Joined July 2017 Message
  • Day17

    Halifax - Titanic and Peggy's Cove

    August 9, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    Off the boat again just after 830 for our open top jeep tour with Karl. A man in late fiftied with a great handlebar moustache/beard. The day was gloomy and foogy so we had the jeep roof up, but was still warm so air con on.

    Karl had lived in Halifax all his life, but had travelled a fair bit including to Richmond, Barlkes and Wimbledon in London where he had relatives. We went forst to the Titanic Graves. Passed the site of the 1917 explosing whn a munitions ship in harbour heading to WWI collided with another ship. The explosion brought people from their homes who thought it was foreworks and many were injured and blined by the shrapnel.

    At the graveyard there are about 150 Titanic victims buried. The graves are in three lines ane curved to look like the front of a ship. This was the nearest land to the disaster so bodies were brought ahsore here and the White Star Shipping Line paid for their burial. Each stone had a number on indicating the order the bodies were found in. Ed spotted number 2 on one stone. Karl pointed out some interesting ones. John Dawson who became Jack Dawson in the film after the director visited the site. Some daid unknown and some otehrs said that then ha d a name on the side of the stone. These were where the id had come later from dna testing and the name added to the original. One was a small child who had been finally names a few years ago and had a laminated picture of him on the grave together with various cuddly toys. Karl said he was always finding out more about the people. One day a box with a fiddle in was on a garve and he learnt ot was because the man had been a violinist in the band. Ed and Tash were really innterested in the graves. Ed especially as he had studied the Titanic at school and this all brought it to life.

    From here we headed out of town to some little fishing villages. Karl had brought some blueberries and starwberries as a snack for us - reqlly sweet and some fish pieces to throw over the pier as a fisherman had told him that we should be able to see somelobsters and crabs come out to eat it. It took a few minutes but once the fish bits had settled on the bottom sure enough lobsters came out and grabbd them - they were big ones too! We spenta whiel watching them then drove a little way to a museum dedicated to artifacts from a ship that ahd sunk nearby. Was interesting to see all the mundane items that ahd been recovered. Was great for divers in the area due to all the wrecks. Bought a maop shwoing all the wrecks around Halifax.

    Carried on via some more coves and villages. View wasnt picturesque due to fog which was thick in partts but this did make it all very armospehric. We headed to Peggys Cover, a small village witha lighthouse up on rocks. Very popular palce and we saw some folks from the boat who were on a bus tour there. Karl told us how a couple of people every year were killed as swept off the rocks. Was calm today but still many signs warned to keep off the black (wet) rocks and stay on th whiet. Karl parked and took us away from the crowds down a path to scramble on some rocks. They were all smoothed and domed by glaciation. Literally no on else on thse ones and with the fog it was catually very beatiful and peaceful.

    We then drove a little way to the busier lighthouse area. Karl pointed out a good local craft shop to visit and dropped us at the lighthouse, arrnaging to meet at the bottom of the hil in about 30 minutes. Ed and I had a good climb over the rocks, which again were smoothed but there were many ups and downs. Took pictuires with the lighthosue then went ton the craft shop. Tried to buy lighthosue picture, painted rock and painted sheel but phone system went down so credit card payments didnt work. Same in all the shops apparently. I only had aenough dollars for the painted hsell so we relcuatabtly took just that. Drove on to Rhubabrbs restaurant for lunch. Sam and I had good lobster rolls, Ed had fish burger, all were good. Karl said he often brought people here as ws consistenly good. HE ate with us too whcih was nice. After this we drove back to Halifax and saw one of the Universities (tehre are 5) and went through some fo the historic parts, including seeing some of the grander houses down byt the water. He dropped us on the waterfront and we walked along the boardwalk back to the baot.

    Consensus was this was more interesting for the kids than Charlottetwon ad the main stops at Titanic and Peggys Coiver were more up their street.

    Back on baord we chilled. Tash and I went to see America Test Kitchen doing Asian Potstcikers (Gyoza) and another steamed dumpling. Was half hour demo from lady doing cooking and informative. Went to Lido to eat as it was Gala dinner again and we coudn;t be bothered with that!. Met again for the quiz with the other family, then went to see the Dance show (the singers were in it too). This was good and Ed, despite saying he didnt want to see it thought it was great too. One dance near the end to more street music was superb, with all the daners showiung off some ferocious moves. Heard los of folks commenting on that part on way out.
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  • Day16

    Sydney (not Australia!)

