The final curtain...
Canada Travel Blog› entry 10 of 10 › view all entries
Monday 31st July
After an incredibly long bus journey through the night and a rather rigorous interrogation by Canadian customs, I finally arrived in Canada by mid-morning. I arrived in the colourful yet quiet city of Toronto and with my megaton of a rucksack, walked the 25 miles or so to the hostel I had seen on the internet. The hostel had been voted the best in North America in 2003, so hoping it hadn't changed much in 3 years (apart from the linen), I gratefully accepted a room when they finally found a spare bed. Whilst they were doing to morning housekeeping I kept myself busy by looking around the city, which at first glance was very pleasant and notably more metropolitan than most other cities in America. There was also an abundance of restaurants, which is always a pleasing site, and behold, even a few bars! I walked to the harbour, which was very nice and sunbathed for a while on a surprisingly comfortable grass verge. The setting was stunning apart from the myriad of condo's which had been unrelentlessly built on every inch of available land. Therefore, my chance of peace and quiet was abruptly ended when surrounded by 1,000 homes around me. Indeed, it was like sunbathing on the stage at a Live 8 concert. Nevertheless, I endured the horrified looks for a while and topped up the old tan before returning to the hostel for a quiz in the evening. The quiz itself was a rather intense affair, the prizes being a t-shirts advertising the hostel. Needless to say, I was hoping for the jackpot as I was nearing the end of my trip and I would be damned if I was doing another wash for 10 days! Despite my best efforts, I soon realised that my North American history was shocking and slumped to a dire defeat.
Tuesday 1st August
This morning I randomly had breakfast with another Hatfielder, Mary Wilcox and her sister, who were both over here for an extended holiday. The number of Hatfielders that I have bumped into on this trip in amazing! I went in search of a bookstore as I had a day of leisure in mind. After looking in every shop in Toronto, I decided that I was not meant to read today and instead got the subway to High Park, which had been recommended for its lakes and views. To be honest, the park had a very American feel and the walk to the centre of the park was rather unwelcoming as cars filed past in every direction. The park was rather vast and it was also immensely hot (touching 100 degrees at one point). Such a combination requires regular breaks and a plentiful supply of fluids. I therefore endeavoured not to move much during the day, only from one cafe to another. I stumbled across a game of football (proper football) and enjoyed watching that. After such an exhausting day I returned to the hostel and went out for dinner to a wonderful establishment called Hooters!
Wednesday 2nd August
This morning I enjoyed my free pancakes yet again and left early for the trip to Niagara Falls. I was joined with an Australian chap from my hostel and was got talking to a couple of English girls from another hostel on the coach. One of them was form Newcastle! We all had a good laugh on the way there and stopped by to a wonderful village called Niagara-on-the-Lake. The village was so tastefully and immaculately tendered and I'd be amazed if anything, other than a lick of paint had changed since the 60's. We continued our journey to the Inniskillin vinyard, which was a very pleasant surprise. We sampled a few wines and I even tried an ice wine, which was delicious (FYI - ice wine is created when the grapes are picked at -10 degrees, and the taste it leaves is much more harsh and fruity). We eventually arrived at Niagara Falls, which were very impressive. It is always pleasing to see a famous landmark that meets or exceeds expectations, and I can safely say that this is one of those instances. We went on the Maid of the Mist, which is the boat that takes you perilously close to the falls, thus soaking you through any garment you thought was waterproof. A number of people realised their wallets weren't waterproof were dismayed at the gooey mess that was left in their pockets afetrwards. The rest of the day was spent eating ice cream and anything else unhealthy we could get out hands on. I also took so many photo's of the mighty falls that I must have copies of every fluid ounce of water that passed Niagara between the hours of 2pm and 6pm. In the evening, the falls were lit up which was also very cool. The coach picked us up and we returned to Toronto amidst a horrendous thunder storm.