300 FOLLOWERS

It might not seem like much, but I have hit another milestone in my blogging journey.

300 FOLLOWERS!

All I can say is thank you and God Bless all of you for going on this blogging journey with me.

When I started my blog I really didn’t think that ANYONE would be interested in what to do in a city after you’ve gone to that baseball , hockey , football , and basketball game .

They wanted to know what to see in a city but I didn’t think anybody would care about my trips to a sporting event, what goes in my suitcase when I travel, why my blog is called 30 Plus Teams 30 Plus Dreams and definately why I call myself the Sports Diva.

Boy was I wrong.

Some of you do care and you follow every post that I put on my blog .

300 plus followers to be exact.

For that, I thank you and hope that you continue to follow me and enjoy reading my posts.

I will try to give the best that I can as long as the good Lord allows me to continue writing, travelling, attending sporting events, giving you monthly travel quotes, and yeah, telling you what’s in my suitcase.

Thank you all again .

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A VISIT TO BYWARD MARKET

If you happen to visit Canada’s capital, Ottawa, besides seeing the Parliament Building , take a visit to Byward Market .

It’s been around since 1928 but refurbished in 1978.

It reminded my friend and I of two places that we both have seen a lot .

Chelsea Market in New York City and Faneuil Hall in Boston .

There’s stores, bars, restaurants and the area surrounding the market is the home of the Prime Minister and the United States embassy.

Yes it’s that close to Parliament Hill .

Byward Market is in Downtown Ottawa and the area around it has all sorts of stalls.

Even though the weather wasn’t great, there were snow showers, my friend and I explored the area.

The smell of Christmas trees and wreaths, as well as the bakery where my friend brought some gluten free cupcakes smelled so heavenly.

There was even a small store in the neighborhood that was like the store Big Lots here in the United States.

Of course we had to check it out and shop again .

Don’t judge me,okay?

We didn’t eat that other Canadian delicacy , Beaver Tails, which is pastry in the shape of a beaver’s tail.

We did check out a chocolate and candy shop and my friend just had to buy 2 candy apples, one of which she had wrapped so that she could bring it back to the United States.

After we left Byward Market , it was time to go back to the hotel and rest up a little but.

After all, this was a 30 Plus Teams Tour we were on.

We had a hockey game at the Canadian Tire Centre to go to that night.

EATING AT PIZZA PIZZA

I’ll admit it .

Being from New York City , I am that Pizza snob.

No pizza is as good as the pizza in New York .

Chicago style pizza, though is right up there with New York style pizza though.

That deep dish pizza is DA BOMB!

When I’m up in Canada , I have to make a stop at the pizza chain known as Pizza Pizza.

Now whether they’re affiliated with Little Caesars chain here in the United States , I don’t know .

It’s one of the first places the Sports Diva goes to when I’m in The True North , next to Tim Horton’s that is.

Gotta have my Tim Horton coffee or Vanilla Latte while I’m in Canada you know.

But back to Pizza Pizza.

It’s so good and while it doesn’t hit the spot like New York and Chicago style pizza does, I can eat it all the time while in Canada .

The slices are big and they slice them in two.

Can never turn down two slices for the price of one, peeps, and like a true New York City gal, I fold my pizza to eat it.

My favorite is the Pepperoni special for $5.49.

For me it’s pepperoni pizza, ginger ale and one of the most popular kind of potato chips in the country, All Dressed.

They even have a gluten free pizza, which takes a little longer to make , but according to my Circle of Sister Mish, it’s so good .

Mish is also a New York City pizza snob , so that’s high praise.

The only no no that the Sports Diva has about Pizza Pizza is when they ask you if you want dipping sauce to go with your pizza.

It cost extra.

SAY WHAAAAT?!!!!

Sorry, you can take the girl out of New York City , but you can’t take the Five Boroughs out of the girl .

Dipping sauce for pizza?!

Are you for real right now ?

That’s like putting pineapple and ham on pizza, although I understand some folks like that too.

You might not be a pizza fan (what’s wrong with you?!), but while in Canada, visit Pizza Pizza for some cheap eats that won’t break your budget.

SHOPPING , SHOPPING AND MORE SHOPPING AT RIDEAU CENTRE

After crossing off seeing Parliament Hill off my bucket list , the Sports Diva did something else that I love doing no matter what city the 30 Plus Teams Tour takes me.

No, it’s not traveling , eating, or going to a sporting event .

Although going to a sporting event is tied neck and neck with this.

IT’S SHOPPING !

My friend and I wanted to go to one of the largest malls in Canada , Rideau Centre Mall , which is located not far from Parliament Hill and right on one of the main streets of the city, Rideau Street.

This mall has three floors, which includes a drugstore, liquor store, and a supermarket .

I brought my Ice Wine from LBCO , which is the Liquor Board of Canada and they have a lot of stores in Ottawa.

My friend and I were in the mall for 5 hours.

That’s right, I didn’t stutter , I said we were there for 5 hours.

Besides the food court, drugstore , and admiring the Christmas decorations , we shopped in some of my favorite stores.

