Tuesday, July 10, 2007

July 10 - Ottawa to Montreal

Canadians resent the fact that most Americans can't even name the Capitol of Canada. To avoid such embarrasment make note of today's post.

We had a most wonderful morning in Ottawa near the Parliament Buildings. We attended the Changing of the Guard which was most impressive. There was a parade in review including an impressive marching band. The soldiers stood for inspection the formality of which was remarkable. These have been time honored ceremonies in the British Commonwealth for centuries. The Canadian Royal Guard in their red coats and tall fur hats looked very much like the Royal Guard at Buckingham Palace in London.

To our delight the Changing of the Guard was followed by the performance of a drill by the King's Guard of Norway. I actually liked their parade better because there was more action. The inspection got a little slow and boring. The Norwegians looked so smart in their dark uniforms. The white stripes on their trouser legs really accentuated the syncronization of their drill. They also had a fine band supported by a group of fanfare brass. It was interesting that for hats they wore bowler derbys with a plume attacted to the side.

As we watched I noticed a soldier standing at attention behind us. I wasn't sure she would speak to me, she seemed so focused and resolute. She did however, and we enjoyed a nice and informative conversation. The Norwegian Army consists of career officers and conscripted troops. Each young man in Norway, if he is fit, is required to serve in the armed forces for one year. These young people have only served since September. It is amazing how polished they are in only nine months. They will return to civilian life again this coming September.

We thought it cool that this was the first time the Norwegians have performed in Ottawa and we were here to enjoy it.

The city is magnificent as are the many government buildings, monuments and shrines that surround Parliament. We'd like to come back and spend more time here someday.


Jen said...

Those hats are pretty crazy. I think that feathery looking thing would drive me crazy.

Alyson said...

I definitely agree with Jen!! That's cool that you happened to catch the Norwegian performance.

ReveryWings said...

Thats gotta be better than tvmobg! The soldiers look younger than they used to.