Getting from Toronto to Ottawa was made possibly by…
This time it wasn’t horrible at all because the ride was only five to six hours. AND the seats were waaaaay more comfortable. I scored and got on an express bus, which had neck support, more leg room, and even WI-Fi!
I took a different route as far as accommodations went this time, as I didn’t stay in a hostel. Instead, I opted to stay with super extended family, so extended that they’re not even on the same family tree. Lol.
I stayed with Chieny (who I refer to as my cousin to make things simpler, but she’s the niece of my aunt, who is my aunt because she’s married to my uncle), her mom Tita Susan, and Tita Josie (Tita Susan’s sister).
(I call them Tita because I’m Filipino. Tita means “aunt.”)
My primary reason for staying with them wasn’t to save money, but rather to spend some time with family. In doing so, I also got to meet Shervel (Chieny’s older sister) and her son Basty!
Chieny lives in a cozy looking townhouse about 30 minutes away from Parliament. But inside it’s bigger than it looks.
It’s also ridiculously comfy.
I got a room in the basement all to myself, and as nerdy as this sounds, I was excited to sleep in the basement! I was so fascinated with it because houses in Los Angeles don’t have those.
It was like there was a secret house under the house itself. At Chieny’s place, there was a den with a couch and television and a washroom with a toilet and shower! That was beyond cool. I felt like a 5-year-old discovering a hidden treasure.
I rested when I arrived because it was already afternoon. But Chieny and I also went for a walk before sunset to check out the leaves changing color.
I was surprised that temperatures were already cold in September. When I opened the door, I was hit in the face with air that must have been in the 50s! I told Chieny this was like winter in SoCal. I was cold and my hoodie wasn’t effective in insulating me properly.
Over the next couple of days I walked around Canada’s beautiful capital.
Chieny and I also went on a tour of Parliament. Interestingly, it was her first time to go on the tour, even though she lived there! 😛
At the end, our guide, Jannick, told us to write her name down on the review card if we enjoyed her presentation of Parliament.
If not, she said to put down the name Jonathan. That statement drew several laughs from the group 😛
The most outstanding aspect about Ottawa to me is that it’s such a low-key capital. In Washington D.C., there’s security everywhere. But in Ottawa, the number of police cars and officers was minimal. Visitors are even allowed to go inside Rideau Hall, where the Governor General of Canada lives! (I unfortunately wasn’t able to go on a tour after multiple attempts, as I arrived during the wrong times 🙁 )
Apart from all the sight seeing, a highlight of my time in Ottawa was spending time with Tita Josie, Chieny, and Tita Susan.
Tita Josie told me stories of her own travels. She’s been to Europe, Brazil, America, etc. Chieny has also been across the border to the United States a few times (including this past Christmas in Los Angeles!), and also went to Cuba.
Tita Susan worked for most of the day, but we watched Filipino teleseryes in the evenings.
While I was in Ottawa, a tragic accident occurred: a local bus collided with a VIA Rail train. It was a sour note during my trip 🙁 http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/09/18/via-train-and-ottawa-city-bus-collide-reports-of-multiple-fatalities/