One of my favorite parts of travelling and wandering about is finding hidden little gems. Particularly when those little gems are nestled into a tiny, out of the way place, off the beaten track.
Don’t get me wrong, I like cities, as far as travelling goes. I’ve done London, Paris, Detroit, NYC, Toronto, DC, etc, and have spent a fair amount of time living in the suburbs of Montreal. And I’ve found some of those gems in big urban centres. But finding them in tiny or far off places gives me a bit more of a thrill, as it’s more unexpected.
On the weekend we decided to have a girls’ road trip for the day to the Ottawa area, to check out the Diefenbunker and an abandone military base, Rockcliffe.
The Diefenbunker is located in the small town of Carp, Ontario. Which, technically, is part of Ottawa. But really, it isn’t. We erroneously assumed, as we got hungry driving west past Ottawa on the 417, that we could grab a bagel at Timmy’s, or some Thai Express in the elusive Carp place. Wrong. We found train tracks, two churches, a church bazar, fairgrounds, and a few houses. And, thank god, Alice’s Village Cafe. We were *this* close to running into the general store for a pre-packaged gross sandwich.
Alice’s was one of those gems. Tiny, classy, comfortable feeling. And the best sandwich of my life. Seriously, if you haven’t been, and you’re in the Greater Carp Area, go. http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/250/1689400/restaurant/Ottawa-Outskirts/Alices-Village-Cafe-Ottawa
After that, it was off to the Diefenbunker. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m into exploring abandoned and forgotten places the illegal way, and have mixed feelings towards museums. As a former History and Geography major, I love history. But I don’t like reading panel after panel, and looking at exhibits on screens or behind glasses. I like museums where I can wander into rooms, not look at them through glass. The Diefenbunker fell into my category of “good” museums, thankfully.
I love anything related to the 1950s, the Cold War, and those wonderful Duck and Cover videos. So exploring a government, then-secret (somewhat) underground nuclear fallout bunker…. was awesome. It also hit home how real the threat of a nuclear attack was perceived to be by those in power. We particularly loved the entrance tunnel, decontamination and medical area, and playing around in the Bank of Canada vault.
Some images from the Diefenbunker.