I’ve been to Ottawa during the summer. Now, during the winter, the icy Canadian government has not stopped to promote its capital with creative ideas how to make cold weather into a heck load of fun. Chris, Stefan and me, Gedenkdieners in Montreal, rent a car at enterprise – which is roundabout the cheapest place in the hood when it comes to renting cars in Canada.

While we are driving towards Ottawa, someone asks innocently “Sooo… where are we going to sleep?”, and as usual, as in every teenage roadtrip, nobody wanted the responsibility to look for a hostel and gave this task to someone else. We had no place to stay.
When arriving in Ottawa three hours later – Chris drives like a girl -, we take some wrong exit and finally arrive in downtown. The best way to find internet are usually Starbuckses or Second Cups, but in Ottawa, the funny coffe meetups for nursing home inhabitants end too early.
After a while, we pass an inhabited cafe and park our car on some random street. Not any parking style … Chris style.

So, we merge with the few people who populate Ottawa during a Friday night in downtown and go to the hot spot: Not a club, not a bar, but a Second Cup cafe. We find free internet, find a hostel, get the maps, take a piss and still don’t know if there are any beds left for us. Stefan draws a crooked sketch of the way, and we get back in the car that is resting its right back foot on the sidewalk “to prevent varicose veins”. Stefan holds his map.
“Ok Chris… turn right.”
“And now, mh, turn right.”
“And right..”
“and again right!”

We find ourselves in the same street where we randomly parked our car – and the hostel was just across the street. It is a family house made of wood, very American indeed. The guy who runs the hostel explains that they are booked, but upon offering that we would sleep anywhere, even on the floor, he reveals that there are two beds and one couch available. I get the couch – but instead of leading me in that room where a bunch of people sits around and watches TV, he leads me to the house next door and shows me an amazing, huge, white couch. I am astounded.

The Backpackers Inn Ottawa reception

Lots of backpackers..


It’s Friday night, and especially because politics in Canada are fueled with alcohol (who would suspend parliament just to reign a little longer?), we go out. Chris, Stefan and me end up in a really dirty rock bar, filled with loud little brats that are barely fourteen but somehow seduced the bouncer to let them pass. As Stefan drops a glass from the table, suddenly everyone around us starts applauding and jumps up. Seriously, how boring must Ottawa be, if there are thirty people applauding for a dropped glass?

Hot dog and poutine – that’s a little late night snack for us Canadians.

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