Category Archives: Travel

Touring Canada’s Capital City

Ottawa is Canada’s National Capital. It’s a beautiful, incredibly clean city located on the Rideau Canal. I finally made it last week to this beautiful city. It’s a great walking city and has amazing museums to visit. Here are some of my favourite pictures I wanted to share.

The eternal flame burning in front of the Parliament buildings

Looking across the canal to the Parliament buildings
National War Monument
The sun setting over the canal
The beautiful Canadian tulips made in and sent from the Netherlands in honour of our 150th anniversary

Favourite places to eat in Ottawa Ontario

I finally had a chance to travel to Canada’s capital – Ottawa, Ontario. I had the pleasure of trying different restaurants while there and enjoyed everything I tried! Here are my favourite places that I went to.

You can’t go to Ottawa without having a beavertail – it’s a Canadian tradition. A beavertail is basically a sweet dough that is pulled and fried and topped with different things, including nutella, peanuts, and the basic cinnamon and sugar. This one is my favourite! Sweet, warm and chewy – and oh so delicious!

This is a beavertail -yum!

Nate’s Deli is a tradition in Ottawa, located on Sparks Street right in the heart of the legislative buildings and business. It opens early and serves a wide variety of breakfasts, as well as lunches and dinners. I tried the spinach and goat cheese omelette with the crispiest hash browns and it was absolutely delicious. If you love goat cheese, this is the omelette to try!

Nate’s Deli – spinach and goat cheese omelette

Another tradition in Ottawa is the King Eddy. It’s a cool restaurant with lots of 50’s memorabilia and traditional diner foods. I tried the King Eddy burger with their secret sauce – just enough of a spice to give it a bit of a kick! Definitely give it a try!

Delicious burger and the best fries I’ve ever had!

Of course, it wouldn’t be right if I travelled and didn’t try a dessert or two. I indulged on my last night and headed to the Byward Cafe and had a delicious triple chocolate cake. Just look at it – it tasted just as good as it looks!

Triple chocolate decadence…

But my favourite place in Ottawa was Zak’s Cantina – they are famous for their margaritas apparently but as someone who doesn’t drink very much, I stuck with the food. The chicken burrito was so filling I couldn’t even finish it all!

Delicious!!!

There was so much to see and do in Ottawa, and definitely the food scene is one of the best I’ve seen in Canada. I will be going back just to indulge in more food!

WE THE NORTH – Hopping on the bandwagon!

Am I becoming a ….. basketball fan??? Ummm nope – but I am hopping on the NBA Final bandwagon and rooting for the Raptors. It’s pretty exciting to watch the last 5 minutes of each game, but honestly, to sit down and watch an entire game of basketball is not my cup of tea. Free throws and travelling are about the only terms in basketball that I know and can describe. For me, it’s like watching baseball – another riveting sport to watch. Perhaps live these sports would be exciting but watching on TV listening to the annoying sports announcers just makes it tedious to watch.

My favourite sport by far is football – CFL or NFL – either one. I love the game, the excitement of the game, the throws, the tackles. I know the rules, and I love the physicality of the game. It helps that the players also wear those nice tight pants haha.

Hockey would be my second favourite sport. I don’t really have a favourite team, but I always root for the Maple Leafs if they are playing, no matter how bad they are. It’s a fast paced, exciting game as well.

But since none of the Canadian teams are presently any good (sorry Blue Jays – but you suck this season so far!) – I will hop on the bandwagon, root for the Raptors, and exclaim with the rest of Canada – GO RAPTORS and WE THE NORTH!!!!

LOVE MY COUNTRY!!

As the rain falls…

April showers bring May flowers.  Most of us have heard this all our lives.  The flowers are starting to arrive, and the colours are becoming brighter.  No longer are we seeing the dullness that is early spring.  Bright colours are abounding!

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Beautiful spring colours!

 

However, for some of us, rain brings pain.  Arthritic pain, depression (which IS a pain!), and cabin fever.  We want to be outside at this time of year but when the rain falls, it’s difficult to get out and do the things we enjoy.  I know that I want to get outside walking more, and get that bike that I bought last year out and ride it before the humidity strikes and makes me want to stay inside!

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I sometimes feel like this crab when it rains!!

 

As I look out my window this evening, as the day begins to end, the grayness of the sky makes it look quite bleak.  But I know, when the sky becomes bright in the morning, a new day has started and, with that, a new mood for the new day begins!  Why don’t we all start our days with a smile and a promise to ourselves to be positive no matter the weather!

 

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A new day is just on the horizon!!

