Parliament Hill and a Thrift Store Thrill

After leaving Toronto, we spent a night in Smiths Falls, a small-ish town between TO and Ottawa. On the way, we managed to catch this beautiful sunset:

The best thing about Smiths Falls was an amazing thrift store, where I found the most spectacular (and classy) thing I have ever seen. I’m linking to the picture rather than putting it directly into the blog post, as its beauty is a little NSFW/small children’s eyes:

Holy grail of thrift store finds.

On its own, this thing is good enough. I mean, what could be better than this? Let me tell you, my friends. Upon flipping the mug over, we found this touching inscription.

I love it so much. SO MUCH, you guys. We were actually going to send it to a slightly perverted friend of ours but I don’t think I can bring myself to part with it, and can you blame me? I think it will end up joining us on our North American adventure and then probably become the centerpiece at our dining room table when we settle again. At the same store, I also picked up a couple of Doll Reader magazines, but when it came time to pay for these items, I chickened out and made Mark handle the transaction. Marriage is the best! He was legally obligated to do it.

After Smiths Falls, we drove a short distance to a little town called Carleton Place, where my good friend Heidi’s mom lives. She recently moved into a log cabin, something that has been a dream of hers since she was a little girl. It was built in 1818, and as we drove up, we started salivating with envy.

We spent the evening with Jan and she fed us an incredible homemade meal (such a novelty these days), plied us with wine, and then we all watched Jack Layton’s funeral and two-thirds of us cried. Also, her dog Rocky slept with his head on my feet the entire time and I almost kidnapped him.

It was hard to tear ourselves away from such lovely hospitality, but the next morning we drove about an hour east into Ottawa.

I had been to our nation’s capital once before, and vaguely remembered thinking it was a cute place, but I have to say that I really enjoyed it this time. I don’t know if it’s because we came from Toronto, a city I had pretty high expectations for but was a little too impersonal for me, or if it’s because Ottawa has a very similar feel to Victoria, but we both found it a really charming city to walk around in. I think it helped that the downtown is pretty compact so we didn’t have to deal with public transportation or driving at all. Also, the weather was significantly cooler than it had been in Toronto.

We did a couple of touristy things while we were there, like visiting the Royal Canadian Mint, where I had to restrain myself from buying a Kate and Will commemorative coin and Mark picked up this bar of gold worth $750,000.

We visited Parliament as well, and I have to admit that I did feel mild stirrings of patriotism. Despite Stephen Harper certain things, I know exactly how lucky we are to live in a country where I don’t have to decide whether or not I can afford a visit to the doctor, or worry that I wouldn’t be able to get married if I switched teams. Not that I ever would, because did you see the paragraph above about Mark buying the boobie mug for me? That guy’s a keeper.

After leaving Ottawa, we drove into Hull and visited the Museum of Civilization there. They had this exhibit about Japanese design and technology, and we got to pet a robotic seal.

We spent the night in a small town just outside Quebec and then made the short drive into Montreal. I’ll let Mark expound on what we’ve been up to since arriving, but will say that this city is incredible and I’ve been very tempted to set down roots here immediately. This city has 24-hour poutine, booze in grocery stores, and houses like this:

Also: Better bagels than NYC. Montreal, I love you.

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2 Responses to Parliament Hill and a Thrift Store Thrill

  1. Dave says:

    Pia, your writing is hilarious and you totally remind me of Junie B Jones, kindergartener, but this is a good thing. In fact, I’m going to get you a Junie B story on “tape” (mp3), but you have to promise me you will listen while you are driving. (And make Mark listen because he is legally obligated.)

    PS: It’s not called Hull anymore, it’s now Gatineau. (Doesn’t that sound like a nicer place to visit?)
    PPS: Keep blogging, you two must be at least a week behind your actual current location. I don’t even know where you are right now.

  2. RE says:

    That gold bar at the mint is heavier than it looks isn`t it? I tried to pick it up with one hand at first, and was surprised by the weight. It is gold no doubt.

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