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We are doing our best to post a brief summary of our quarterly happenings for those of our friends and family who are interested. Enjoy!


2/11 – DC


Holocaust museum


Sunset and restoration

 I spent the day at the Holocaust Museum. My brother and John have both been, so I decided it’d be a good time to do it before John got here and to let my brother get some errands done. I have had the opportunity to visit several museums about the Holocaust in Germany and The Netherlands, and have also walked through a concentration camp. This museum was different in at it spent quite a bit of time discussing the Allies involvement .. or lack there of. Although this is a very different situation, it made me reflect on the situation with Syria. They had a very useful timeline at the start of the museum, and I was quite surprised at how quickly it all started out. Within months, Hitler had a serious following and things were in motion. This museum was also quite a bit more artful with moving displays, quotes, etc. than the ones museums I’ve been to on this subject. Heavy afternoon. 

Shantanu met up with me after the museum and we walked along the mall enjoying the sunset. We had a yummy dinner at a salad fast food place. 

Looking forward to John joining us tomorrow morning! 

2/10 – Quebec City to DC


Eglise St. Matthew

We walked the shops for a little bit. Then, we headed back  toward the creperie we’d eaten at last night. On our way, we passed an old church. It was a little confusing because the signage suggested it was a library or bookstore.  Even though it didn’t look open, we tried the door .. And to our surprise, we wandered in to a beautiful, small library housed in a church. People were sitting and reading, browsing th books, etc. in a church built in the late 1800s. It was wonderful!

Had another good meal at the creperie. 

The rest of our day was spent traveling to DC. 

2/9 – Quebec City


oldest street


View of Chateau Frontenac







Explored the lower part of Old Town today. Walked the reportedly oldest street in North America which was pretty cute. Got great views of the chateau looming over the cliff. Visited a market which was pretty small given the time of year, but we were still able to find lunch there. Spent the afternoon visiting a civilization museum which was pretty interesting. It included Québécois history, and also had an exhibit on Aboriginal people in Australia, Egypt, Inuits then and now, and some more contemporary exhibits.

Had a delicious crepe at Le Bellig for dinner. Perfect last dinner!

Will have a mellow morning tomorrow before heading to the airport to go to DC.

[John] Seattle had unpredictably nice weather. I decided to do some yard work and replaced the side gate that was starting to fall apart. More productive than those other people going to museums and eating crepes no? :)



2/8 – Quebec City 


Chateau Frontenac


Lunch spot


maple syrup pie


Hotel du Parlement

Breakfast at the hotel was sort of interesting. There is a hook on the room door, and they hung a picnic basket with croissants, yogurt, cheese, jam, and orange juice in it. Unique strategy, but we had to make our way downstairs for our morning dose of coffee. 

Brr! Chilly day. High was 12, but it was quite windy so it felt worse! I started the day out in my hiking boots because we were planning to do a walking tour and they are my comfier shoes, but after a little while, my toes were frigid! Had to come back mid-day for a warm cup of coffee and a shoe change. 

We started out with a blustery walk to Chateau Frontenac, reportedly the most photographed hotel in the world. It was built in the late 1890s by he Canadian Pacific Railway. The just replaced the copper roof in 2014, and it will take a while to oxidize, but it’s a gorgeous hotel! 

Walked by several old homes from the 16 and 1700s. Visited Notre Dame. It really does feel like a European city here, more so than Montreal. The homes and buildings are beautiful! 

Stopped to warm up .. And then headed to lunch at a Québécois restaurant called Aux Anciens Canadiens. The home dates back to 1677. The maple syrup pie was absolutely amazing! Was similar to a pecan pie, minus the pecans, plus maple flavor. 

Then, we wandered over to the Parliament as we are in the capital of the province. We toured the National Assembly (House of Parliament). Lots of French fleurs-de-lis, British lions, and Canadian maple leaves representing their history. First Nations were represented outdoors by statues. 

It’s supposed to be slightly warmer tomorrow, so we are planning on continuing our walking tour. Today we got through the upper part of Vieux Quebec, and we are hoping to tackle the lower part as well as a couple of markets tomorrow. 

2/7 – Montreal to Quebec City


Chateau Ramezay

Inside the chateau


Pointe-a-Calliere exhibit

View from an observatory at Pointe-a-Calliere

Had a slow start to our morning on purpose. We didn’t want to run out of things to do before making our way to the train station! We had deliberately planned on visiting a couple of museums that were near or hotel today so that we wouldn’t have any commute issues. 

