rock was there was lots of further squealing and giggling in the back of the car and during which, Izzy began dropping the rock onto the hard plastic of the booster seat she was sitting on. Of course this was making a very lovely loud and satisfying bang each time it hit the hard plastic of the seat. Cause for further giggling and squealing then! So, Bryan the party pooper leans around and asks if he can have a look at the rock. Izzy flashes a dazzling smile and hands the rock over. Bryan looks at the rock, comments on how lovely it is and promptly names it Hudson (as in Rock Hudson - geddit). After massaging Hudson for a minute of two, Bryan claims Hudson has gone to sleep and says he would be more comfortable in Mummy's hand bag having a sleep, to which Izzy smiles again and says OK. So banging taken care of then! We think!

We have dinner at a Moxie's restaurant and during dinner, Izzy fishes in Mummy's hand bag and loudly proclaims she has Hudson. All others at the table have an "Oh No!" look on their faces but the drive home was uneventful with regards to that.

We are dropped off at the hotel and have an exhausted but happy sleep after having a fantastic day.

The next morning we are picked up early so we can go to see Rhys practice for Ice Hockey with his new team mates. On arrival at their house, Izzy rushes out saying Hudson had a great sleep and now has a bed. And so he does! Rhys also got into the act and now has a pet rock called Andrew. Not sure how that name came into being but he is happy with it, so that's all there is to it then. So the rest of the day, Hudson either slept or was carted hither and thither. In the evening he was apparently very sad for some reason. Honestly! I didn't think I would start off something like that and have it hijacked by a five year old, but that is what happened. Izzy is such a bright bubbly thing and gets hold of ideas and runs with it.

So! To the Ice Hockey. Lots of pictures taken of Rhys and his skating. He really is so skilful and makes Ice Skating look so easy. I was suitably impressed and I understand so are others involved with the new team Rhys has become affiliated with. Here's hoping he does so well with what he really enjoys. After we got home from the skating, he was so knackered he hardly left the lounge area because he could hardly move. During the practice, Izzy became strangely bored with the proceedings! What to do then? Oh! Of course! Raid the dispensing machines which contain odd bits of pieces along with some candy. Izzy strikes gold and races back with this container which had a small hat! Of course, this was for Hudson! After exhausting Mummy and Daddy's supply of Toonies (Canada two dollar coins), Izzy turns to Grandad. No! Says Grandad. No Toonies but have a look at these quarters in case the right coin is not identified! Great! Says Miss Izzy, "actually, I need this one!" and a quarter is snatched off and with a whoosh and a roar, little missy is off into the distance to the next dispenser! So funny!

Izzy also had a practice Ice Hockey session and you could see almost instant improvement during the session. She went from tottering steps to hardly falling over at all by the end of her time. The only big issue she had was stopping and I can relate to that. I've only ever Ice Skated twice and stopping is not easy!

Today. Another relatively easy day. Got up and walked into town and looked at some of the city sights. Just a beautiful city! Also did a spot of shopping, mainly to get some souvenirs and I spotted a shirt I just had to have.

We only have one more full day in Ottawa. Early rise on Wednesday morning and off to the airport to jump onto the bomber and be on the way back home. Here's to not starting another potential International Incident on the plane like I nearly did on the way over!

Cheers folks

B and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 11:50 Archived in Canada Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Ottawa Trek

The visit continues

sunny 25 °C

Dear All

We went on a tour of the 1000 Islands today.

Rowan and Jenni along with the kids, picked us up at the hotel, then with a "whoosh" and a "roar", off into the wild blue yonder quicker than you can say Cananque (which fortunately was where we were heading). Izzy was most pleased because we were in a Van. Apparently she likes vans!

What a magnificent place (Cannanque) to see and visit.

Bought tickets for the tour of the 1000 Islands. Unfortunately we couldn't do the Boldt Castle tour because that only ran once a day and at 10:30. We were there at 14:00. So a little late for that then! So what does one do when one has to wait. Eat of course! Such a stranger to food. Had lunch at the Cananque hotel. Izzy had us in stitches because she was pouring tomato sauce onto her plate and the bottle seemed to be running out making lovely squelchy noises. Of course she proudly stated to all assembled the bottle had "farted". Just what one needs when one is trying to swallow and laugh at the same time. I nearly aspirated!

So lunch duly dispatched we went down to the wharf to wait for the Ferry, which we did for about 3/4hr but the wait was truly worth it.

All people loaded on board and set off, not quite into the sunset but near enough and began the tour. I did have the tune to Gilligans Island running around in my head at the time for some strange reason but it was a 2 1/2 hr cruise not a 3. I've never seen so much money or the end product of accumulating wealth, concentrated in one area. There were some magnificent homes set along the waterfront and some really tiny houses on tiny islands. Then the whole spectrum between tiny and humungous!

During the cruise, Izzy kept all entertained with running between the seats on the deck and Jenni's hand bag fishing out chips, drinking Rhys's Pepsi, eating Rhys's Mars bar then proclaiming she was still hungry! The things Izzy does are hilarious I can assure you but in reality you have to be there at the time to put it all into context and appreciate what is going on. I spent most of the day laughing at her antics. A real little dynamo!