Forever 21, Bath and Body Works , LUSH, Sephora and a new store that’s been added to my list of stores to go into no matter if I’m doing a 30 Plus Teams Tour in Canada or United States .

It’s LIDS, which sells all types of hats with your favorite pro sports team on it.

Being the team sports apparel fashionista that I am , the Sports Diva just had to buy some new sports swag because you can never have enough hats with your favorite team splashed all over it.

Besides at 2 hats for $40, you can’t go wrong.

I wanted to buy 2 more but I can wait and check out the LIDS stores in New York and New Jersey .

Although I did turn down getting my hats embroidered with my favorite player’s name on it for $12.

That’s what team tshirts and team jerseys are for.

After a big lunch of Thai food for my friend and Chinese Dim Sum for me, it was finally time to take our packages back to the hotel.

But first a stop at the Ottawa Souvenir Store.

STAYING AT THE ECONO LODGE HOTEL IN DOWNTOWN OTTAWA

One of my Circle of Sisters suggested that we take a trip up to Ottawa , Canada , the capital.

She had never been to the city and secondly, our favorite hockey team, the New York Rangers , happened to be playing the Ottawa Senators .

Plus you know the other motto of the Sports Diva , ” have a team, will travel.”

The arena is located in the suburb of Kanata, but there are so many hotels in Downtown Ottawa.

My friend chose the Econo Lodge, which is located at 475 Rideau Street .

It’s a cab ride or two buses away from Ottawa airport and a bus ride away from the Ottawa bus terminal on Catherine Street, which I happened to take.

I try to read as many reviews of the hotels that I stay in as I can .

I wasn’t liking what I was reading about this place.

‘It’s in a bad neighborhood ‘

‘There are roaches in the place’

‘Too many homeless people around’

I thought to myself, “Stop it people. This isn’t the Westin or Waldorf Astoria”

When I got to the hotel, I was pleasantly surprised .

There’s no elevators because there are only two floors and you need your key to get to your room and in the place where they serve continental breakfast every mornibg from 6am until 10am.

The hood isn’t that bad, I’ve stayed in worse in my own country .

There were homeless people, but they were mostly near the library, which was four blocks away, and besides, every city has homeless people now, so stop judging .

There but for the grace of God, you could be in a homeless situation so again, stop judging .

The hotel is close to public transportation and even closer to shops, restaurants, the Sparks Street Mall and the big Rideau Centre Mall.

It’s even close by Parliament Hill , which is about a 20 minute walk.

As for the room, what roaches?

The room was clean , bed was comfortable with two big pillows for both my friend and I .

Most importantly in the middle of fall, the heater in the room was working fine.

I also read where people said, ‘front desk staff was very rude and not helpful’.

Really?

Sorry, never experienced that.

The United States customs agents, as usual , were ruder, but that’s nothing new and that’s another blog post for another day.

Would I recommend staying at the Econo Lodge Downtown Ottawa if I come back, with or without my friend ?

Oh you betcha I would.

My friend agreed.

If we come back to Ottawa, God willing, Econo Lodge , we WILL be back!

PICTURES FROM PARLIAMENT HILL

Not only did I do another thing on my bucket list by visiting Parliament Hill, I visited the area of Ottawa around Parliament Hill, which has a lot of government buildings and monuments to Canada’s military. The Canadian War Memorial is very powerful to see as it honors every member of the Canadian military and the conflicts they’ve served in.

This is also the area where a lot of other countries embassies are located.

I was able to get a picture of the United States Embassy .

Let the pictures move you.

They moved me as did the building with the flags from the Canadian provinces and territories .

RIDING ON THAT MIDNIGHT BUS TO OTTAWA

With apologies to the singing group, Gladys Knight and The Pips, no I’m not taking a midnight train to Georgia.

I’m taking a midnight Greyhound bus to Canada’s capital , Ottawa, Ontario, Canada .

Yes, my 30 Plus Teams Tour is taking me up to The True North.

My final destination is Ottawa, but I have to change buses in Montreal .

I’m hoping in Ottawa to cross off two more things from my bucket list.

Whether I do it, not sure, but you’ll know because the Sports Diva is going to share it with you.

I haven’t been to Ottawa in years so I know it has changed a lot.

The last time I was in Ottawa , they didn’t have a professional hockey team.

I am very excited to see this city.

Because this is a 30 Plus Teams Tour and it is Canada , you know that a hockey game is going to break out, and God willing , the Sports Diva is gonna be there repping her team, the New York Rangers who are playing the hometown team, the Senators.

Unlike my trip to Baltimore, there will be no surprises when the bus makes a stop.

It’s hello Albany, Saratoga Springs , and Plattsburgh , New York before we cross over to the Canadian border and we go through Canadian customs , which believe me, I like a lot better than going through United States customs .

(When going through United States customs, I feel like I’m in school, answering 50 million questions. Not so much with Canadian customs. And they’re wicked polite too.)

After this, it’s on to Montreal, then my final destination , Ottawa.

I can’t wait and y’all are coming on the 30 Plus Teams Tour with me.

Jesus, take the wheel and get us to Canada safely .