 

 

 

Mr. Mike’s Restaurant – Welland Ontario

As you walk through the doors, the aroma of the cooking steak wafts through.  It smells divine.  We were given the option of the restaurant side or the lodge side – the lodge side sounded more homey and fun, so we opted for the lodge side.

 

As we were seated, we discovered that there was a Jenga game ready to be played!   While we waited for the others to arrive, we embarked on a lively game and doing remarkably well too – I had never played Jenga before so was amazed at just how well I played!

 

The other ladies arrived, hugs were given and conversation abounded.  We were gently interrupted by the patient waiter asking for our order.  We took a few minutes to scour the enticing menu and finally decided on what to eat.  One ordered a steak, one ordered pasta and one ordered a “kick-ass” chicken salad.  I opted for the shrimp tacos, and I added a shareable bruschetta for all of us to enjoy.

 

While we waited for the appetizer to arrive, conversation continued about what our lives had been like since high school ended, how we ended up where we did, and generally catching up after many years.

 

The bruschetta arrived.  It is a toasted garlic baguette, with fresh tomato, red onion, fresh basil, herbed aioli, balsamic glaze and parmesan.  I have had a lot of bruschetta in my life and this was by far the BEST bruschetta I have ever had!  The herbed aioli with the balsamic glaze gave it a tang that was absolutely divine!!  I will go back just for that!  And there was enough to share with everyone.

 

The main course arrived shortly after.  The pasta dish had the herbed aioli drizzled over it and looked amazing.  The kick-ass chicken salad looked just that – kick ass.  And the steak looked delicious.  Everyone enjoyed their meals very much.  I had the shrimp tacos and I had three generous sized crispy panko shrimp tacos topped with tangy coleslaw, salsa, herbed aioli and fresh cilantro.  It was served with a lovely garden salad with ample vegetables and a light dressing.  The meal was hot and delicious.  The service was timely and we were not waiting long for the meals to arrive.

 

Of course, it would not be a girl’s night out without dessert!  I opted for the Rocky Mountain Madness which is a turtle and chocolate cheesecake with caramel in a chocolate cake shell with almonds, shaved chocolate, and chocolate hazelnut sauce.  It was sublime. It was rich and creamy and absolutely perfect to end the meal.

While it’s not cheap, neither is it too expensive.  And with the casualness of the restaurant and the general ambience, it is most definitely a place I will return to!  Mr. Mike’s is definitely a place to head to with friends.

Merry Christmas and on to 2019 we go!

I have been very absent lately – carpal tunnel is preventing  me from being on my computer for too long.  Awaiting results in the early new year to find out next steps to be taken.  We may have free health care – but it’s not a quick process for us.

 

Despite the issues of that, and health issues with both parents, 2018 has been a good year for me.  I saw many accomplishments of mine, and of my children, followed through and succeeded.  I have had an article published in a Canadian magazine (Our Canada), did some public speaking, dabbled in art, and in general have had a very positive year.  I am heading to Europe in January for a vacation, and then later in the year Africa is calling my name.  I am excited for what looms in the future for me.

 

I hope to be back blogging soon on a more regular basis.  I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season and a very Happy New Year!   Here’s to the future and to 2019!

 

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The materialistic life

How many of us are materialistic?  I would probably guess most of us in some way are materialistic – I have managed to fill up half a closet with clothes in the year I have been back in Canada.  I have gone from owning about 6 outfits to what I consider a full wardrobe – with numerous pairs of running shoes and even a pair of heels.  This is not who I was in the past few years!!

 

As I was driving yesterday, along the Niagara Parkway (which I HIGHLY recommend to all to see – it is by far one of the prettiest areas in Ontario to see!), I was looking at the big houses along the waterfront.  I mean BIG – some would call them mansions.  They easily are worth millions of dollars.  And in my mind all I could think of is WHY would you want such a big house??  Do they have maids to clean?  What are their property taxes for such a place?   And of course, what I was also thinking was, do they realize how many trips they could have taken and made memories of instead of spending so much on a house??

 

I will never buy a house or property – and even when I look at my closet, I think I have too many clothes and need to give some away.  I really am amazed at how much my attitude has changed since I moved to Europe back in 2014.   I don’t want to be a materialistic person anymore – I know I was in my past and I honestly don’t like that about me.  I used to care about what I wore – name brands, etc., – but now I am happy to go to thrift shops and buy something that looks comfy.

 

My goal is to clear out some stuff by the beginning of 2019 and donate what I don’t need.

 

I am not knocking people who like to buy things to make themselves feel good – I just know that this is not the lifestyle I want.

 

So how about everyone else?  Do you have things you know you don’t need?