All that said, I will try to make up for the lack of puns and witty titles with my exciting and verbose dialogue. Because I can’t do puns.
Now, plenty of people seem curious as to why my Dad, brother, and myself suddenly packed our bags and headed north. Very rarely do the Perkins family take unexpected trips. In fact, our annual vacations are usually planned out eight or nine months in advance.
We have my Mom to thank. Around the dinner table last Tuesday, as Dad was poring over a placemat of Canada talking about how he’d like to someday visit there, Mom spoke up.
“Why don’t you just go now?” she suggested, “Before the weather turns cold. You could take Abby and A.J. and just go!”
I’ll spare you most of the details, but by that evening tentative plans were made to leave early the next week. It was exciting but slightly daunting to suddenly rush off into another country. There was the usual rush of arranging everything at church and home, making sure Mom knew exactly how to take care of the animals and vacuuming every nook and cranny of the car. All those long and rather frustrating jobs that are imperative to accomplish before leaving on a trip of almost any length.
Fastforward to Sunday evening, when we set off after the evening service for Buffalo, New York, where we were spending the night as a half way point. All our luggage had been loaded up (granted, most of it was mine) and we were equipped with everything from passports to pillows. There were some complaints about my taking five pairs of boots/shoes with me as apparently SOME people think that’s extravagant.
Anyway, we made it to Buffalo with only the normal amount of confusion (Do we have the passports, did we miss our exit, why is there so much traffic at 11 at night?), and got a very few hours of much needed sleep. We were back on the road by 8:30 and headed for the border.
We were in Ottawa by early afternoon, and ready to do some sightseeing. Unfortunately, as is common in strange large cities, we weren’t sure of anything, where to go, where to park, where to eat. Eventually we decided on touring Parliament Hill, mostly because its mammoth size made it hard to miss. After the flurry of trying to find a parking place, we did manage to thread out way through the throngs (half the population scurrying about was Chinese- the other half were Canadian and Muslims). I asked my Dad to snap a picture of me in front of the Parliament Building, but it didn’t turn out fabulously as I had hoped.
Anyway, we ended up not touring the Parliament building after all, because the wait was too long. And by that time we were footsore and hungry, so the decision to skip the tour was an easy one. Unfortunately for us, nothing food-wise seemed to be open. Most of the shops, stores, malls, etc., were closed for no apparent reason. We were mystified but assumed that it was a Canadian thing to close all their stores on Mondays.
So our first day on Canadian soil was a bit of a bust, since we didn't get to really tour anything and the wonderful local food we sampled was at a Tim Horton's. But we rose with vigor on Tuesday, determined to jam as much as we could into a few hours. We had decided to hit some of the museums, starting with the Canadian Museum of History.
It was a pretty good museum, nothing remarkable. Lots of totem poles, lots of hoopla about the early inhabitants, old pieces of pottery. We watched an IMax film on pandas, which was nice but tame. We bought a package deal that included passes to two museums, so we picked the Canadian War Museum as our next stop. I loved that place so much, I could have spent all day there. I won't get into details but it was the most perfect museum in the whole entire world. And they had lots of tanks.
Enter Wednesday. We spent the morning and early afternoon toodling around old Montreal, dodging raindrops and occasionally ducking into souvenir shops. We were finally able to sample some local cuisine in a little French restaurant, where I ordered salmon-stuffed pork with blueberries. Really delicious!
We spent the rest of the day with my Aunt Carol in, of all places, Vermont. On our way down south, we stopped at a rest area to get some pictures, since the trees were so lovely. We hadn't seen each other for over two years, so we had loads to catch up on. We ate a lovely dinner at a gorgeous restaurant overlooking a huge lake. I could not believe how beautiful it all was, with the orange, red, and yellow hills on the one side of the lake and the quaint New England town perched on the other. As it got dark the lights came on everywhere, and it was unbelievably calm and tranquil.
So that was the end of our trip. To be sure, it was a few more hours after all that until we got home, but those long hours in a car are the kind that you erase from your memory if possible.