Let's talk about biking in Ottawa!
I'm so excited to bring you this interview with my fellow Ottawa resident and travel lover Maria, founder of Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals.
As many of you know, I'm an anti-adventurist. And sometimes I even get a bit nervous about bike tours, though years of experience have taught me that once I get going, I love them. In case you need a little extra encouragement like me or you just want to see all the incredible opportunities that exist for biking in Ottawa, this special interview is for you!
What makes Ottawa a great city to explore on bike?
Name any of Ottawa’s landmarks or your favorite spot in the city and I will take you there safely on bike!
Ottawa has the perfect mix of nature and urban atmosphere. Ottawa is not only a very flat city, which makes it easy to cycle around, the city has also been investing in cycling infrastructure for the last 10 years. In fact, Ottawa is becoming one of the leading cycling cities in Canada.
Several new bridges have been built to improve connectivity, new bike paths have been developed, the city has adopted special cycling signals in different parts of the city and is implementing several intersections in the Dutch style, i.e. with cyclists away from motorized traffic. Combined with the NCC pathways and the Gatineau Park, the region offers hundreds of kilometers of safe cycling away from traffic. Through biking in Ottawa, it is entirely possible to see many of the important sites such as Parliament Hill, the Museum of History, the War Museum, the Ottawa River, the Rideau Canal and Rideau Hall without ever having to share the road with traffic.
These investments pay off: Ottawa sees cycling tourism from as far as Germany, the Netherlands and even someone from Uruguay. Our company has seen the increased demand that this year, we have launched and will offer Ottawa’s first ever multi-day bike tour packages for cycling tourism.
The history of Irish coffee involves a chef, a travel writer, and a journey around the world - but you can easily make it at home.
An oral history of Irish coffee usually begins in Foynes, a small community in western Ireland. But in actuality, the legend of this popular cocktail wraps around the world, from Dublin to the Marshall Islands. And a travel writer plays a starring role!
This boozy, creamy drink first gained popularity after it was served by Irish chef Joe Sheridan at Foynes Airbase, likely in 1943. It was offered up as a bracing concoction for passengers whose flight was forced to turn back due to poor winter weather and they promptly fell in love with the combination of coffee, whiskey, sugar, and cream. However, it was travel writer Stanton Delaplane who popularized it in 1952 when he brought the recipe home to San Francisco.
(Let's all take a moment to appreciate how fitting it is that someone whose last name is "Delaplane" choose a career as a travel writer. Marvelous.)
Stan convinced his friend Jack Koeppler, owner of San Francisco's Buena Vista cafe, that the drink would be a hit. Or, depending on who you believe, Jack approached Stan and tasked him with the job of recreating the Irish drink that was slowly getting a word-of-mouth reputation. According to official lore, since they couldn't figure out how to to properly add the cream, they offered Joe Sheridan a job and the chef immigrated to San Francisco in 1952. Problem solved!
Alas, there may be more to the story. In a Time Magazine interview with Joe in 1955, he stated that he immigrated through Canada and Hawaii before settling in San Francisco by coincidence, where he found work in an all night dinner called Tiny's Waffle Shop (now closed). Like many travel legends, it seems like this story has some tall tales.
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