Trip Start Sep 25, 2008
21Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
I spent the last week and a bit in Toronto. Which is a fantastic city. The downtown is small enough to walk round (which is did a lot) and it has eveything that you might need for a rejuviating stay after a rather hectic tramp round the NE cities of The States.
I stayed at the HI Hostel - which seems to be a bit of a developing theme on this trip, but they are cheap and well located and reliable. Which was great - lots on and a cafe on site.
So I have taken in what Toronto has to offer - up the CN tower and larked about on the glass floor for a while. Fantastic views from the top. Went across to the islands which are made up of beautiful parkands and beaches and just spent an afternoon wandering around there taking photos and admiring the colours of the trees. I have timed this journey up the East Coast and into Canada at the right time. When people say how spectular the trees are when they change colours in the autumn they are spot on - it is amazing.
Also in Toronto is my friend Julie (hey Julie!) who took me along to a Marlies game. They are the farm team for the Toronto ice hockey team The Maple Leafs. It was ridiculous fun. There was violence the encouraging of violence with the souting of "Hit him in the face!" mostly from us but also from the uber-violent 9 year olds behind us who were brilliant fun - dressed head to toe in Marlies colours and screaming like maniacs. The team lost but it went down to penalties and was a cracking night. Julie also got me out to her parents house where they fed me with wonderful food and made me really welcome. Ta to the Freeman clan. xx
Whilst in the area I also went down to Niagara for the day - amazing, spectacular, breathtaking, other superlatives. I did the Journey Behind the Falls - which was good but was little more that a platform at the foot of the Canadian horseshoe and a coupld of holes that peeked out behind the falls. I then wrestled with myself for a good half an hour whether I was going to pick up the courage to go on the Maid of the Mist. I don't like boats or water or the idea of being in a boat anywhere near that volume of falling water but I thought that I should, since I was there and wasn't likely to be back anytime soon.
So I did. And I am so glad that I did. It was probably the most exhilarating thing that I have ever done. They putter you gently down the river until you are pointing towards the middle of the Canadian Horseshoe and then drive you to the middle bit of the horseshoe and gun the engines to keep the boat in place for about ten minutes in the middle of the mist. It is soaking. I have never been so drenched. To paraphrase The Simpsons "The pac-a-macs, they do nothing!" Luckily I was a Girl Guide so I had thought to bring along a change of clothes and, blimey, did I need it! Brilliant stuff though, I would thoroughly recommend it.
So Toronto and its brilliance behind me I headed off out West to Winnipeg on the train. Thirty hours or so, but it wasn't too bad at all. Very spacious - much more comfortable than the bus and I was able to sleep a little. Read a lot, looked out the window at the amazing tree colours and ate a whole tube of Pringles. Treated myself to breakfast in the dining car and had pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. Perfect.
Now in Winnipeg and have been walking around with a new friend Martin who I met looking lost on the way to the hostel and we have been looking for something nice and interesting to say about Winnipeg. I have managed to come up with "It is clean". I am sure that there are many interesting things in Winnipeg and if anyone from Winnipeg would like to tell me what they are I would be very pleased to learn them. In actual fact, it was a little creepy - we walked all over today, which is a Saturday afternoon and there was no-one around. There are 600,000 people living in the area and I think that we saw twelve all day. I am sure that there has been some nuclear disaster no-one has told us abut and the town has been evacuated. But it does have a good second hand book shop where I picked up a handful of Christopher Moore and Doug Coupland books to fill in the big journey up to Churchill tomorrow. Also I had my first double-double (coffee with two cream, two sugars) at a Tim Hortons today and I now feel like a proper Canadian. I am looking forward to some colder weather as Canada so far has been rather warm. I demand snow.
I'm not sure if there is any internet connection up in Churchill so I may disappear for a week - so keep your fingers crossed that I haven't been eaten by a polar bear.