Hockey Hall of FameMarch 15, 2017 in Canada ⋅
Lots of stuff from the past and present, incl. the real Stanley Cup
Lots of stuff from the past and present, incl. the real Stanley Cup
For a change a bit of ballin' at Air Canada Centre - unfortunately the Toronto Raptors lost against the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-123
Wohnung aufräumen und putzen, restliche Reiseausrüstung besorgen und unsere Rücksäcke packen; das waren in etwa unsere Hauptbeschäftigungen während der letzten Tage vor unserer Abreise. Zwischendurch mal etwas essen und trinken und ein bisschen schlafen, für viel mehr reichte die Zeit aber nicht. Umso erleichterter waren wir dann, als wir am Freitag Vormittag endlich im Zug Richtung Zürich Flughafen sassen.
Nach rund 10 Stunden im Flugzeug mit Umsteigen in Kevlavík kamen wir am Freitagabend wohlauf aber ziemlich müde in Toronto an. Bequem erreichten wir vom Flughafen aus mit der Bahn das Stadtzentrum und mussten dort quasi nur noch zwei Mal stolpern, bis wir bei unserer Unterkunft angekommen sind. Für die nächsten paar Nächte wohnen wir im 49. Stockwerk eines Wolkenkratzers. Der Blick aus unserem Zimmer ist schlicht atemberaubend, sowohl bei Tag als auch bei Nacht.
Heute haben wir uns bereits ein bisschen mit Toronto vertraut gemacht und wir freuen uns sehr, diese Stadt in den nächsten Tagen genauer zu erkunden.
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Als ich dich vor 14 Jahren das erste Mal besuchte, konnte ich nichts mit Grossstädten anfangen. Folglich betrachtete ich dich von Anfang an mit einer gewissen Abneigung und es war dir daher kaum möglich, mein Herz zu gewinnen. Ich tat dir völlig unrecht.
Mit dem Wissen, dass sich meine Einstellung gegenüber Städten in der Zwischenzeit grundlegend geändert hat, habe ich mich die letzten Wochen sehr darauf gefreut, dir eine zweite Chance geben zu können. Anne-Claire und ich haben nun fast eine Woche in deinem pulsierenden Herzen verbracht und haben uns beide ein bisschen in dich verliebt. Es fällt uns schwer, dich morgen wieder zu verlassen, auch wenn wir uns sehr auf unser nächstes Ziel freuen.
Von der belebten Yonge Street über gemütliche Quartiere mit einladenden Restaurants bis hin zu ruhigen Stadtparks hast du uns alles geboten. Offen und tolerant wie du bist sind wir auf viele kulturelle Veranstaltungen aller Art gestossen, und auch Sportbegeisterte kommen bei dir voll auf ihre Kosten. Hoch oben auf dem CN Tower haben wir einen wunderbaren Ausblick auf deine Millionen von Lichtern genossen und auf den Toronto Islands in aller Ruhe die vielen Eindrücke in uns verarbeitet. Du hast mir zudem bewiesen, dass Kanada nicht nur Filterkaffee à la Tim Hortons kennt sondern auch einen ordentlichen Espresso hinbekommt. :-)
Natürlich hast du auch deine Ecken und Kanten, deine stinkenden und dunklen Orte. Aber wirklich unwohl haben wir uns in den vergangenen Tagen nie gefühlt. Das einzige, was wir ein bisschen bereuen, ist der Ausflug zu den Niagarafällen, was sich halt so anbietet, wenn man schon mal in der Nähe ist. Und so imposant und im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes berauschend diese gigantischen Fälle auch sind; der ganze Tourismus und die an Las Vegas anmutende Stadt Niagara Falls verderben die ganze Magie.
Morgen müssen wir dich wie gesagt vorerst verlassen. Es zieht uns gen Norden in den Algonquin Provincial Park, wo wir 10 Tage mit Wandern und Kanufahren verbringen werden. Nach diesem Abenteuer werden wir noch einmal kurz bei dir vorbeischauen, um uns auf die weitere Reise vorzubereiten. Wir freuen uns schon jetzt auf diesen kurzen Besuch, es wird sich bestimmt ein bisschen so anfühlen wie nach Hause zu kommen.
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The most important thing when arriving in America from Europe: staying awake 😁
The beautiful weather really made it easy for us to do so.. so we quickly checked in at our Hotel, Westin Toronto Harbour Castle, took a shower and went directly to the Harbour Front located directly at the hotel 😎
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Palenque, Aqua Azul were all part of our mini journey through Chiapas.
We took an overnight bus from Oaxaca to San Cristóbal de las Casas where we spent the day wandering the cobblestone streets. We experienced the more bohemian, hippy side all the way to full on local market complete with vendors selling chickens where we were the only non-Mexicans.
The high-altitude colonial city in the heart of indigenous Chiapas is an interesting mix of modern and Maya, with cosmopolitan cafes and traditional culture. For those not familiar with the struggles of the indigenous and their David vs. Goliath battles with the Mexican army, read up on the Zapatistas and their leader, Marcos. They managed to fight off the army and retain much of their independence. Zapatistas are much revered in the state of Chiapas.
