Canada
Yorkville

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25 travelers at this place

  • Day2

    Tired in Toronto

    March 3 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 1 °C

    In some respects planning and executing a complex overseas trip is like assembling a clock - in spite of how much effort you put into the preparation, you never actually know if it will turn out OK until you actually start the process. A successful trip involves a vast number of inter related events all correctly occurring just the way you planned them.

    There are many things that throw your plans into chaos - a traffic jam on the freeway, a cancelled or delayed flight, a booking mistake by a hotel, a transfer that did not turn up as planned and (perhaps the most dreaded of all) the prospect of your luggage going missing in transit. In fact, when you consider all the things that can possibly go wrong, you might wonder why I keep travelling. The answer to that one is simple. The world is such an amazing place that once you start discovering one part of it, you just can't stop. It really can become an addiction.

    My long journey to Cuba began when my alarm went off at 4 am in the morning on the 2nd of March. It was dark and drizzly outside but the exciting prospect of more adventures about to begin was enough to wake me quickly. After a hurried breakfast and a final quick check of my luggage - yes my passport and Cuban visa were both there, it was time to face the first challenge.

    The prospect of driving the Monash Freeway at 6 am in the morning is indeed enough to make enough the valiant hearted weak at the knees. After ten minutes we found ourselves stuck in the first of many traffic jams. I could not help but feel pity for the poor devils who face this nightmare every morning of their lives. I don't care what salary you were paid, it could not possibly be enough to warrant this daily torment.

    Fortunately the jams did eventually clear and we arrived at the airport with time to spare. I queued in the Air Canada check in line while the two staff slowly worked their way through each person's paperwork. They could possibly have worked slower, but I am not sure how. The line moved forward at a glacial pace until I finally was relieved of my big luggage.

    The passage through security and immigration was actually fast when compared to the check in process. That gave me time for a coffee and a croissant. My wallet was lighter by about $15 already.

    I was not the only one of our group leaving that morning. There were also five other who were making their way to Cuba via Mexico. Since their plane was due to leave about an hour earlier than mine, I went in search of them. I arrived at their departure gate just in time to hear an announcement come over the PA that their flight would be delayed. Perhaps I would get to leave first after all ?

    I returned back to the Air Canada departure gate and waited for boarding, relieved to find that my flight would be taking off on schedule. I was not so relieved when I entered the plane and found the seat that I was going to be entombed in for the next 16 hours. I had paid extra for an "exit row", hoping for some additional leg room, not realising that the extra leg room came at the expense of seat width. It must have been the narrowest seat I have ever had on a long haul flight, but at least I could prop my legs up in the air on a bulging part of the exit door.

    The next 16 hours were not the highlight of my life. The Air Canada food was terrible and the squashed space meant that equal quantities of the main course made it into my mouth and onto the front of my shirt. The plastic fork bent every time you tried to pick anything up and the bread roll was like old rubber. It made the food on Emirates seem like like a gourmet delight by comparison.

    I tried to watch a couple of movies, but discovered that my screen was only half the size of every one else's. I suppose it was to match the width of my seat. There was only one thing left to do, and that was sleep. Somehow I managed to grab several slumber sessions, but each time I awoke I was disappointed to find that I had only been asleep for about 30 minutes or so. I envy those who can just shut their eyes and sleep all the way till touchdown. It is a skill I still have not mastered.

    I won't go into any more details about the longest 16 hours of my life, but we did eventually land in Vancouver. Thanks to the mystery of the international date line, the flight actually landed earlier than it took off from Melbourne !

    My first sight of Vancouver was not an encouraging one. It was foggy and raining. The temperature was about 5 C. Actually I could not have cared less about the cold. In fact I loved it. After the long hours spent in the over heated plane, it was delightful to breathe fresh cool air again.

    I had a scheduled 2 hour stop in Vancouver, before catching the next flight to Toronto. Thanks to a passenger not turning up for the flight, the departure was delayed while their luggage had to be retrieved from the baggage hold. At least the next flight was less than four hours. That was a real short hop compared to the behemoth I had just endured.

    We landed with a big bump on a snowy runway in Toronto about 45 minutes late. The clock and calendar tried to tell me that it was still the same day that I had left Melbourne, but my body and brain knew better - that was actually eons ago.

    I staggered from the plane and went off in search of the baggage carousel. For convenience they were situated about 2 km from the arrival gate. Awaiting for your own familiar luggage to appear is always a rather stressful time, especially if you see just about everyone else departing with their bags while you are still waiting. It is one of those events that you have no control over - a bit like winning the lottery, but in a (very) bad way.

