To Begin at the beginning, Bill and I spent a couple of nights in Ottawa, capital city of Canada, before we left for the Arctic. We flew in just as the sun was setting into a moderate sized airport surrounded by farms. On the way into the city, I enjoyed the mild evening air blowing on my face and the sound of crickets and cicadas singing just as I hear them here at home. The sides of the road were uncut and green, dotted with Queen Anne's Lace and other late summer wild flowers. The city is so green and spacious I didn't realize we were there until we were smack downtown in the middle of it all.
The next day we watched the changing of the guard at the Parliament and took a fascinating city tour to learn more about our surroundings. We do this every time we go to a new city and find it really helps to get ourselves oriented as to where we are and what interesting sights we might like to return to at another time.
Though Ottawa is definately inland, there is water everywhere. The Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers plus the Rideau Canal Waterway provide water access throughout the city to those with kyaks and other small boats. In the cold northern winters the water level of the canal is lowered and people are able to skate to their places of work. There are bike paths everywhere and on Sundays, certain scenic parkways throughout the city are shut down to car traffic so that bikers and roller bladers can view the wonderful gardens so beautifully planted throughout the city. In the winter those bike paths become cross country ski trails.
There is a huge government run farm in the middle of it all where experimental crops are grown and school kids can go and learn all about where "Pizza" really comes from ... NOT Papa John's or Pizza Hut ... but the fields where the wheat is actually grown (for the crust) and the rest of the ingredients are grown. The children apparently get see pizza being prepared and to have a taste before they leave.
There are green belts galore and it is really difficult to feel that you are in a city when you visit Ottawa. It is quiet and so green ... I figure a country girl like myself could live in a city like this. I wonder if they would allow me to have a few chickens??? I was told that before I get real interested in moving to Canada I should visit in the winter!!! Oh, well!
There are many museums. The most fascinating to me was the Museum of Civilization which we didn't get a chance to see, but hopefully we will on our next visit ... yes, we plan to go back and do some more exploring at some future time.
Just a few blocks away from the middle of the city is a wonderful market where you can buy food, plants and just about anything else you might want. The veggies and fruit sure looked good. You apparently have to live within 75 miles of the city in order to sell produce at the market.
In the coming days this would be the last of the berries we would see, except I did get to taste a handful of warm blueberries that I picked myself on the the tundra in Greenland on our last day!