Ottawa – A night in jail [Across Canada – part 13: 07.-09.05.2018]

It feels like a goodbye to Canada leaving Halifax and Nova Scotia on the train. I keep looking out of the window, a couple of musicians play again in the bistro car as I see forests, lakes and roads passing by. You know this feeling when you listen to music and look outside of a car’s or train’s window and it feels like you’re in a music video? This moment here is my personal soundtrack to the end of this road movie. One more night on the train and the chapter of “sleeping on trains and buses” will be closed for now.

In Ottawa I had from evening til early afternoon to explore before I was to be picked up by Dan. He and I had walked around Ottawa 1 1/2 years ago together on a cold October morning after we had dropped off Pat at the airport. This time we would pick her up coming from the UK. I met both of them on the Camino de Santiago when I had walked the 800 km in May, 2015, mostly for myself. On the last evening before walking into Santiago I didn’t want to be alone anymore and luckily connected with their group of four: Lisa, Alan and Pat & Dan. What followed was a perfect finish of the Camino and 2 1/2 days in Santiago di Compostela together. When I talked with other travelers about going to Canada I always mentioned this lovely Canadian couple that I’m happy to be friends with and where I would stay for my last bit of Canada.

But before moving on I gave Ottawa a second sunny look. If you choose to stay in a hostel you definitely should think about the HI Hostel as it is an old jail. I think everyone I met who had spent one night in Ottawa had stayed there. You decide for bigger or smaller cells and it’s a weird feeling to see name and crime of one of the last prisoners on the door followed by more information on the inside of the cell. “Well, isn’t this a place with negative energy then?” I was asked and I had thought about it myself. But the hostel is in there for over 40 years now so I hope that brought lots of young people with some good energy.

At least it’s an experience and I had a good morning talk with two girls who worked there over breakfast that brought me new traveling stories and also a coffee shop recommendation I was more than happy to try later.

I walked around a sunny capital, explored Parliament Hill and Byward Market and ended up at the high water of Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal to watch a sailing boat being channeled up through the five manual locks while another one was prepared to get into dry-dock.

When years ago we went out with our father and the small bright yellow motorboat for a tour on the river Main my brother and I did not only love to steer up and down the river avoiding all the big freight ships and their waves with our nutshell but also to be in control of all the steps at the lock. I really loved to handle the manual locks. But since we only channeled with a motorboat so far I have never thought about how sail ships without a motor are supposed to move through them. It was fascinating to see all these people work hand in hand to pull and tie the ship through the different locks once the water was evened out.

I have literally no idea how long I’ve stayed there in the sun just watching before I moved on.

It’s pretty nice to find a coffee shop in the middle of town with a sunny patio surrounded by small houses and separated from the road with a calm and green lawn. I think for the last two hours in Ottawa I just sat there outside in the sun and worked on the Québec blog.

While sitting in the patio of The Origin a neighbor got out of his house and gave his miniature horse a walk in the sun. Yes, his tiny pony in the middle of the capital of Canada. It seemed like there everyday routine when they did one round after the other and even for me it felt like meditation just watching.

That coffee shop by the way offers any kind of liquor shot into your coffee for 3$ on Mondays and Tuesdays. Seems like if you work and live in Ottawa and see miniature horses you need this to survive the start into the week?

I picked up a savory salmon scone at The Scone Witch and it was already time to say goodbye to Ottawa.

Second last stop Brockville next. See you there!


  1. What a spectacular day for Ottawa! You just missed the tulip festival by a week…maybe next trip! Btw… with your pics, jail doesn’t look so bad!

    Enjoy Toronto!!!

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