    August 8, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    We arrived at Sydney in Nova Scotia and affter breakfast disembarked and had picture taken with Town Cryer - Tash holding bell. He gave us some small badges tow with Nova Scotia crest and two with Canadad and we learned Nova Scotia was New Scotland, never really thought of that before.
    On the dock side is a big fiddle, maybe 40 feet high. Due to links to folk music of Scotland and Island I guess. We had no plans today so got map from the tourist info place and walked up into town. We followed the mainstreet along past the museum, an old domed building and saw a cafe up a sideatreet so went for coffee and toast. Was cute place with kids play area painted with muppets murals.

    The shop connected next door had some wollen knitted frisbees, which we tested and were very good so got one. Ed also got some computer gamer socks. We went back to the main street and crossed at the raonbow crossing (lots of these around to show tolerance to all) and into the Cape Breton craft centre. Got a magnet and a funny painted print of a goat called Alma apparently.

    Continued walking down to the park where the kids played in the water fountains for a bit and we watched a lady feed ducks on the lake. Very funnya s more and more ducks kept appearing. Walked to the waterfront and followed the boardwalk back to the ship.

    Went up to the Lido deck and spent the afternoon in the sun and the pool. The deck was so warm in the sun it was actually too painful to walk on. Ed took to shuffling on a towel across the warmest parts

    Sam had a spa treatment at 5 so the three of us went into the main dining room at 530. Got a bottle of wine as they aid it could be stored until we went in again on Friday night (avoiding Thursday night gala dinner as we didnt have posh enough clothes apparently!). Food in here is nice but decent gastropub standard I would say.

    We went to the bar and took up spor in corner fro the quiz. Nicole and Tony our Canadian froiends came along with their sones (Brogan and Rogerio I think) and we did the quiz. Good fun with Irish compere, Sam joined us at the tail end. They went off to dinner and we went to the show. Was a magician (Alexander Great) tonoght who did ramge of tricks very well. One where he amde a card appear from a pack drawn on a sheet of paper was very perplexing. Even the swwing the lady in half I stared at the feet but could not see how they chnaged from artifical to real and back again.
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  • Day15

    Charlottetown and Green Gables

    August 7, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    We were a little behind schedule arriving on Charlottetown, which gave us a few more minutes for breakfast. We got off just after 9 and met Harry our guide in the cruise termional. He was a great chap, an oyter fisherman by main trade. With a wife who ran the Moo ice cream chain which we had enjoyed in Whistler last year!
    His car was spacious and air conditioned as it was another scorching day. He suggested we head out of town first as roadworks made it slow around Charlottetown at momnt. We headed north through the island and Harry gaeve us lots of info on what we saw. He was really passionate and interested in the area and seemd to know or be related to almost everyone we saw or drove by, which gave loads of great colour to the trip. He showed us freshwater mussel farms (lots of fresh water on PEI as comes up from auifers) and slat water oyster farms. Mussles farms were being converted to oyter in many places as more lucrative. Lobster fishing happens on the North Shore through JUen July then stops to llos them to breed. Starts again on South Shore in September then stops again. So North Shore fishermen only have a 2 month season for lobster.
    Whole area was very environemental conscious, repecting the resources. They ahd formed the first coop in Canada and first bank also. First stop was at a hotel which had been in the Green Gables film. Had been a grand 32 bd house built by an oil baron, but when he died it was taken over by Canadian Parks in lieiu of taxes.Stooped at a bbeach next to a lighthouse (wooden but red and white, no longer used). We wlaked onto the beach, very fine sand, the whole island is a giant sandbar, no real bedrock other than a mall amount that had been quarried years ago and used to build the oldest red bricked buildings on the island. . The sea was very warm due to gulf stream, in the 70’s. Like all the beaches we saw was lovely. Stopped at an art gallery cooperative and got picture of lighthouse.
    Then went to see oldest building on PEI which had belonged to ancestors of Harry’s wife. They had come across from France in 1700’s. Next door was the old bank, the first one and next to that the oldest catholic church in Canada where Harry was married! Went around the villages of Rustico where Harry lived. Went down onto a newly built area for the view. Passed chapo on laewnmower tractor who didn’t acknowledge Harrys wave. Turned out he had moved up from Texas and was quite miserable and not beldning in with island life. We could tell from his manner!
    Went from here to Green Gables to try and beat the buses from our ship which we did just. Was busy, had to queue to get into the house, Sam was v excited, rest of us less so. Was hosue where author of Anne of Green Gables had lived and based the stories here. Lovers Lane and the Haunted Woods from the books were nearby. Had drink and crisps, Sam got model of the hosue then back to the car, stopped here about an hour altogether.
    Went from here to see the red sandstone cliffs with cormorant nests. Red was die to high iron content making rust. Parked at a aheadland where we could look either way and see the cliffs further in than we were, very impressive. Harry said in winter ice floes from Arctic floated down here with selas living on them whwre the seals stayed to breed. As weather warmed they would float out then back again for f ew weeks until it got warm enoygh for them to hit the gulf stream then they were carried away and melted.
    Saw Harrys hosue, a grand colonial style place. Stopped off at the oyster place he runs, showed us the cages they farm them inm had chat with one of the fishermen, who was seeding the cages. Takes three eyars for oyster to grow to saleable weight. Three grades cocktail, small and alrge. Saw lobster pots, new ones were rectangles as easier to stack. Old ones were the rounded tops, better instorms and less likely to smash. New ones were for younger fishermen, older ones had the rounded. Harry suggested the younger guys would learn and convert eventually.
    We headed back to Charlottetwon , saw PEI Uni, specialising in medcien and vets. Saw the old district where the shipbuilders ahd lived then the palce where Canada was formed where the heads of each region in mid 1700s had come to sign the constirution.Also saw guns built by French to repel English, never fired once French saw size of English fleet arriving.
    Dropped near Victoria Street with lots of restaurants. Said goodbye to Harry, a really great guide. Had lunch, fish/lobster all round then went to Cool as a Moose, then Cows Ice Cream. Ed got great T Shirt parody of Fortnite – Farmnite, Cattle Royale!
    Walked back to ship and back on board about 3pm. Had rest in room then Tash had treatment 515 so we played some draughts and table tennis then met her for the quiz with nice couple from Canada who were very jolly! Then went for quick buffet dinner before heading to the theatre for a BBC PLnet Earth film set to live music from the band. Good entertainment then to be exhausted!
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  • Day13

