I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and of the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past...A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. -Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Oh Canada

We snuck up to Ottawa for a couple of days last week as an interlude during our visit to my in-laws. We've really enjoyed taking vacations in Canada over the last few years--Can't deny the appeal of the exchange rate relative to the US dollar, but I think it is also nice to be able to drive yet still have managed to get to another country.

Anyway, we hadn't been to Ottawa before. We were suprised by how much it felt like Quebec City. Yes, they are both eastern Canadian cities, and yes, Ottawa borders Quebec province, but Quebec City is rather unique. Yet Ottawa captures some of the feel in the shops and sidewalk cafes and general feel (and Kurt asked why don't we have more sidewalk cafes here in the US--the weather isn't any better up there!)

It was also interesting to be in a city that really is focused around government. Washington DC is an example, but it is so structured around monumental architecture and a planned layout. Ottawa feels more organic, more European, but of course the European capitals are all cities with long histories and many other functions. I suppose Canberra is also a dedicated capital, but I haven't made it to Australia (yet!).

I would have like to have spent more than a couple of days. We mostly walked around, but it seemed like there were some great museums too...a place to return to.

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