    To my relief my bag did make a triumphant appearance and I went in search of the taxi that I had pre ordered back in Australia. I had not been waiting long when I received a SMS from the driver telling me that he was waiting for me. A short time later I was sitting in the back of a comfortable car, heading for downtown Toronto. The driver introduced himself as "Alex" and told me that he had originally come from Pakistan as a child, but had lived in Toronto for most of his life. Within minutes we discovered a common love of cricket and we spent the rest of the drive talking about players past and present. He seemed to know as much about all the Australian players as I did. I was even more surprised when he told me that he played Dodgeball and I was able to tell him that my youngest son had played on the Australian Dodgeball team.

    It was fascinating to see the high snow drifts on the sides of the road. This is my first time in Canada and I had been hoping that winter would not end before I arrived. I really wanted to see snow and now I had.

    The drive was only 26 km but it seemed much longer than that. It was around 7.30 pm when we finally arrived at my apartment. I had been planning to find something to eat, but all I could really think off was getting into a bed. So that's exactly what I did.

    In spite of all the things that could have gone wrong, nothing had. My clock was working.
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  • Day10

    Sightseeing in Toronto

    July 2, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

    Another 20.000 steps (around 16 km) walking through a city. This time we explored Downtown Toronto. First we carried our backpacks 2 km to our Hotel. It’s located on Avenue Road in Yorkville. After dropping our luggage we started to head into town for some breakfast/lunch. After a nice coffee and a delicious burrito bowl, we walked to Nathan Phillips Square and toward the Hockey Hall of Fame. We went in and the museum took us through the history of legends and the most famous hockey players in the world. It was filled with trophies, golden goals and outrageous players of the NHL. We even spotted quite many German players 🤩. After that we took a walk to the waterfront of Toronto, being a little disappointed by all the “grey” around us. At the end we fell into our bed being absolutely tired from this exciting day and also looking forward to an early adventure tomorrow. ❤️

    Weitere 20.000 Schritte, ca. 16 km, Wanderungen durch eine Stadt. Zunächst machten er uns von der St. Claire Street mit unseren Rucksäcken auf den Rücken Richtung Hotel in Yorkville auf. Rund 2 km marsch mit nicht ganz leichtem Gepäck. Endlich die schweren Dinger los, machten wir uns auf unserem Weg Richtung Stadtzentrum um etwas zu frühstücken beziehungsweise eher zu Mittag zu essen. Nach einem köstlichen Burrito liefen wir zum Nathan Phillips Square und dann endlich zur Hockey Hall Of Fame. Dort fanden wir so viele unglaubliche Berichterstattungen über Legenden, Vitrinen mit der Ausrüstung besonderer Spieler und Ausstellungen über die Historie der NHL und der Vereine. Unter all diesen berühmten Persönlichkeiten fielen uns sogar einige deutsche Spieler ins Auge 🤩. Nach der Hockey Hall of Fame liefen wir noch weiter südlich zum Ufer des angrenzenden Lake Ontario. Etwas enttäuscht stellten wir fest, dass die Umgebung sehr grau und nicht schön ist. Am Ende dieses ereignisreichen Tages fielen wir nur noch absolut müde in unsere Betten; wissend, dass morgen Früh schon das nächste Abenteuer auf uns wartet ❤️.
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  • Day8

    Off to Toronto

    June 30, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    We took the Greyhound from Ottawa to Toronto, took us 4,5 hours. The ride was ok, unfortunately we had no WiFi 😨 but still we arrived in Toronto late afternoon. As soon as we checked in our bags at the college backpackers hostel we met friends/family for dinner. We had a lovely evening with great food and even better people. We got so lucky because our friend Pat offered us to stay at her place for tomorrow night, so we could get out of the shitty hostel - so nice! We gladly accepted! The perfect start of our Toronto experience.

    Heute ging es für uns mit den Greyhound von Ottawa nach Toronto. Eine recht angenehme viereinhalb Stündige fahrt die uns sicher nach Toronto brachte. Dort angekommen checkten wir ins - nicht wirklich schöne oder nette - College Backpackers Hostel ein, ehe wir Freunde / Familie zum Abendessen trafen. Wir hatten einen wundervollen ersten Abend in Toronto mit tollem essen und netten Leuten. Dank unserer Freundin Pat können wir die morgige Nacht bei ihr verbringen und müssen nicht noch eine Nacht in dem unschönen Hostel verbringen. Ich bin wirklich nicht wählerisch, aber die Unterkunft ist echt nicht akzeptabel für das Geld. Trotz des schäbigen hostels also ein guter Start.
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  • Day4

    A Striking Day in Toronto

    March 5 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 2 °C

    Since this was to be my last full day in Toronto, I really wanted to do something a little more ambitious. Whenever I find myself in a city that I have not visited before the first thing I like to do is walk. I don't usually have any set destination as it is the journey that I am interested in, not the end point. Today was my chance to really wander and see what makes Toronto tick.

