Day 10.

After another early morning run around La Fontaine Park, I settled my bill at La Conciergerie and then started the walk back to Central Station.

Stopping on the way to check out the beautiful coloured windows at Palais des congrès de Montréal.

Outside Central Station.

And inside, ready to catch the 8:40am train to the Capital city of Ottawa.

Down on the undergound platform for boarding.

And departing on time for the journey west to Ottawa. The train carriage was much more modern than the one I took to Montreal, but with much less leg room.

Some Pringles and a Clif bar from the food cart for breakfast. A guy sitting across from me, wearing a fedora, leather jacket and a beard ordered a coffee, but then said he had no money when he realised he had to pay for it. The server handled it graciously though, wished him a happy Thanksgiving and let him keep it!

We arrived in Ottawa on time at 10:45am, 2 hours after leaving Montreal.

Unlike Quèbec city and Montreal, Ottawa train station was not in the city centre. I contemplated walking or taking a taxi for the ~4.5 kilometres into the city, but after a bit investigation, managed to catch the right bus for $CA3.60.

After checking in and dropping off my bags at the hostel, I went for a walk into the city. Ottawa was quite a bit cooler than Montreal, with a maximum predicted temperature of 12°C today.

English mother, French father.

Rideau Canal, opened in 1832 and was built to provide a secure supply route between Montreal and Kingston in case of invasion by the United States. In winter the canal in Ottawa freezes over and becomes the world's second largest skating rink. On the left is also the East block of the Canadian Parliament.

Centennial Flame just in front of Parliament. Built in 1967 to commemorate Canada’s 100th anniversary as a Confederation. The natural gas bubbling through the water didn't seem to fully ignite, as there was a heavy foul smell of gas odourant in the air.

The Canadian Parliament, containing the House of Commons and Senate chambers. The original building was built in 1866, but was rebuilt again in 1923 after it was completely destroyed by fire.

Maple Leaf.

Getting another fix of Tim's just after 12.

I then walked to the Canadian War Museum. The building, completed in 2005, with textured concrete walls and grass covered roof resembled a fortified and camouflaged bunker.

The displays were set out chronologically, starting with the history of war on Canadian soil, including the indigenous people who allied with the French to fight the English during the French and Indian War.

Next was the South African and First World Wars, when Canada supported the British in South Africa and Europe.

A haunting gas mask from World War I.

The LeBreton Gallery, with a CF-101 Voodoo jet up above some the tanks on display.

In the Cold War section, with a nuclear rocket on the far left, and the nose cone of a Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow bottom middle.

The fourteen flags of Canada and its province and territories flying outside the museum. I had spent almost three hours in the museum and it was a great and very interesting place to learn about Canada's wars and history and definitely exceeded my expectations.

After the visit to the museum I walked back into the city. It was just before 4pm so I stopped at a hotdog stall to fill the gap until dinner.

I grew up with hotdogs which were deep fried, covered in batter and not a bun in sight, so it was great to enjoy the much tastier North-American version with ketchup, mustard and everything else!

And outside my hostel for my one night stay in Ottawa, the old gaol!

Climbing up the original stairs. The Nicholas Street Gaol was the main jail of Ottawa for over one hundred years.

And my 1 x 3 meter cell/room on level 6. After closing in 1972, the jail was soon converted to a hostel.

I chilled out for a bit in my cell and it was surprisingly quite peaceful despite the very small space.

And the hostel common room in the basement which was not so claustrophobic.

For dinner I headed out to a local Mexican place, Burrito Borracho.

And had three very tasty soft corn tortilla taco's with grilled chicken, steak and pulled pork.

I had a early start tomorrow to catch my flight back to Toronto, so after I packed my bags I set my alarm for 4am and settled in for the night in my 1 x 3 metre jail cell!

Day 11.

After a surprisingly good nights sleep, I walked the short distance to the nearby Novotel and caught a taxi to the airport.

At Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport for my 6:30am flight to Toronto.

I had plenty of time until my flight so grabbed a Bagel B.E.L.T (bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato) at Tim Hortons.

Looking out over the wing to another Air Canada Airbus after boarding the A319-100 for the short hop to YYZ.

Complimentary coffee and biscuit soon after take-off.

Looking east to the sun rising over downtown Toronto and Lake Ontario.

After collecting my suitcase after landing, I headed through to collect my car for the day, an all-wheel-drive Hyundai Genesis.

The plan for today was to head south-east from Toronto on Queen Elizabeth Way and then take a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls. Then head west to the city of Woodstock to catch up with friends, Gerald and Esther, before returning to Toronto Airport to catch my flight back to Dubai.

After taking a few wrong turns, my GPS put me back on the right road and I was off to Niagara Falls.

Although it was a Monday, it was Thanksgiving morning so the roads were relatively empty leaving Toronto.

Stopping at a gas station half-way to Niagara. The Hyundai had a 3.8 litre V8 outputting 232 kW and was a nice pleasant ride on Queen Elizabeth Way.

I arrived at Niagara Helicopters just after 10am. I didn't have a booking but they were fine with walk-ups.