Rhys on the other hand is more typical boy but a little quieter than his sister. Unless he is being teased by Izzy, then he fires up! Also just as funny with his antics. I was shown all sorts of ways to blow a gum bubble, whilst travelling back in the car. Gotta say, don't learn anything in a day, it's a sad day!

On the way back towards home, Izzy decided she wanted to sit in the middle seats of the van. So Bryan got banished to the rear of the van so Izzy could site next to Grandad!

Well! Then the fun started. Many squeals from Izzy because she had the advantage of sitting near Rhys and Grandad and started all sorts of fun and games then. At one stage, Bryan became the party pooper and said "Guys! You're gonna get to the stage really quickly when Mummy or Daddy will be counting down from 3, so you better Chill!" which they did for about ohhhh, let me think on that! About 4 nanoseconds! Then the fun was on again. Next time it was Bryan going " RON, IZZY, RHYS! Is that chilling?" Of course the response was NO! from all three! Then it all started up again with Izzy being the main instigator! All good fun then!

Arrived back at the hotel way past our bed time, exhausted but really had a fantastic day with Rowan, Jenni, Rhys and Izzy. So good to be able to catch up with all of them and makes us realise what we had been missing for some time. The kids grow up so fast.

Anyhooooo........am going to finish this off.

Cheers

B and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 08:48 Archived in Canada Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Ottawa visit

Catching up after 4 years!

sunny 24 °C

Dear All

So today was the day for catching up with Rowan, Jenni, Rhy and Izzy.

Met up about 12:30 at the hotel and had lunch in downtown Ottawa. Nice restaurant with good food and most importantly good wine!

Got taken out to where Rowan and Jenni live in Smiths Falls.

Lovely house backing onto protected forrest and apparently have all of the native visitors from time to time. Apparently a Chipmunk had taken a liking to their house a couple of weeks ago. Fly screens had been munched through and said Chipmunk had free reign of the house. Rowan mentioned he tried to ensure the little pesky thing was shown the door but he didn't sound entirely convinced it had truly been evicted. I had visions of "Christmas Vacation" running through my head. On the serious side though, I do hope the little pesky thing has been evicted.

One of the other things that had happened that day was that Tulsa, their beautiful Labrador cross, had bolted for freedom into the forrest which is inhabited by Black bears, Coyotes, Wolves and all sorts of other bitey, stingy, scratchy things. The last Jenni knew, she could hear Tulsa barking but wouldn't come back whilst being called. However, all was saved and on our arrival at the house was a rather tired, smelly pooch with red paws from all of the running. So that part of the day was saved.

We also met Jasper the cat. He is extremely energetic and athletic. Makes sleeping on couches look so exhausting and of course he really seems to live in a lot of stress (Not). Started to purr as soon as I put my hand on his back!

Then there was Sunny , the Chameleon. He was rather ravenous and thankfully, Jenni had bought him some treats. These beautiful blue worms. I can't remember their name as far as their species, but they seemed to have DINNER written all over them. Sunny got very excited when one of his eyes finally focused on one and all of a sudden, the tongue came out and Whoosh! All gone now!

We sauntered around the garden with the kids. Rhys entertained himself catching bull frogs and letting them go and also catching Snakes! He got so excited when he spotted a snake and dived into the garden to fetch it. Mostly the snakes got away but one unfortunate soul had his tail snatched by Rhys, but managed to wrap himself around a plant and wriggle free from Rhys's clutches! Admirable effort on the snakes part really.

Izzy meanwhile cooked us a mud cake and played with that for a while. She also thought it might be better if there were a little more fibre, so she added some rocks into the mix before offering that to everyone. So thoughtful! Very funny! I couldn't help but think of Edith from Despicable Me. Izzy even sounds like Edith what's more.

So all in all. A wonderful day was had catching up with them all.

Further plans to unfold soon

Talk soon

Cheers

B and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 06:58 Archived in Canada Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Ketchikan

Or should that be Ketch me if ya kan?

semi-overcast 12 °C

Dear Readers

So today will be a conglomerate of the last few days because I haven't had access to the internet or it has been soooooo unstable.

Here goes

Skegway to Glacier Bay

Woke up this morning to a very grey, drizzly day. Today we will be at sea for the whole day and into the next day on our way to Ketchikan.

Once we had got into Glacier Bay and up to the Marjorie Glacier, the Captain stopped the ship, which was extremely thoughtful of him because it was a dead end, so all could wonder and amaze at the sight to behold. Awesome sight really seeing this monstrous glacier which is how old? Different shades of ice blue with lines of where rock had been ground and mixed into the ice. Ron managed to get a picture of the glacier calving. Of course, where was I during this time? Having a manicure of course! I did see the glacier during this though, as the windows of the Spa all faced out towards the action.

So the rest of the day was relaxing and eating. Something we haven’t had much time for during the trip! (NOT)

Not much to say for this day really.