Unfortunately we had but a day for San Cristobal De Las and it was time to get to the nearest airport, Tuxtla Gutierrez - normally about an hour and 15 minutes away - for our flight to Palenque. We had left our backpacks at the bus station when we arrived from our overnight bus trip from Oaxaca, easier and lighter to walk around the city. We walked back to the station to pick them up and then started looking for a taxi because there was no bus at that time that went to Tuxtla Gutierrez airport. They first driver wanted too much (we had asked around to know the normal price), the second didn't want to do the long drive but on the third did try we hit paydirt.... or so we thought.
He first stopped to pick up his wife and drop her off somewhere, it was quick so not a huge deal and it's not that uncommon in Mexico so we rolled with it. Then he said he had some sort of meeting to go to but it would be quick. At that point we said if he couldn't take us right now, that's fine but we'll get out and take another taxi because we had a flight to catch and there was no time. He said ok fine we'll go now. He then proceeded to drive like a fucking maniac, passing every thing in site and hitting 130 sometimes on the curvy one lane highway. We got to the airport in under an hour. I think he was getting his revenge. Gi was terrified and even I, who doesn't mind a little speed, was slightly unnerved.
It was a quick 25 minute flight on a Braer ERJ145 jet into the jungle of Palenque. Gi had booked a small hotel in the jungly, hotel zone area of the city of Palenque but since they were doing some construction on the hotel when we got there they put us up at their swanky sister hotel across the street. It was kind of resort-like but had a pool so that was cool.
This was our home base for a couple of days as we visited the amazing waterfalls and natural pools of Agua Azul on the first day and the magical ruins of Palenque the next. Enjoy the pics!Read more
After two wondrous days in Palenque it was time to hit the road for the last part of our journey, the Yucatán. I had chosen Valladolid and Holbox for our final two destinations.
Valladolid is the smaller, lesser known of the main Yucatán cities, Mérida being the larger, more well known and more beautiful. But Valladolid has cenotes my friend, and for those who have never had the experience of seeing and swimming in a cenote, it is truly a breath taking experience. They are underground caves with water, some have a large opening which are very visible from above, whereas others have small hidden entrances that you enter only to have this incredible world open up once you descend a few (or many) steps into the earth. The Yucatán is full of these as there are no rivers, all the water is below ground in cenotes, and underground tunnels and rivers linking them.
And the coolest thing is some of the best cenotes in are a mere bike ride away from Valladolid so we rented bikes from the lovely hostel we were staying at and spent the day biking and swimming in these incredible natural pools... it was a great day.
But the trip to Valladolid was not without its challenges. It was another overnight bus to get to Valladolid from Palenque with a change of bus in Mérida. The Palenque to Mérida stretch was the overnight part and I had placed my daypack in the overhead shelf when I got in the bus with the intention of taking it down after I got settled in but I was so tired I fell asleep before talking the daypack down. Those of you who have taken overnight buses in Mexico or anywhere else for that matter probably probably have an inkling of what's coming next and you're shaking your head thinking, oh oh rookie mistake.
Yep, rookie mistake indeed and one for which I paid. When we arrived at the Valladolid hostel and were asked how we wanted to pay, I said credit card as is my habit (gotta get those points!). I went into my daypack for my nifty little plastic credit card holder and dug around. A slight sense of dread spread through me...i couldn't find it. And then it hit me, my rookie mistake was about to complicate my life and cost me some serious time.
Gi and I had witnessed a commotion on the bus in the middle of the night which we were trying to figure out what it was about. We had both been Gi and I had been woken up by one man, a young, Mexican man seeming to be arguing or yelling at another and even pushed him at some point back into his seat. That other guy, defensive, saying something like, "I was just going to the washroom". We thought it strange and were wondering what all that was about. Now, as the realization that my wallet had been stolen, it all made sense. That guy was a thief who travels on night buses and waits for the passengers to fall asleep and then looks for bags he can steal from. I was angry at him of course but more ashamed and upset at myself for leaving my bag there - a goddamn rookie mistake. Now as some of you know, I can be pretty hard and unforgiving to myself for stupid mistakes but age, meditation and just working on trying to be a better version of me helped me get over the ordeal relatively quickly. Gi and I did end up having a mini quarrel later that day but hey, we are both on a journey and still have a bit of work to do.
Oh yeah, we also went to jail but fear not, we were not incarcerated. Very close to Valladolid, there's a prison in a village called Ebtun. The prisoners make beautiful, high quality hammocks and we biked over to buy a hammock.
See you in Holbox!Read more
On our final tour of Toronto this morning, before going to the airport, we were shown an unusual dog & cat fountain.
See the bone on top of the fountain.
After checking out of my hotel this morning, I got on the metro for the first time to visit Ontario Science Museum. It’s located quite a trek from the Downtown area where I’ve spent most of my time. Getting there involved a train and two busses which ended up taking forever, especially since there was massive construction along most of the bus route.
The museum itself wasn’t too exciting, honestly. The exhibits were dull and not too much to explore. At least there was an Omnimax theater which was quite impressive. I watched a movie about evolution, essentially. It sounds as boring as the museum but it was actually pretty good and it approached Darwinism in a straightforward way.
After choosing a different - and thankfully much faster - route Downtown it was time to check into my final hotel of this trip, InterContinental Toronto Centre. The hotel is connected directly with the Metro Toronto Convention Centre where Fan Expo is held. More on that in my next post...Read more
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