I once asked a friend why his sister didn’t move to New York City and he told me that when she came to visit nothing there seemed to work out for her. As if the city didn’t want her. At that time the explanation sounded really strange to me. In all my years of travel, I never got the feeling of not being wanted by the places I’ve visited. Though there have been a few occasions when I’ve felt “out of place” :). I could still appreciate the amazing city but let’s just say there was no love, no connection. As I said it happened a few times, not often enough to get me thinking about it.
I thought of it again after our visit to Ottawa. And don’t get me wrong, the city is really nice, clean, vibrant and it had everything you could want; a beautiful river, historic sights, Gothic Parliament buildings, museums, all the French talking people and pedestrian only streets. To me something was still off about it.
I guess the whole day didn’t start right. I woke up with an upset stomach and we got to Ottawa at noon. That day was extremely hot, with sun so brightly shining all I could do is imagine myself swimming in the Ottawa River. Both girls were tired and nobody was really in the mood to do some serious sightseeing. I am glad we still made the effort, because it really is an amazing city. It would deserve a better title and a post than just plain and simple: No connection. But why should I lie to you and write about something that just didn’t happen.
We managed to look around the above mentioned Parliament buildings that look very impressive and there is no denying they are a sight to behold. Then as soon as Stela fell asleep in the stroller we walked to the Rideau Canal, the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America, and has since 2007 been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As Nikica told me, in the winter time, if it is cold enough a part of the Rideau Canal, which passes through central Ottawa becomes a skating rink.
We moved on to the banks of the Ottawa River where we found a lovely bench in the shade and enjoyed some easy time people watching. After Stela woke up it was Tesa’s time in the stroller and while she slept we walked around the downtown some more, bought some souvenirs at the local shop selling Native art and then tired, sweating and hungry checked into our hotel and spent the afternoon eating and resting.
From what I saw of the capital of Canada I must agree that it’s culturally rich, with welcoming inhabitants and a small town feel to it. According to the website Ottawa.com, Mercer Human Resources International recently placed Ottawa 18th in a survey of 200 cities worldwide for best quality of life. I can’t disagree but that’s kind of like dealing with a perfect guy, he can have all the best qualities and looks to die for, everybody around you loves him, while you feel that something just isn’t right. Nobody’s fault – there’s simply no connection. A heart wants what a heart wants.