Today’s Music: Lyle Lovett – Here I Am21
Days Til Spring: 21
(After you’ve read this, check out the great thing Zoe is doing for Merbear. If you can help out, even by just spreading the word, that would be fantastic!)
When last we left our intrepid idiot (and his much smarter wife, they had left the cold winter of Montreal for…well…the cold winter of Ottawa.
We took this trip without renting a car. We walked all over, and used public transportation when we needed it. To get from Montreal to Ottowa, we took a Greyhound. Not too expensive, free wifi, and plenty of legroom. I slept through the ride down grey bleary highways.
So how did I know we actually arrived in Ottawa when we disembarked? Because only the big city bus terminals have this in the mens room:
Having established our location, it was time to get our winter on!
Actually, it was time for that whether we wanted it or not. On the cab ride from the bus depot to the hotel, the driver flew over slush and snow filled roads at normal driving speeds. I was terrified, but he was moving normally in traffic.
Like Montreal, Ottawa also celebrates the snow with its own Winter Festival. In a park across the street from us, there was a snow carving competition. Some of the entries were simply breathtaking.
Having gotten our bearings, we wandered over to Byward Market for lunch. The Market is a huge open air mall/flea market. Vendors sell prepared food, produce, trinkets, and there are street performers everywhere. We went into a seafood restaurant.
A couple getting up as we were leaving said they were headed home to Montreal (small world!) and gave us the rest of their gift card.
Because Canadians really are that nice.
The next day bloomed bright and sunny. After a quick breakfast (without Canadian bacon – because seriously, that isn’t bacon), we set out on the day’s adventures.
My wife had one thing on her mind. I had one thing on my mind.
Despite them being two different things, we were lucky that we could do them both in the same place: The Rideau Canal.
The Canal cuts through Ottawa, and is used these days mostly for pleasure boats. Except in winter when it freezes.
And is opened for Ice Skating!!!
We’d heard about this on a summer trip up to Ottawa to meet Charles DeLint, and it had been on our list ever since.
And something my wife discovered that she soon introduced me to – Beaver Tails!
These delicious flat, long pastries can only be described as…well…delicious. And sticky.
Grab as many napkins as you can, it still won’t be enough. But the mess will be worth it!
With that out of the way, we were off to the highlight of the trip – John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett on stage together!
The two of them have been doing this tour for years. 2 guys, 2 acoustic guitars. On several songs, they backed each other up, both singing and playing. In between songs, they told stories, explained the songs, even played with the audience a bit.
We’ve seen them both separately and loved them, but together was even better. There were no revelations during the show or transcendental moments, but watching two old pros slip on their songs like comfortable old bathrobes was easily worth the ticket.
This is from a show they did at the end of last year, but it gives the feel of the show.
So after a long weekend of freezing cold, lots of snow, strange food and great music, it was tie to go home. Or so we thought.
Returning to the hotel after breakfast the next day to get to the airport hours early for an international flight, it turns out the flight was cancelled.
Because of snow.
In New York.
Yes, the hotel staff laughed at us.
But they also had room for us to stay the extra night, gave us the numbers we needed to call to find a flight for the next day, and told us where to go for an excellent dinner.
And then laughed at us some more.
So we caught a 6 am flight and landed back in NYC. I was at my desk my ten am, and asleep in my chair by two pm.
My boss let me go home at 4 pm.
And I went promptly to sleep, to dream of gravy, pastry, music and sooo much snow.
Thank you Canada. I had a blast. Can’t wait to see you again!