Then Glacier Bay to Ketchikan

Glacier Bay to Ketchikan – Docked 10:00 September 22

Dear All

Woke during the night and was being tossed around again. We were warned during the day with an announcement from the very friendly Captain that seas would be up to 11 feet. Probably not too much to be alarmed about but it was noted as a stormy night. So, duly noted and went straight back to sleep which is something I haven’t been doing well lately. Worried too much about the Credit Card perhaps? Not really. Make it, you spend it!

Docked at Ketchikan at about 10:30 and finally managed to step into the town about 11:30. Of course where to from here? Do you know? The first thing I spotted was a Diamonds International Store! Not that I really had anything in mind at all!

So did a couple of other things first, like get some cash so we can leave tips for the Stateroom Attendants and the Concierge and then suddenly there was dust at my heels and wouldn’t you know it, I was mysteriously in a shop and some nice lady was saying “Hello! The Men’s collection is just here!” Magic to my ears! So like good boys we followed where she was pointing and lo and behold, there was a beautiful collection of Tanzanite in Yellow Gold.

After about 5 nanoseconds, I spotted a lovely piece with a beveled Tanzanite and just a few diamonds. Nothing too ostentatious then! Quick chat between the lady and the Manager and voila! But did the right thing and walked out of the store to think about it. I probably made it to the next corner then thought “Oh, F**k it!” So turned around, went straight back and bought it.

But that’s not the end. Ron also bought the same type of ring. So I think we made that Lady’s day.

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make it out of the store then before spotting some watches! Doomed! Yes Dear Reader. Another one to add to the collection. Ron thinks we will need to add another room to the house just for the watches. The salesman who was lurking around the watch counter knew a sucker when he saw one, and showed me a watch which was a limited edition of which there were only 60 made. This particular watch was number 6 and did start off at $15,000.00 but he could do a good deal for $8,500.00. AND, I could pay half now and pay the rest in installments over the next 4 months! What a Deal! Ron dutifully grabbed me by the ankles and dragged me out of the store screaming!

So finally, after taking a few deep breaths, we went on our last tour for this trip which was to Neets Bay. We flew there on a Float Plane and then led to a Salmon Hatchery. We were shown how this was all set up and then led to a section of the river with rapids and where Bears often come down to catch Salmon returning to spawn. Of course, the group before us had seen a number of bears but we weren’t so lucky. One did manage to wander down to the shore line where the separation fence was set up and he managed to have a great feed but at a distance. Another wandered close by but sensed all of the people and ran for the hills. When walking to the plane at the end of the day, the pilot saw a baby bear in the distance who was at another stream and had just caught a Salmon but he was also in the distance. Not good for photos but at least we saw some. Also saw heaps of Bald Eagles. For me, the highlight was being in the Co-Pilot seat watching the scenery dip by. Fantastic experience and would gladly go back and do it all over again.

Dinner in the Rotterdam tonight with my Sister in crime and her hubby, plus another couple from W.A.

At sea September 23

Nothing to report for today except I had a Hot Stone Massage. Heaven! I really don’t want to leave this place!

I did go and visit my favourite jewellery person to see if I could do a deal on a little more bling but not to be.

Packing all done and ready to go now. Really is the end of this wonderful journey.

Next leg of the journey is to Ottawa to see Rowan, Jenni and the kids.

Cheers Folks

B and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 06:19 Archived in Canada Tagged cruising Comments (0)

Skegway

Or as Sueann so eloquently put it, Skankway!

rain 10 °C

Dear All

Woke up the next morning and we had already docked. Didn't feel a thing. Outside was very rainy, foggy day. Thank goodness for our really expensive Ponchos.

Ron found the bus driver into town ever so helpful. After getting on to the bus, Ron asked for a round ticket to get back to the ship. The fella behind the wheel just said “I don’t care where you’re going, Just get on the danged bus”. So welcome to Skegway then!

Walked around Skegway for a while and managed to see the town in about 20 minutes. But wouldn’t you know it! Wound up in a Jewellery shop. The nice young man was ever so helpful and obliging. Suddenly, a ring with diamonds and black coral made it’s way onto my finger! Whoosh! Sale! Who would’ve thunk!

After that we went on a Histerical Train ride up the mountains heading towards the Yukon. It's called the White Pass & Yukon Rail Company. The trains were really old and the engines were at least 50 to 60 years old. All refurbished of course, particularly the brakes, which is extremely reassuring when you have a look at the inclines the train runs over. Amazing scenery when you could see it. The major issue here was all the other passengers were breathing for goodness sakes. So the windows kept on fogging up.

So after that, back to the ship and changed in to the bag of fruit for dinner. Yes Dear Readers, I have been wearing a suit to dinner! Would look a whole lot better if I didn’t have the pregnant gut from all of the new found Kilos but looks like I have some work ahead of me when I get back home. Not an entirely unexpected occurrence I guess.

More to follow soon

Cheers

B and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 17:29 Archived in Canada Tagged cruising Comments (0)

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