    Of course in order to be able to walk the streets, there was one important requirement I needed - fine weather. You can imagine my smile when I looked out of the apartment window at 6 am and saw that it was going to be a great day. In fact it already had the makings of the best day so far.

    At about 8.30 am I set off. Although the sky was clear the temperature was bracing - hovering around 0 C. I was so glad that I had packed gloves and a beanie. I don't mind the cold air, but frozen ears and fingers are not much fun.

    My only vague plan was to roughly set out in the direction of the rising sun. By watching the shadows on the footpath I knew that I was heading in the right direction. If I kept walking in that way I knew that it would take me through the centre of the city and eventually to the waterfront of Lake Ontario.

    The first couple of km were familiar territory as I passed the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto. Ahead of me I could catch glimpses of the impressive CN tower. At over 550 metres in height, this building is apparently the tallest free standing concrete building in the world. I was glad that it gave me another place to aim for in my walk.

    About one hour and 4.5 km later I was standing at the foot of the tower. It certainly was a spectacle and I suppose I could have spent some time travelling to its observation deck, but I was more interested in reaching the lake. When I arrived at the shore I discovered that almost everything was still closed for the winter. It was perfect as I had the whole place to myself.

    I found a nice seat in the sunshine and watched the planes taking off from the small airport on Centre Island. Although the sunshine was warm, the air temperature was still low enough to ensure that the piles of snow scattered around were reluctant to melt.

    Eventually I began heading away from the Lake in search of something for lunch. This turned out to be a rather greasy hamburger in a grossly over heated indoor food mall, followed by a very forgettable cup of coffee. I was glad to get back out into the cold again.

    I soon saw a collection of police vehicles and flashing lights. Things started to get interesting. As I walked closer I could see that hundreds of people were marching with placards and angry chants. Most were wearing matching red beanies. Since I had nothing better to do, of course I joined in the march.

    It did not take long to learn that most of the marchers were teachers who were on strike because of budget cuts that had been initiated by the new premier of Ontario Province. Since I was once a teacher in a previous life, I felt like I was in familiar company. They were happy to chat with me and tell me why they were so unhappy. Some things are the same the world over. It was also interesting that the, once popular and charismatic Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, now seems universally disliked.

    My time with the strikers gave me a fascinating alternative insight into life in Toronto. But I was getting tired. After walking around 14 km I was ready to return to my apartment for a rest.

    Tomorrow afternoon I will be catching a flight to Havana to begin the second part of my travels. It has been good to have time to myself but I am looking forward to meeting all the other members of our team and beginning our Cuban Adventure.
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  • Day5

    mission incomplete 2.0

    March 7, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ -6 °C

    neuer Tag, keine neuen Erkenntnisse.
    Wir haben es grad mal so geschafft ein Dokument bei dem Generalkonsulat zu besorgen. Fortsetzung folgt morgen.

    das Highlight heute war unangefochten: der Busfahrer, der die Haltestellen in etwa so angesagt hat: „the Next Station is... a nightmare: elmstreet... the Next Station i use to call Freddy Mercurys favorite Station: Queen Street“
    Als wir eingestiegen sind wollten wir bei ihm ein ticket kaufen, da wir es aber nicht passend hatten sagte er wir können uns wenn wir ausgestiegen sind ein Tagesticket kaufen. Sowas wäre uns in Deutschland niemals passiert. An dieser Stelle grüße an die kvb und die db.
    Wir haben es auch endlich geschafft unsere erste Postkarte zu versenden 🌚🌚🌚

    aber ein gutes hat es ja: wir kümmern uns auch wieder hier um die Löhne und Gehälter der starbucks Mitarbeiter.

    Es wird wärmer und ich habe heute 2 kg pierogi gekauft und davon glaube ich 1 kg gegessen. Und das ist auch gut so.
    🖖🏼🖖🏼
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  • Day8

    Royal Ontario Museum

    November 20, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Next stop was ROM an 8 minute walk from the Bata Shoe Museum.

    The Royal Ontario Museum is a museum of art, world culture and natural history in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was opened in 1914.

    Like most museums I have visited in the western world it had a large collection of dinosaur skeleton which i no longer find as fascinating as before, however its huge collection of clothing and dressing styles from around the world and how homes were built and organised in the western world from the 1700s till date was quite interesting along with the history and artifacts of the first people (the indigenous tribes of Canada).Read more

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Yorkville

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