While all our trips are generally rose-related, we also enjoy the historical and cultural aspects of new destinations. Driving into Ottawa, we were greeted by the impressive Parliament Hill – the historic and architectural Mecca of Canada’s seat of government.
Parliament Hill, only two blocks from our hotel, is comprised of a building called The Centre Block, a massive building where the Senate and House of Commons conduct the business of Canada. Flanked on the east and west of The Centre Block (aptly named The East Block and West Block) are similarly designed buildings that house government offices.
We happened to be in Ottawa a few days before Prince William and his new bride Kate were to arrive, so the activity around Parliament Hill was busier than usual. We watched as workmen prepared for the Royals’ arrival and even got to preview the singing of the Canadian National Anthem.
After spending the morning at the Canadian Heritage Rose Garden, (pictures and blog to come later) next on our list was the National Gallery of Canada where a Caravaggio Exhibit was on display. This exhibit was a real treat for us as well the rest of the museum which included works by Cezanne, Degas, Monet, Picasso and Rembrandt. We also admired a Georgia O’Keefe and I was happy to find several Jackson Pollock works of art. The museum was an ultra modern building – a great contrast to the architecture of the buildings we so admired on Parliament Hill. It also boasted a modern “spider” sculpture.
If you visit Ottawa, don’t miss the Byward Market, a shopping area dating back to the 1830’s with shops and restaurants too numerous to count. After dinner on our last night in Ottawa we were even lucky enough to see part of a performance by a street entertainer who, while balancing on a rolling platform perched on a table, managed to squeeze his body through the opening of a tennis racquet frame! The crowd loved him and so did we. Wish I had my camera with me.