    Quebec City

    August 5, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    We all had good nights sleep beds were comfy, though noise of us docking woke Sam and I at about6. We went for the buffet breakfast which again was goo with lots of choice, including omelettes freshly made which is Eds breakfast of choice at moment. Coffee was decent too.

    Left the ship about 9am with no plans other than doing a bus tour to see the City. Along the waterfront was the Museum of Civilisation. It had a London exhibition on which Ed fancied so we said we would come back to it this afternoon on way back to boat.

    We walked through the streets of the Old Twon, which was just like being in a French town. Old Montreal was more like Paris, Quebec more like a smaller mediaeval town. Got a magnet and T shirt in shop then went for coffee on way up hill towards bus pick up.

    Service was bit slow but shop had about 20 peopl;e dressed in old French outfits for the mediaeval pageant on later that day. Like Montreal, French first language here and quite odd hearing it. Everyone speaks English secodn though signs are all in Grench as opposed to bilingual signs we had seen further west.

    There was a bus in the square at the top but we had to buy tickets in the info place before baording. This meant we got the next one with room to sit upstairs.Was very hot in sun and bus only had earphone audio no line guide.

    Tour was couple of hours which was biut too long, lots of the newer parts we saw whilst architectuarrly nice needed the live commentary anecdotes to bring them to life. The Battledfields Park or plains of Abrahams was most interesting commentary, telling story of Frecnh v British battles and sieges in the site. Also area where concerts are held, McCartney, Elton John, etc were mentioned.

    We got back to the main square and went to an Italian Ed had seen from the bus. Was good food and not too busy. Then waked down to the Museum from before and went in. The London exhibition was cool, with lots of displays of designers, artists etc from London as well as musicinas and ocial scenes (migrants, punkc, mods etc). Giant aerial photos looking north south east and west were interesting to llok at. Must have been from about 2012 as could see our offices, but just the concrete shell with floor 33 on it. A balck cab and phone boxed featured. A city model had a poor imitation of our office on it. Was interesting to see London being portrayed as cool andthat people in Quebec would be so interested.

