Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 6 – Cycling

Monday, July 18

On Monday the weather did not look very promising and so we had to make a decision on what we would do for that day.  Originally we were going to go to Upper Canada Village …. actually originally I believe it was the Science and Technology Museum, but a look at the website and the kids opted for Upper Canada Village instead.  Since I had coupons for the girls to get in free at Upper Canada Village we decided that would work into the budget, even if it wasn`t the original plan.  So we planned for Upper Canada Village on Monday, but given the price to get into the village we did not want to go on a day that we would be rained out and make it not so pleasant.

So we had to make another choice.  Since there were so many cycling paths in the city it seemed rather inevitable that we should do some biking.  Unfortunately we had taken the Jetta and the Jetta does not have room for much more then the basics, and certainly not bikes.  But again, Ottawa came through on this one.  Actually I should give credit where credit is due, it was in Gatineau, Quebec that we got our bikes.  You can rent bikes in Ottawa, but why pay to rent when you can get them for free?

We tried out the Maison du Velo in Gatineau, Quebec and it worked out very nicely.  They are trying to promote their service and make people more aware that they are available, except they don’t have a website so that doesn’t help me out very much.  They do have their brochures as most tourist places.  I’m not sure how they raise the funds, but some of it comes from donations.  There was a selection of bikes and we could pick what we would like.  Rob instantly had his eyes on the bike with the bike buddy behind it for Matthew to ride on (although I’m quite sure Matthew would not have survived for hours on it).  But unfortunately that was was already taken, so the next choice was one with a bike seat at the back for Matthew … already taken, that left a bike trailer, which in the end worked out nicely as we could put some of our stuff in there – a good thing we did.

Since the weather did not look the most favourable, and the possibility of rain was hanging over us, we didn’t know how long we would be going.  We decided to stuff  part of our lunch and some bathing suits and towel in the trailer case we found some water to cool off at.  Although it was cloudy and less humid, it was still warm.

We decided to tour the Quebec side of the Ottawa river, going along the pathway there.  This was very beautifully done, in and out of treed areas, grass nicely cut with various picnic and resting areas.  There were a few larger hills, which the map had indicated, but the weaker of us got off and walked them.  I’ll admit it, I’m out of shape and seldom bike, my knees were screaming at me for the first bit that they didn’t like the whole idea, but they did settle down after a bit, yet I didn’t even bother pushing them hard on the hills as I didn’t want to deal with sore achy knees the rest of the trip.  Rob on the other hand made every hill, with the wagon behind him, without having to stop or get off.  But of course, he is a regular biker and should have the stamina for that.  And it must be noted that Rebecca made it up all but one hill, and many of them were pretty steep.


Matthew of course thought it was a great way to travel … the girls on the other hand, thought it would have been more fair if they could have their turn in the wagon


The Parliament Building from the Quebec side

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Along the Quebec trail

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Much to Rob’s surprise we made it to the beach area.  Upon looking at the map he thought it would be too far for the kids to go, but we made it there relatively quickly and although warm we weren’t too wiped.  Thankfully we were smart enough to take the bathing suits, towels and food along “just in case”.  The kids enjoyed a nice cool swim and we cooled down by wading and watching and then we had something to eat before we decided what to do next.




The weather appeared to be favourable by this time and we decided that we had enough energy to keep going further down the trail and then cross over the Champlain Bridge into Ontario and come back on the other side of the Ottawa River, behind the Parliament Buildings.




The trail on the Ontario side was not as nice as the Quebec side.  The grasses around the trail were not as well maintained or trimmed … except for the occasional cutout in the overgrown grass that had a bench.  I guess that’s actually the area around the trail … the actual trail was paved and nicely done just like the Quebec side, just the scenery wasn’t as nice.  We came up behind the Parliament Buildings at the bottom of the hill and then once around the buildings and by the Rideau Canal Locks we proceed up a very long hill … which meant a walk for some of us again …. Rebecca made it up this hill also.  Upon reaching the top, which was under the roadway we realized that we had missed the turn at the bottom and had gone up for nothing.  Although at that point we weren’t quite sure where we missed the turn seeing as the locks were below, but we decided to take a break for a bit.

We stopped under the roadway where the National War Memorial is.  After having a drink and snack Rob guarded the bikes while the rest of us climbed up to the road to have a look at the monument.  We happened to come up at the same time as they were doing the Changing of the Guards, so we watched this procedure (similar to Rideau Hall) first and then had a closer look at the monument.  I remember standing in front of this monument for pictures each time we would go to Ottawa (one of the few memories I have, probably because of the pictures)

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The National War Memorial.

There are 22 bronze figures who represent the 11 branches of the Canadian forces engaged in the First World War.  The figures emerge through an arch which symbolizes going from war to peace.

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In 2000 the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added to the monument.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was created to honour the more than 116,000 Canadians who sacrificed their lives in the cause of peace and freedom. The Unknown Soldier represents all Canadians, whether they be navy, army, air force or merchant marine, who died or may die for their country in all conflicts - past, present, and future.  The Tomb is a fitting way to honour the sacrifices on which our freedoms were built.


Monument of Laura Secord who is known for warning the British of an impending attack by the Americans during the War of 1812.  This statute was near the War Memorial and is part of the Valiants Memorial which is a military monuments located in Ottawa that commemorate fourteen key figures in the military history of our country.


Back under the roadway, overlooking the Rideau Canal


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After our break we headed back down the hill to see where we missed our turn-off.  Turned out it wasn’t quite that obvious where to cross … seeing as you had to actually go over the lock gate of the Rideau Canal.  Considering the Welland Canal you can’t get anywhere near the canal it was rather weird to actually be able to cross right over these locks.


The Museum of Civilization from the Ontario side of the Ottawa River.


For someone who never bikes and is very out of shape, I have to say that I was hardly even achy the next day.  It was an enjoyable ride, hot at some times due to the lack of shade on the Ontario side, but still nice.  Of all the days of our trip we picked the best possible one for biking as it was the coolest day, (I believe it was about 25C), and a bit less humid then the other days.

We arrived back to return our bikes around 3pm and decided to have a “lupper” (lunch/supper) in Quebec so the kids could enjoy the French a bit.  So we went to Pizza Hut for supper where they could read French signs and menus, but mostly still spoke English, the waitress was probably English herself seeing she didn’t have any sort of accent or hesitance in her sentences.

That evening the daughter of our hostess was home and being a couple years older then the girls they ended up spending the evening together playing games and such … what was suppose to be an on-time-to-bed night ended up being a rather late night, but they had fun together.

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