We started out at Chateau Ramezay, built in 1705. It’s now a museum depicting Montreal over the past 300 years. It was originally the governor’s home. 

We then wandered over to Pointe-a-Calliere, a history and architecture museum. This was another Montreal museum, with quite a bit of archeological findings in the basement. They’ve done a lot of excavation and we took a tour to hear more about what the walls once were and what was built on top of old fortifications. The road that the museum is on is currently under construction as they continue their excavations. The temporary exhibit was on Agatha Christie which was also very interesting. My only exposure to her is the BBC series of Poirot and Miss Marple we watch every once in a while. We learned a lot about her life full of travel, her training as an apothecary’s assistant, and her many years working alongside her husband who was an archeologist. I’ll have to check out more of her work! 

Made our way to the train station for our evening ride to Quebec City. The cab driver laughed when I handed him a $20. It’s cash I have had since a high school choir trip to Vancouver BC. I’ve been to Canada since, but usually end up just using credit. He didn’t speak much English, but I asked if it ws old, and he chuckled and said yes. 

2/6 – Montreal




Notre Dame


Buildings from 1880s


Christ Church

Snowy day! It was coming down basically all day, but at least that meant it was a little warmer than the prior couple of days. 

We finished up our Old Montreal walking tour this morning by taking a peek at the port. Not a heck of a lot going on this time of year, but apparently in the summertime, the have all sorts of stalls along the water. 

We worked our way back to Notre Dame where we took a quick guided tour. The cathedral is absolutely beautiful, stained glass on the ceilings and all. Interesting to hear about how quickly Montreal outgrew its  church. Before they were able to construct a larger one, many folks from the town would stand outside to listen to mass. 

Next, we did a walking tour of downtown. They’ve done a neat job mixing in historic buildings with the skyscrapers. Stopped at a couple more churches, one Anglican and one Catholic. Walked through the McGill University campus which was pretty. Had lunch at Dunn’s, a place famous for their smoked meat. They’ve been open since 1927. They had a decent veggie burger too, and Shantanu enjoyed his sandwich. After exploring downtown in the snow, we headed down to explore the “underground city” which is essentially a small network of malls and office buildings underground. 

We have a few more spots to check out in Montreal tomorrow before hopping on a train to Quebec City. 

2/5 – Montreal


Mont Royal


Pseudo-view from Mt. Royal


The Plateau


yummy lunch

We are staying at a cute little hotel (~30 rooms) in Old Montreal. It’s a good spot for exploring the various neighborhoods. We started our morning out with a walk to Mont Royal, a small mountain in the city. On the way, we walked through Chinatown and Little Portugal. We had hoped to walk to the top of Mont Royak, but the path was quite icy. We made it most of the way, got a decent view of the city, and left the last leg to the folks with a little more courage and some serious ice cleats of sorts. 

We walked through a neighborhood called The Plateau which is adjacent to the park. It reminded me of Brooklyn. Our hotel had recommended a great lunch spot that did not disappoint. It’s called Cafe Santropol. They had amazing sandwiches with beautiful bread, and some very tasty soups. Shantanu got one called Duluth with pear, carmelized onion, arugula, and cheddar. Mine was Lox, with carrot “lox”, cream cheese, dill, onion, and capers. 

We spent the afternoon exploring the old town near our hotel which we learned is actually located on the oldest road in town. We followed a walking tour in a book and learned bits and pieces about the city’s history. Looking forward to visiting Notre Dame and a couple of museums tomorrow. 

2/4 – Ottawa to Montreal


Rideau Hall (Governor General’s house)


Royal Canadian Mint


view from the train


delicious dessert

Had a bit of a lazy morning, but it was nice. After breakfast, we walked to the Governor General’s house and wandered around the grounds. Interestingly, he or she is elected by the queen … Of England. This individual is the next in line if the Prime Minister is out of town or unable to work for 30 days. 
On our walk back, we toured the original Canadian mint. The circulation coins are predominantly made in Winnepeg now, and Ottawa, mostly makes collector coins and bullion. The minting process was pretty interesting! They also make coins for many countries around the world which was surprising to us … But I suppose after seeing the facility and equipment, it isn’t something that can be done everywhere. They also made medals for the Vancouver Olympics. 
We spent a long lunch planning our next day and then hopped on a train from Ottawa to Montreal. Had a great dinner at L’Atelier d’Argentine. So much fun to hear French here! Have definitely noticed a difference between the two provinces – French is definitely spoken first here (e.g. on the train). 