After paying the $CA130 I lined up outside to take the helicopter ride over the Falls. An Airbus EC130 coming in to land and another just to the left refuelling. The company had four helicopters shuttling passengers for the short ride/tour over the falls.

It was soon time to board. I was the last on and managed to get a right-side window seat.

Shortly after lift-off. The weather was almost perfect with great views out the window.

Heading south along the Canadian side of the Niagara River with the watery mist from the falls in the distance.

The Niagara River delineates the border between the USA (left) and Canada (right).

Looking down at the Sheraton and Hilton on the Canadian side of the river.

And across to the famous Horseshoe / Canadian Falls where ~90% of the water from the Niagara river flows over.

The intake point of the Niagara Tunnel Project, a 12.7 metre diameter, 10.2 kilometre long tunnel completed in 2013 to supply additional water to the Sir Adam Beck hydroelectric generation complex.

Beginning our journey back.

Goat Island (and USA soil) to the right and the Canadian city of Niagara Falls on the left.

A colourful rainbow in the mist just above Horseshoe / Canadian Falls.

The bridge to the top left connecting Canada (left) and the USA (right), and with a direct line of sight of the Falls, it is appropriately called Rainbow Bridge. Just below it is the smaller American and Bridal Veil Falls.

Looking down at the very beautiful Horseshoe / Canadian Falls. I had briefly considered getting a boat ride up the river to the Falls, but was glad I opted for the helicopter ride instead.

And one last look before heading back to base.

An awesome experience and definitely recommended!

After landing I hit the road again just after 11am for the 151 kilometres to Woodstock.

Stopping about 50 kilometres out for a quick break.

Cruising down the 403.

I got to Woodstock just before 1pm and made it to Gerald and Esther's place. They had just arrived home late the previously night after a three week trip to Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

Gerald soon fired up the BBQ and cooked up some tasty half-pound burgers for lunch.

It was great catching up, talking about recent travels and their exciting adventure in South America.

Gerald then took me for a drive around Woodstock and the surrounding countryside. Quite a beautiful and idyllic town, although I struggled to imagine it being covered in snow when it reaches 10°C below in the winter, and when Gerald bikes the 5 kilometres to work!

At about 5:30pm I then said farewell to Esther and Gerald and hit the road for the 121 kilometre drive back to Toronto Pearson International Airport.

And back at Enterprise to drop off the Hyundai. Despite my best endeavours I couldn't find a gas station to fill back up close to the airport and hence the car only had half a tank left when I returned it. The Enterprise lady said it would be fine though, and said she wouldn't charge extra for the fuel (maybe because I had paid extra for insurance and had only had the car for half a day?).

After sorting out the car, I headed to Terminal 1 to check-in for my flight back to Dubai.

In the tiny and packed American Express lounge air-side. The lounge attendant apologised for the sorry state of the lounge though and offered food vouchers to eat elsewhere in the airport. I wasn't too hungry though so just opted for the medicore lounge food.

Our Airbus A380 at the gate being prepped for the return to Dubai.

There were some 27 people in wheelchairs lined up for boarding at the gate, and with a full flight with all 76 business class seats taken, it took a while to board.

Boarding started on time though and we were soon walking down the jetway. It would unfortunately be a while until I get to fly upstairs on the A380 again though!

I had originally booked seat 15G, an inner aisle seat and the same I had had on the DXB-YYZ leg. Luckily 16K, a window seat, had opened up when I went to check-in online 48 hours prior though.

The window seat definitely felt more private and secluded, and also had access to storage bins under the window.

And a glass of yellow label Veuve Clicquot champagne for my choice of pre-departure beverage.

After getting the men's amenity kit on the DXB-YYZ leg, I asked for a ladies one this time to give to Rianda.

The menu for the flight from Toronto to Dubai.

Watching the film, Star Trek Beyond as we taxied for take-off.

The lights of Toronto below as we banked right.

Dinner was started soon after, with pre-dinner drink of tomato juice and some nuts to start.

Next was the appetiser, where I had the tuna niçoise which consisted of succulent grilled tuna loin with green beans, fingerling potatoes, capers and olives.

For the main I enjoyed the tasty Kori gashi. Spicy Mangalorean chicken curry with coconut, served with ghee rice and curried lentils with vegetables.

And for dessert I had the delicious raspberry tart with pistachios and whipped cream.

I then reclined the seat fully to get some much needed sleep.

Day 12.

After a surprisingly good 5 hour sleep, I woke up refreshed somewhere over Poland.

Getting a drink and a snack from the bar.

Actor Wes Bentley in zero-gravity in the film, Interstellar.

As we got closer to Dubai breakfast was served. I chose the Continental cold plate with sliced smoked turkey, air-dried beef, goat's cheese, feta and Monterey Jack.

After breakfast was cleared, we prepared for the descent into Dubai.

Looking out over to the sun setting as we flew over the Gulf.

Fast track cards handed out for priority at DXB immigration.

And pulling into the gate with an EK A330 just across from us. 4 weeks later the last A330 and A340 planes were retired from the Emirates fleet.

Waiting for my suitcase to come off the belt in the arrivals area amongst the multitude of white pillars in Terminal 3.

And about to catch an EK limo home after a great trip to Canada!

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