Let me tell you: on my travels this summer I met some of the loveliest people! After we had been back for a couple of weeks, Martha from Vancouver asked me if I was planning on visiting Toronto to meet up with some of our Contiki loves. I responded with my ever-vague, “Yes, I plan to eventually, but I haven’t actually started thinking about when.” Her response? “How about August 28?”
Now, if you know me, you know that I am quite impulsive and doing things without much planning is one of my favorite things. So my reply was, without hesitation, “Well. I don’t see why not!” I was already planning on being in Florida for Howard’s birthday the week after so I checked the prices for flights from Louisville to Toronto and then for Toronto to Jacksonville. Can I please just say, CHEAP!? It was! So I booked my tickets and hostel that night, before I actually asked my boss.
You might think that this ends badly, but my boss, Kary is awesome. She has pretty hair, and she’s smart and nice and…. Kary, are you reading this?! Oh, and she makes my birthday cake every year and it is worthy of one of those bake-off shows on TLC. Anyway, she let me off for it. (because she’s awesome) I was so pumped!
The flights to Canada went pretty smoothly and I touched down at Pearson on 8/29. Now, here is some sweet info for any of you planning on visiting this FABULOUS city: standard cabs aren’t allowed to park and wait for fares at the airport, only luxury car services. I didn’t know about the Airport Rocket bus/subway combo that would have cost me less than $10, so I got a car to take me into the city. $60. A mistake I will not make again.
The hostel, HI Toronto, was at such a perfect location. Right in the middle of downtown, it was perfect for wandering around the city and discovering cool stuff. It was also really eclectic and had an open vibe for meeting your fellow travelers. First thing I did? Walked to a Tim Horton’s for a much discussed Ice Cap and a bagel, for Tiana who affectionately terms the eatery: Timmy Ho’s. The Ice Cap was a bit sweet for my taste, but still yummy. My sun-dried tomato bagel was sooooo good. Why wouldn’t it be? It is carbs. I LOVE carbs.
When I got in to my 10 bed dorm room, right around the time that Martha came back from hanging with a friend of hers, we met a couple of super cool German sisters. I can’t remember their names, but the older sister was in Toronto to move into her dorm and the younger was there for support and a bit of travel.
Martha and I headed out to the Yorkdale Shopping Centre for some shower shoes (which I forgot to pack), some dress shopping at Ted Baker, and some delicious chocolate. On the walk back to the hostel from the subway station, Martha introduced me to Shawarma. I don’t even have words to express the way I felt about that sandwich, other than to say that it was one of the first things I went in search of when I came back home. Unnaturally delicious.
Friday, August 30, 2013
We booked a tour to Niagara through the hostel (at a SWEET discount) for the next morning. It was really neat, because it wasn’t just a ride to the falls, though that would have been worth what we paid for the tour alone. It also included a trip to Niagara on the Lake, this precious little town with all kinds of homemade stuff (much like the Historic area in Bardstown, KY), and an ice wine tasting at Dan Aykroyd’s winery.
Niagara was beautiful, and we forewent the ride on the Maid of the Mist to take a walk though a tunnel that actually goes behind the falls and keeps you a LITTLE drier.
I bought some adorable sleep shorts and matching socks to revel in the Canadianess of the trip in Niagara on the lake.
And Ice Wine is the most obnoxiously sweet wine I’ve ever tried. It was supposed to be paired with a dessert that is ‘light’ and ‘not very sweet’ to balance it out, as the wine tasting lady told us… ‘like cheesecake’. Swear. She said it. Is it just me or is cheesecake not light at all… and also quite sweet? I might recommend a nice piece of dark chocolate.
The day song came on my shuffle while we were on the coach and it felt so great to hear it with someone who understood the significance of it… but sad that it was just the two of us there.
We chit chatted with a guy who was also staying in our hostel on the way back to the city, made plans to meet for dinner and went up stairs to attempt to freshen up a bit. When we met for dinner, Michael brought Justin, another Aussie who had just checked in, and we headed off to find something. We settled on Salad King, this awesome Thai place on Yonge St. All of our entrees were just massive and neither Martha nor I even came close to finishing.
We had made plans to meet up with my LOVELY roomie, Emily, so we headed ‘just a few blocks away’ to Einstein’s pub. By just a few blocks, I mean at least 40…. which may be a slight exaggeration.
It was SOOO good to see Emily again too! It just kind of brought up all of the good memories from the trip. We spent a few hours there and even ran into our lovely German roommate. The walk back to the hostel was about 20 minutes, which is always nice, when it’s on Yonge St.
(The guy who I asked to take the above photo was actually so blitzed that he almost blew an aneurysm from concentrating so hard on the camera.)