I'm back from my holidays and boy does it seem as if I've been away a long time. Now for the gruelling task of washing and ironing a mountain of clothes. So where do I begin? Well let's start at the very beginning...Toronto.
To coin a phrase, what an awesome city. This photo was taken from the plane on our way into the airport. Magical isn't it? Depending on which stats you read, it's either the 4th or 5th largest city in North America but I wasn't prepared for how built up it actually is. Sadly we were a year early, there is a massive construction programme being undertaken at the moment ready for the Pan Am Games in 2015. We stayed at the Shangri-La, it should have been the Fairmont Royal York Hotel but given the hubby's aversion to anything old and ornate he changed our booking. Broke my heart every time we walked past the beautiful hotel it did. The Shangri-La is fantastic in it's own right though and the service impeccable as you would expect from a Hong Kong based company. Ipads to open the curtains, a little media box containing the remote control and adaptor plugs. I was impressed!
The building, I'm sure it will be as historic as The Fairmont...one day
And the beds...were indeed as comfy as they looked
Oh and the view from our room of the CN Tower, more about that later. Darn that chimney getting in the way.
Our first full day was spent over on Toronto Island Park which is a short ferry ride from the quayside. Lake Ontario is huge - think ocean scale. I certainly couldn't see land at the other side. As I sat on the man made beach, I kept forgetting that it wasn't 'really' the seaside. The park is a beautiful retreat for locals and visitors. Many took picnics and barbecues with them - we weren't that organised! I felt a little self conscious walking through such a cosmopolitan city in denim cut offs but once on the island it was fine. I wore them with my yellow and white tee-shirt that I've featured before. Here I am with the daughter on the ferry who wore her gorgeous black kaftan from Top Shop (it's the one that I washed and then spent ages untangling the fringe - I think I got away with it). Haven't a clue who the photo bomber is in the background.
The best way to see the island is to hire bikes and given that it was our first day and we all still loved each other we chose a bike for 4 (or 6 or even 7 as one family managed to stick the grandma, kids and dog on theirs).
And I was thrilled to discover a working bell!!
I fell in love with this view looking back at the city
Canoe! I stayed on dry land
We couldn't visit Toronto without dining at the 360 revolving restaurant at the top of the CN Tower so a quick freshen up and then off we went. The tower is over 1,100ft high and for someone who is slightly afraid of heights, my stomach was flipping somersaults on the way up.
But, what an amazing experience. The food was excellent (contrary to some Trip Advisor reviews) and the views outside even better.
I wore a navy and white play suit from last year, white blazer and yellow sandals. It wasn't cold but I knew it would be windy up there so a jacket was needed.
The following day saw us catch the early train to Niagara to visit the Falls. As we left Toronto, it was raining hard so I grabbed a brolly from the hotel and prayed the weather would pick up. All out comfort on the train. It may have been old and cranky but the 2 hour journey was passed in luxury reclining seats with proper foot rests. Honestly, I was almost horizontal!
I needn't have worried about the weather as it was much better by the time we arrived. We made our way to Niagara-on-the-Lake (about 15km from the actual falls) to experience the rapids on a jet boat. Kitted out in industrial strength ponchos, wet shoes and life jacket, we waddled, yes waddled to the boat. Sadly no photos of us as they 'suggested' that we might like to leave behind anything that we wouldn't take in the bath (at this stage I could have cried)!!! But I had a plan, there was no way I was getting wet so everything was tucked in tight. And of course my plan......failed. Imagine someone throwing a trough of water at you over and over and over again. Sodden wet through I was - underwear and all. Oh the irony asking them for my brolly back at the end of the ride.
Here's a photo courtesy of Whirlpool Jet Tours
We then made our way to the Falls themselves. I can't tell you how excited I was - a dream of mine for many years. And they did not disappoint. I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E
So happy to see a rainbow
I wore a pair of white cropped jeans, Mango long sleeved shirt which I bought a while ago but had yet to wear and Converse
This is how happy I was to see Niagra Falls
And of course no visit would have been complete without visiting behind the falls
And so at the end of the day we carted our little weary bodies back to the train and slept all the way home.
We managed to fit in a little shopping over the few days that we spent in Toronto although I bought nothing myself other than some Mac make-up). It also heralded a monumental search for Nike Huraches that the son had set his heart on.
Apparently they are made by Nike for the European market. Just great!! He was heartbroken. Anyway I'll pick up that story on the next leg of the tour.
Back in a couple of days.