Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Driving nine hours to my destination isn't usually my cup of tea. My usual modus operandi is a zoning out with a good book on a quick flight. Alas, flights to Ottawa were quite expensive and driving was the more economical option. The reward at the end of the long drive was the prospect of not only visiting a beautiful city, the capital of Canada, but attending the concerts in which my favorite singer and friend Eric Kunze was to be performing.
Actually, the drive wasn't as tedious as I expected and we arrived at our hotel relatively unscathed. The Lord Elgin was conveniently located right across the street from the Canadian Arts Center, where the concerts were to take place. I was immediately impressed by the cleanliness of the city and by the many historic governmental buildings. The Rideau Canal intersects the city and makes it easy to find one's way around.
Our hotel was just across the canal from the Byward Market, which afforded many great eateries, a few of which we were able to try: among them La Bottega where we ate in a tiny space in the back of a shop. One dinner before the show was at Social. My favorite was Play, a restaurant specializing in small plates. We all ordered two things and everyone raved about their choices. Everywhere we went the service was beyond efficient and friendly. That seems to be the way everyone is in Ottawa. In fact our hotel reservations clerk sent us a thank-you card and chocolates, gave us directions and even her personal cellphone number, in case we needed help with anything.
The Byward Market also had many shops and fruit and vegetable vendors. It was early in the season, but the colors were magnificent.