    We left with a magnt from the shop and went back to the boat. Sam and Tash had spa treatments, Ed and I explored thr ship, played some table tennis and ate in the buffet. Met the girls and went to the comedy show - Bengt Washburton. From Utah, a mormon with Swedish name. Some funny observational humopuir about toddlers, mormons and all sorts. Ed didnt quite appreciate some of it jokes, rest of us thought it was very funny.
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  • Day12

    Boarding the Cruise Ship

    August 4, 2018 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 25 °C

    We packed up our stuff grabbed coffee from the shop downstairs (too late for croissants), then got the concierge to fetch our bags and sort us out a larger car that would fit everythuing in. The driver was an old French Caribbean guy with a great drawling accent and laid back style of driving! Got us via a couple of wrong turns to the cruise terminal.
    We had to show our boarding passes to gaim access with the cab to the drop oiff area, which meant I had to go into the boot to grab them from a bag, fortunately near the top. Dropped off and a lady helped us staple our luggage tags onto all the bags that were then whicked away to rreappear later in our rooms. I just remembered in time that we would need the passports and we proceeded to check in. No queue and we were through in five minutes, security checks (Sam failed as ever) then we had photo taken and could go straight onto the ship, were on at about 11am.

    We tried to get into the room, which should be possible but the key cards didnt work so were were advised to go up to level 7 and get them configured. We did and joined a short queue of people, which grew longer as we waited. One chap behind us had already queued once and his second set of keys didnt work eaither and when we got to the front it was apparent the problem was ship wide. An announcement was made over the speakers saying there was a problem and while they tried to fix it we should enjoy rest of ship and go up and have some lunch in the buffet, so we did. Food was decent woith pots of different choices.

    We spent the afternoon exploring the ship, playing table tennis. At 4pm (delayed from 3) we had our muster drill practice - was obvious many had no listened to insturctions and gne straight to lifeboats rather than waiting for announcemnets. We wathced the ship sail away an hour late at 5pm and went to our rooms then to the dining room where we were booked in for dinner at 530pm. Shared a tablke with a couple from Utah who were very nice and we chatted with them. Food was decent and we had a nice bottle o Chablis. Finished just before 7pm and went to do the quiz in the bar at 7. Paired up with a couple from Texas annd did OK, about 12 out of 19.

    We then went bck to room and picked up Ed who had not fancied quiz and came nack for a srink and to await the show taster at 930. There was a jewelry raffle that was basically an excuse for a marketing sell of the wares. We didnt win. Went into theatre for the show which was quick half hour of the different entertainsers on board and was good.

    Then headed to bed for Quebec City tomorrow
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  • Day11

