Speed skater Isabelle Weidemann welcomes cross-country skier Alex Harvey in Ottawa to show him around her favourite places in town.
Germain Hotels invites you to meet inspiring Canadians who share their passion for hospitality, gastronomy, and the art of living well.
We invite you to meet them and discover their city, not as a guest, but as a member of the family.
Second stop: Ottawa.
Isabelle arrived from Calgary to Ottawa late at night (or early in the morning, if you prefer) since she had a workout the day before. Although the two Olympic athletes know each other by name, they never really met each other.
After the formalities of presentation, the two guests find their first point in common (besides the fact that they are two Olympians!): they adore coffee. I should have counted the number of coffees they drank in the day. It never stopped!
Coffee is what makes them feel at home. They do not hesitate to bring their own when on the road for a competition, because "it tastes like home". That's shows how they take their coffee seriously!
Our first stop is the Happy Goat Cafe, a small local chain that continues to grow and gain popularity. We enter the cafe and the barista recognizes Isabelle immediately: "My girlfriend told me about you! You were best friends when you were young! Now we are watching you on TV! " Isabelle is shocked and really happy to have news from her childhood friend. We obviously took some pictures to commemorate this impromptu meeting."Ottawa is a big city, but a small community," she says aptly, before taking her nth coffee of the day.
Next stop: the ByWard Market. Alex tells me that he never really visited Ottawa, that it's the first time he's been here as a tourist. Isabelle points a restaurant here, a park there, and he looks and listens to everything she says with a lot of attention. During the day, I see him stop reading several commemorative plaques. "I'm a fan of history," he explains.
My highlight of the day? Lunchtime. The whole team is heading to Zak's Cantina for a well-deserved dinner break. I take the opportunity to sit down with our two guests and ask many questions. They were very generous and told us many stories about their experience at the Olympics, about their training and the life of a professional athlete in general. How lucky to have been able to share this moment with them ... around a big tray of tacos!
We continue our day with a long walk in Major's Hill Park, which offers the most impressive views of the city and Gatineau. Isabelle explains that she came here often with her parents to celebrate Canada Day. What a gorgeous place!
Afterwards, it was time for a little jogging! And even when running, the new friends couldn’t stop chatting!
After their jog under the hot sun and the heat of August, Alex told me, joking of course, that he would like to have a good iced coffee. I tell him that we are heading to the Altcetera Café (and bar) at the Alt Hotel Ottawa in a moment to cool off. But Isabelle, who does not miss a good opportunity to reply, asks me if they can do a coffee cocktail. Ah, these two!
Watch the ''One of the Family'' video with Isabelle Weidemann and Alex Harvey in Ottawa.