No snow here at all, but apparently it’s coming this weekend. 

2/3 – Ottawa


Museum of History


Crepes and cocoa

Snowed overnight. The sidewalks were very icy when we left .. But we made it without any falls! We walked back over the bridge to Gatineau to go to the Canadian Museum of History. The ground floor was about the First Nations, and they had some great exhibits. They had some impressive totem poles, artifacts, and representations of ancient and contemporary life. Upstairs, there was a traveling exhibit from Sweden about the Vikings. Lots of interesting history and artifacts. We did learn that Viking hats actually don’t have horns on them and that this misconception stemmed from an 1870s Opera in which One of the evil characters were horned helmet… But he was not a Viking.

After the museum, we headed to grab lunch. By this time, the sidewalks had been shoveled which was nice. We enjoyed delicious crepes and a spicy hot chocolate (curry, paprika, chili, cardamom) – sounds strange, but trust me .. It was delicious. 

Our next stop was the Supreme Court where we took quick tour narrated by a law student from University of Ottawa. They have nine Supreme Court justices four of whom are women including the Chief Justice. The justices represent the various regions of the country. Seven of the nine are bilingual and cases are heard and either French or English, and occasionally in both. A translator is present for the cases for the justices as well as the audience. 

We tried to visit the Library and Archives, thinking it might be like our Library of Congress, but you have to have a pass to enter. We did a little walk around the Parliament building and learned about the historical figures commemorated by statues surrounding the grounds. Then, we poked our heads into the fancy Chateau Laurier, a beautiful hotel constructed in the early 1900s. There were historical photos of original room rates ($2/nt), famous visitors, and the building of the hotel. 

Meandered through a bookstore before heading to an amazing Indian dinner at Kochin Kitchen. It was the best Indian meal I’ve had outside of my family’s kitchen! Yum!

2/2 – Ottawa




National War Memorial


Notre Dame


Unfortunately John is left out of the beginning of this trip. Pooja and Shantanu are exploring Eastern Canada, and John will be joining us later.

Got in late yesterday evening due to some travel difficulties .. But we made it.

Today, we started out walking in the wrong direction for a little while, and a kind local got us reoriented. We meandered our way to the Parliament building. Despite having a ticket for a specific tour time, we missed half of our tour because of a long security line. We enjoyed the part that we were able to join in for. Afterward, we walked through Confederation Park which houses ice sculptures for about 5 weeks during the winter. The weather has been unseasonably warm and the sculptures haven’t even lasted a week – heads of cranes, eagle wings, etc have fallen off. They were still very impressive though!
We walked along Rideau Canal which is usually full of ice skaters, but it isn’t frozen enough for that yet. We ducked into Byward Market which is very near to where we are staying and found a great bite to eat at a Moroccan stall.

After lunch, we poked our heads into Notre Dame, built in the 1800s. Interestingly the two steeples are covered in tin. Neither of us had seen that before. On the sunny day it was really quite remarkable with the reflection. Then, we crossed the Ottawa River and explored the city of Gatineau. The bridge crosses from the province of Ontario into Quebec. Gatineau houses a Canadian history museum that we may return to see tomorrow. Today, we did the walk on an absolutely beautiful sunny afternoon to get good views of Ottawa’s Parliament building, Fairmont Chateau, and the icy river. We also explored the area around Brewery Creek, an area that was once a hub for industrial development (largely built around wood). We did a walking tour through a neighborhood and read about the history of the old homes and who used to inhabit them.

We returned to Ottawa around sunset, and stopped in for a delicious hot chocolate at a place called Cacao 70. It apparently was a recipe that was from Bologna, Italy circa 1600 with orange flavored chocolate and cinnamon. Yum! Hard to think about dinner after such a delicious early dessert!

Guessing we walked at least 7 miles today. Temperature was in the mid 20s. No wind. Beautiful sun. Won’t have same luck tomorrow, so we enjoyed it today.

[John] I know you all are wondering what I’m doing while Pooja is gallivanting in Canada with her brother. So I will plan to include the occasional update myself….

It was a memorable day, I headed to the office and fired up the computer to start working on a presentation and do some in depth analysis on consumer behavior with regards to shipping transit times. In between my breakthroughs, I made sure to take a few moments to stop to enjoy the sunshine and a cup of coffee. It was a productive day on the farm, the cubical farm that is.

John's Cube Looking for a Breakthrough

On the REI Campus


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