Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend getaway.

From our hotel.

Jennifer and I have been working so hard lately, that when an alignment took place, we had to take advantage. No, I'm not talking about the planets, I'm talking about Mom and Dad cancelling a trip to Michigan aligning with recieving a discount hotel card from work.

We decided to go to Ottawa to see the National Gallery.

The gallery.
Ottawa is only two hours away, but we thought that if we got a hotel room, and then goofed around in the market, we could have some much needed away time without spending a fortune. Reservation for the Chateau Laurier in hand, bags packed, and kids dropped off at Gramma and Grampa's, we went straight there to check in and drop off our things. First thing we found was that the hotel charges an extra $26 for parking. Okay, should've read the fine print. Paid up. Done.

We unloaded our luggage, and went to the National Gallery, which, for the collections available, is a steal at $9 a person, especially with in-and-out privileges. For our first walk around, we went to see the historic paintings and sculptures from India, and 16th century European permanent exhibit. Marvellous.

Some picture I quickly snapped before being beaten over the head.
I took some pictures, but was accosted by a security guard who very politely pointed out that we can't do that. He let me keep the pictures I took, but we were told to stop (sigh ... ohhkay...)

We then went to the market, to a pub. Not the greatest food, but quick and easy as a pit stop before returning to the gallery. This time, we checked out all the Canadian exhibit. Jennifer and I both were enthralled with the Group of Seven paintings. Definitely my favourites of the day.

7th century carving from India
I did get a chance to check out 'Voice of Fire' again and to breathe in the use of colour. Despite the fracas that happened when the National Gallery bought it, I have always loved the raw power of it. Not sure it's worth $14mil, but it is definitely worth checking out.

I don't know what she's doing here, but the tax people better not find out.
We chose the Chateau Laurier, not because it is cheaper, (because it's not) but because it's central. With the discount we only paid about $150 for the night. It's more expensive than most hotels in the country, but about on par with most of those in downtown Ottawa. The 'Chateau' was a bit of a disappointment. Not only was it extra for parking, but it was extra for EV-rything. Wifi Internet was an extra $15 per night. Hell, in Quebec city, in the downtown we paid less per night, parking and wifi was included, AND they put pastries fruit and yogourt in a basket on our door. I'm glad we didn't pay full price because I would have felt ripped off.

Jenn loved the recessed windows.
That said, it was a beautiful old hotel, and the architecture is well worth one visit, but for the same amount of money, I'm sure the Sheraton or Weston would have had parking and internet included, with a better view.

Some of the fresh stuff available. Jenn bought an eggplant from this stand.
Our stop in the market brought us up close with some of the local growers. They have an excellent market there all summer, and we bought some produce to take back with us. Not what the kids were hoping for, but the pastry would hold them off until Jenn could make cake out of the veggies.

They are a lot bigger than they look.
Next stop was the Parliament buildings. Jenn hadn't seen them since she was 18, and I haven't seen them in a while also. We went up close and walked around them, noting all the little intricacies that make them such marvelous pieces of architecture.

I wonder who they modeled the gargoyles after...?

Jenn, not feeling well, had to retreat to the hotel again, so we settled in for an evening of TV and some time together, which was what we needed in the first place.

Jenn was reduced to tweeting on the Blackberry. Oh for shame!
The next morning we were up relatively early, and stopped in a place that boasted Barack Obama had visited recently, called the Moulin de Provence. The pastries looked wonderful under the glass, and we ordered coffee and treats.
This looks way better than it actually was.
 Though the coffee was good, the pastry was stale and gummy. Now I know why Obama hasn't been back. (Well, that and Harper)
Ahhhh coffee.
The market was abuzz though, and so we set out looking for another place to get things to bring home for the kids. We found Au Delices.

They make gluten free cookies, cupcakes, and treats, and also a selection of pastries, truffles and chocolates that are fresh and yummy. Cookies for the kids, and mousse cake for my Mom's birthday in hand we returned to the monsters, because the best part of any trip is coming home.

Rideau canal.

 My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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