    Rapids JetBoat and Pedalo incident

    August 3, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Had booked last night to do the White water Jet Boat at the 9.15am slit. Had seen Michael Portillo do it on his train journeys program and all the reviews on trip advisor were 5 stars, but everyone stressed you got very wet an should go in your swimming costume, so we did put ours on and headed off, via some breakfast from the coffee shop in the lower level of the hotel.
    We got to the Clockhouse Pier which was the one just behind the Labyrinth and Zipline that we had done the day before. Were greeted by the owner Jack, a real character in his 60s at least. Asked us we were from and then sang God |Save the Queen and Long way to Tipperary before saying this ride was more intense than the battle of Britain and the blitz!
    We checked in then sat on benches watching videos of the ride – made the kids a bit nervous! Also showed a video of their sister boat which did the rapids at Niagara which we had looked at when we were there. One for another trip. We were joined by 50 or 60 kids from a summer camp who were doing the ride too. Their camp counsellors were all put at the front of the boat.
    Jack gave a speech about safety and the trip in general which was very funny. Then we got our gear. Replaced shoes with wet suits boots so shoes dodnt get wet. Stripped down to swimming costumes and put on life jackets, then windbreakers capes over the top, which is was stressed were not waterprrof, just to keep off the wind on the drive back. All valuables locked way for us and we loaded up.
    We were on the blue boat, most of the camop were on the green with a few on ours plus all non camp people. We were in the back row, which was supposed to be slightly less wet, so made the kids less nervous.
    We were off, slowly to start with till out of harbour then opened up. We had a guide at the front who was mad and hilarious, Got us all warmed up and ready to go. Sam took glasses off and stired them as the rapids came into sight. Guide retreated to back of baot with loud ahiler and we were off. Two main areas, Hawaii 5-0 which we tended to approach side on with waves coming over the side and the Roller Coaster which we went straight into.
    Our guide shoited out what was happening through his loud hailer and his repated phrase of “You gotta shake it before you bake it” as we hit waves fitted the moment perfectly. He also did renditions of the White Stripes “dum dum de der der dum”.
    We got absolutely soaked. The waves came right over the top of the baot either sideways or from the front. The force knocked you sideways a biot and took your breath away. The water wasn’t cold so wasn’t unpleasant. Before we had left one of the staff had warned us that at the back we would have water in the bot up to our knees but nbot to panic as this was normal. He was right the boat did fill up, and we would have worried without the warning!
    When the waves came over the top we could see them for a second or so before they arrived and as we bobbed sideways you could see the impending imoact coming.
    All too soon our 30 minutes in the Lachine rapids (means the China rapids as early settklers thought they led to China). 15 minute trip back to base, under the contruction work for the new Champagne bridge (4bn cost) where we had to slow down to protect the workers.
    Speeding back dried my hair nicely though with a big quiff. We got off and chatted with the driver abnout NZ jet boats and how this was madder. He said someone from there had gone over to be a Shotover driver and when he said he was from Montreal they were impressed. Also another comioc conversation with Jack who taled about the Queen Mother and the clock being a memorial to Canadian first world war deaths.
    We dried off and headed back to the hotel to drop off towels etc via Ben and Jerrys shop where we had a Jimmy Fallon TV Dough – great flavour.. Everyone thought is was brilliant and we would definitely do it again, sitting nearer the front next time.
    We shilled in hotel for a bit then went back to the harbourfront square. Ed had seen an Italian there and we had a nice lunch of pasta, lasagne and Sam had a pizza with this layer of sliced potatoes on it, really tasty.
    Then headed to the big wheel amnd waited about 10 minutes to get on. The pods were air conditioned thankfully and we got some good views across Montreal. Went around 3 times in our 20 minute ride, stopping a couple of times to let carriages unload, 6 at a time were done.
    Had time for half an hoiur on pedallos before Tash and I had segqay tour. The lake was 3 feet deep so no like jackets needed even though Ed under 12 should have had one. Man just said say he is 12.
    Tash and I went all around the pond which was big – various bridges ahd to hit centre arch or wouldn’t fit through. Ed and Sam covered less ground and we bumped them as we headed back to shore. They disembarked first as Tash and I waited and somehow we saw Sam disappear into the water. She went right under but could stand oin the bottom. First thought was what about the bag with her phone etc, but she had luckily given that to Ed who had already got off. Second thought I said to Tash was can I take a picture – took a few while the attendant and a man sitting on a bench hlped Sam out. We pushed their pedallo back to shore then got off ourselves. Sam was little shook up but we all thought it was very funny. She was wet but didn’t look that odd as the balck dress didn’t show it. Her and Ed went back to the hotel while Tash and I headed tot eh Segway tour.
    We did it with another family from Canada, mum dad and 12 year old son. The dad was a bit chaky oin it. Tsh with her hoverboard was excellent and I soon got back into it with the Centre Parcs experience. We did the ususal getting on and off, turning then navigating some poles then sudden stops and finally over a speed bump, which we later understood was because there was one on the route.
    Once all had some onfidecne were off through the crowds on tour of the old docks. Our guide gave us info on each area sas we stopped 6 or 7 times on the hour tour (was more like hiour and 15 minutes). At one point we went up a small grassy hill one by one at the clock tower and the other dad fell off. It was tricky maintaining speed as you went up to b fair. Going down much easier.
    The tour was good though as Tash sadi all you really want ti do is race around in the Segway.
    We started at 4 and ddint finish untl 545 so decent time. Went back to hotel to get ready for dinner in Portus 360, revolving Portugese restauatnt in an office block 500m away from our hotel.
    The food was good. We ignored the menu and the waiter showed us the fresh produce they had that day which we all sahred. Snow crab claws first then giant shrimp and lobster (the lobster moved as Ed said while we were being shown it). Then a whole fish expertly deboned and finally a huge T bine steak that was full of flaovour. Food wasn’t cheap but was excellent with great Portugese wine too. Restaiurant revolved m,ores lowly than others we have ben in taking about 2 hours to get arund and we were there for just over 1 circuit. No desserts as full of food.
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  • Day10

    Montreal Old Port

    August 2, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Breakfast in hotel, usual buffet. Quite freaky that yiou think yoiumare in Paris somewhere until you see the cars and Canadian flags (which Tash ahs established tehre are always at least two in your field of visison!).

