Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dogsledding Trip

Last weekend I went on a day trip with the university's outdoor activities program to go dogsledding. I was looking forward to a trip like this basically since I knew I was gonna go to Canada and it was an amazing experience!
We left pretty early in the morning and when we got to the place in Gatineau Park you could already hear all the dogs "bark". It really sounded like wolves and it was very loud. The owners greeted us and we all went inside the cottage to stay warm. They brought three little puppies and let us hold them. They were SOOOOOO cute!!! We devided the group into three smaller group and mine was the first one to go dogsledding. It took quite a long time until they got all the dogs out and put them in front of the sleds. It was really cold, windy and snowy so I got a little worried that it would "ruin" the experience but once we got going it was sunny and the snow stopped. We were 5 students and one of the owners. It was more difficult to steer the sled than I had thought but I got used to it after a while. We had to stop every now and then because the dogs started fighting or just had to pee or poop :D
I was sad when we got back to the cottage after almost an hour and wanted to go again :) But the dogs needed to rest and it was time for the other groups. Before that we had lunch around the fireplace in the cottage. After the second group had left with the dogs, my group went cross-country skiing. It was pretty fun and it's so different from downhill skiing. I fell right at the beginning when I tried to get down a little "hill" and the "pizza slice" move didn't work with those long skis. I managed to control the skis after a while though and enjoyed going through the little trails in the forest.
Afterwards we all came back to the cottage and had apple and sugar pie.
The last part of the day was snowshoeing. We got these big thingies to put under your shoes and it feels weird to walk with them and quite a challenge not to fall. We walked through the forest once again and the sun set during the walk so we could see it through the trees which looked really beautiful. Once we got back, it had  cooled down a lot and we were all pretty tired and exhausted so it was a good time to go home.
It was such a special day that I will probably never forget :)

In other news, I have booked my flight from Seattle to San Francisco!!! YAY! I'll go there on February 25th until I leave North America again to go back home to Germany on March 21st. Still almost 2 months to go.
Ottawa has been EXTREMELY cold last week (I saw -27°C once but apparently it was even colder at some point) so it is a bit difficult to get yourself outside if you don't really have to ;) It is getting warmer again though and you start thinking that -10 is a hot summer's day!!
We'll go ice skating on Rideau Canal tomorrow and we booked a shuttle bus + lift ticket to go skiing next weekend.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

One month left in Ottawa

Natacha and me finally booked our plane tickets to Vancouver. I will leave Ottawa on February 18th. We'll spend a couple of days in Vancouver and then go to Seattle. Natacha will fly back to Ottawa from there and I will hop on a plane to San José, CA to visit my hostfamily!! :)

We had a really warm weekend last week ( +6°C and rain!!) but temperatures dropped again. Thursday had lovely -22 or even less (feels like -30). BRRRR! It snowed again yesterday but it's also warmer again this weekend which is nice because I have my dogsledding/snowshoeing trip tomorrow and I don't wanna freeze the whole day in -20 °C. I'm really excited for that!! Besides, the Rideau Canal is now open for ice skating so we will do that very soon as well.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas, New Year's and Winter Time in Ottawa

It's been a while but I finally managed to get back to my blog after more than a month....
Since then quite some things happened: I finished my finals (by now I already got some grades back and they're pretty good so far), enjoyed tons of snow in Ottawa (including an awesome middle-of-the-night snowball fight), had a lovely Christmas dinner (we all cooked different things; I made 'Rouladen' with red cabbage and potatoes + Apfelstrudel for desert), been to New York City and Boston for a week over New Year's and moved out of my house and into my new room in a house where I'm gonna stay for a month before couchsurfing with some friends and then going to Vancouver. I hated moving out of my house and now not being able to go back there :D it's weird to know that other people are living there now...
The NYC trip was fun but the way there and back with Greyhound was a disaster. NEVER take Greyhound if there is a way to avoid it!!! The first time we got stuck in the middle of NY State for a couple of hours in the middle of the night and had to wait for another bus and on the way back from  Boston to Montreal we didn't have heating for almost 3 hours. Once we got to Montreal at 7-8am we had to find a rideshare to Ottawa which seemed impossible so we decided to buy the expensive bus ticket for Greyhound. We were about to get on the 9am bus when they closed the door cause the bus was full. Then I saw that someone called me on my phone but cause I'm not paying an extra 10 bucks or so for caller ID I dint't know who called but guessed it was one of the 20 people we texted for the rideshare. Fortunately the guy called again and offered us a rideshare for 10am. We managed to get our money back for the bus tickets and got a way cheaper and faster ride back to Ottawa! YAY. Once we got to Ottawa (completely exhausted and cold in -15 °C) we had to get all my stuff from my old neighbors' place to my new room. We've done a lot of walking with suitcases through the snow lately :D
Sasha is staying with me in the room until she starts her journey back home the next weekend which is nice so we get to spend a lot of time together :) She'll be the last goodbye for now. That brings me to all the other goodbyes within the last few weeks. Since I choose to stay longer than anyone else of those who only spent one semester here I had to say goodbye to everyone and watch them leave...Today we had to say bye to Tessie who is now on her way back to Argentina :( Way too many goodbyes lately but I will save up sooooo much money that I can visit all of my Ottawa friends and of course my California friends soon! Scandinavia is next and then South America in 2014.

Classes started again today but I don't have to go to any :D That's kind of nice but I still don't have anything to do for the next month except everything I've been wanting to do and never got around to like reading all the books I brought, starting to learn Spanish online and sending those christmas cards I still have here ;) They will get to Germany eventually.....

Christmas Dinner
Pie anyone??

NYC Times Square

Rockefeller Center with Sasha

Rockefeller Center

Boston - Bunker Hill
Massachusetts State House

Freezing on the bus from Boston to Montreal