    Tqsh and I got car back from valet and navigated sucessfully to the Esso garage and then on to the Avis. Most Montreal streets are one way so it is easier tog et around. Smooth check out from Avis, remains to be seen what charge we get for the toll road in Toronto. Took an Uber back to the hotel and met with the others who had been quizzing the concierge on what to do.

    The recommendation was to head to the Old Port, with lots of fun things to do for kids. Was about 15 minute walk and we had been given vouchers for discounted Zipline ride. It didn't open until 11, so mwe wanited in queuue for few minytes. Tash had sore eye so didnt want to do it. Ed and I went ahead. Got camera holder for my hand to video using my phone, but then didnt turn it on properly! It was decently fast ride acorss water of old port. I bumped my bottom on steps at start as man pushed me offf and spun round as was going down so my feet hit the branches of a small tree on way into landing zone. Ed enjoyed it too. At end they did green screen shot with Zipe wite name and tower in background which we got.

    Next up was Labyrinth, an indoor maze where you had to fidn 4 objects and get your card stampeld. Average time to cpokplete was 4t5 minuest to an hour. It was fin though sometimes frustrating. Ed wanted to give up and cheat a few tomes but we persevered. Some interesting parts including a jail section where some of the bard were elastic so you coudl squeeze through. We completed in 1 hour and 1 minute so pretty average. Was good fun. Had slushy from cafe after then ehaded fro some food.

    There was a Poutien (chips and gravy) festiveal going on, with various trucks selling different combos. We had popcorn chicken tough not Sam as cheese was incolved in most of them. Then Tash wanted to do the Sipline, Ed didnt so I did it again. Same story as last time though didnt hit the tree! Tash had a delay as just before launch the chap had to retuck her haor to stop it getting caught.

    There was a Dreamwoks animation exhibition in the Science Centre so we walked acorss to that. Was interesting and some good interactive bits. Made some odd looking king fu pandas and Madagascar creatures. Saw film on big curved screen from How to Train your dragon.

    Strangely no merch shop - missing a trick there. Went to cafe; Had Orange Sorbet diet coke, not sure will have it again, wasnt great. Ed had fanta and somehow managed to drop half the bottle over himslef and the floor, to everyones amusement apaart from him!

    Tash wanted to hire a quadricycle (four person bike like the ones they often have at UK seaside), so we did half houir, French family in front of us took forever to sort themselves out - service wasnt the quikest mind. Tash steered (steering wheel) with me also up front and Ed and Tash sat in second row. Evertone had pedals and no brakes to stop you pedalled backwards.

    Tash wasnt the most confident steerer, guess we should have known based on her rowing tales. We looped round the port a couple of times and Ed had a go at steering in a quieter area. Was good fun and not as hard on the thighs as I had imagined. Half an hour was long enough though I think. Was nearly 5 and we were tired after packed day so headed abck to hotel. KIds had room service as they didnt want to go out, Sam and I headed round corner to five guys!

    Booked jet bot on St Lawrence river for tomorrow morning.
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  • Day9

    Ottawa Amphibus then Montreal

    August 1, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    got packed and out about 930 and went across to the MArket again to haev breakfast. Cafe doing bagels, with Ed having pesto pasta salad! Got my magnet in small shop in market, then we headed towards parliament to take a look and find a bus tour to show us the main sites. Crossed the Rideau canal whch had an impressive series of 5 or 6 locks leading down to the Ottwaw river.

    Opted for the Amphibus, essentially like the London Duck tour, lasting about an hour. Left in 40 minutes or so so we had chance to wander around parliament hill and take some pictires. Three main buildings, centre one had big clock that chimed 11 then played the Canadain national anthem, then carried on for more tunes!

    Back to bus stop and got on, Was covered over, kids thought it was maybe going underwater! Commentary was live but done in English then French which made it a bit stilted compared to one language and but rushed as everythng needed to be pointed out twice very quickly.

    Saw lots of Governement buildings, Bank oif Vanada, Research cntre, cours of justice. Crossed bridge into Quebec, place called Gatineau and entered water. Smooth transition and we saw back of Natural History museum that was designed with all curves and no right angles as monsteres hide in right anglkes according to ancient native beliefs. Did a loop on Ottawa river.

    Saw many Embassies and High Commissions (220 or so in Ottawa in total), HC is rmbassy of commonwealth country. Got off an had lunch in McD then kids both wanted to go back shopping so spent another couple of hours in the centre before picking up car and heading 2 hours to Montreal. Left about 4 and arrived about 6pm.

    Found hotel quite easily, though lots of roiadwaorks being done around Montreal. Checked in - valet parked and left luggage with concierge to bring up. Concierge recommended and booked an Italian caled Quattro about 10 minutes away for us and we headed there.

    Was quite nice though not excellent, but busy as old town was due to Italian entry in the firewrok competiition going off at 10pm, We decided to miss it as were tireed and had seen fireworks in Niagara, so back to hotel. Took some pics of Notre Dame cathedral lit uo at night on way back.
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  • Day8

    Gananoque and Ottawa

    July 31, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Got up and went for breakfast in Woodlawn, included as part of the package. Was decent. Packed all bags again and got them squeezed into the Malibu. We wwere up on second floor and being an old building there was no lift, so it took a few trips.

    Checkout was smooth, but the guy asked very politely, stressing he didnt care one way or the other, whether there was a problem with service last night as we hadn't left a tip. We had actually reviewed the bill last night and thought tip was on there, so we hastily got some cash together to leave for the waitress.

    On the road about 10am, stopped for petrol just up the road. Service was like UK, fill then go in and pay. I had checked with guy at hotel before we left and he said it was because they didnt trust you in BC!

    Smooth ride for about 150km to Gananoque (pronounced Gan An Ok Kway, not Gan An Oak like the dat nav did). Had 130pm 1 hout Thousand Island cruise booked. Had quick bite in the diner then joined queue for the boat.

    Was scorching day and seats on top of boat were hot to sit on. Once boat got going breeze kept things cooler. Had nice trip through very pleasant scenario. Every isalnd however small had some kind of shelter on it and many had big houses with boat huts etc, Summer homes for people as not accessible in froen winter. Some were bery expensive homes, though the biggest were over on the US side of the St Lawrence river and we didnt go there.

    Hour tour was ling enough we thought, We laughed at the gulls hitching a lift on the radio masts of the boat. Got off and giot magnet and t shorts for me and Ed 0 another play on HArry Potter for me.

    Back in car and off to Ottwaw, another hour and half or so. Traffic light until we got right into centre. Couple of wrong turnings but we found the Novotel. No concierge but we did our own luggage trolley. Tash and I parked car in garage around corner. Drove down wrong side of street for little way as we thought it was one way street, intil car came toewards us. Was OK as looked like we were coming from hotel.

    Got map from reception and headed to Byward MArket area to eat. Got in pizzeria with happy hour until 5, so half prcie pizzas. Tasty. Tash wanted to shop in big mall across street from our hotel - she had already looked up it had a Brandy MElville- the shop with only one size.

    Ed and Sam were tired so went back to hotel. Tash tried on lots in Brandy while I hung around outside changing rooms!. Also visited couple of other shops and went to EB games hop and got basebalk game for Ed.

    Back to room and another good nights sleep.
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  • Day7


    July 30, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Breakfast from Starbucks while we packed up.
    Ghunness world records - lots of facts but bit underwhelming. Pics of largest navel fluff colection caight my eye. Quite few Brist with crazy reoords, makes you feel proud!! Ed had go on old Super MArio game, I r=tried to do Rubiks cube, record 2 seconds. Ed did cup stacking, again record for 12 cups was less than 2 seconds. Had go on punchbag, Tash beat Ed - he cl;aimed was scared of hurting hand. Ed also kicked an American football on similar style game 0 hurt his foot!
    Got car, drove to Woodlawn Inn Cobourg. Quite traditional colonial style place. Walked to town had lunch then walked to hsops, all bought shoes! Ed saw trainers exactly like his in sale. Ladoes got Norkenstocks
    Went to beach, nice sandy, quite busy for MOnday. Sat on bnnch, chatted to old chap who wanted to move back to Ottwaw, better facilities, Gave Tash some friendly advice 0 take a walk if upset, smile. Quite sads seemed hus kids never f=really kept in touch. He went off and we headed back to Inn. Teenager on route passed us and said he lobed our accents.

    Had dinner booked, used Whirlpool bath in our room before this. Food was noce, bit slow coming but gave us chnace to feel hungry. Seemed like bill had gratuity added so we didnt put any on, more on this tomorrow. When we forst came down waitress was little dismissive, but Sam had notived the owner go to her and tell her to treat us as guests in better way and stop what she was doiung to serve is!

    Cobourg nice place and Woodlawn too,
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