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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Hop Across the Pond - Toronto

We really should finish talking about our last holiday before we go on our next one..  So I'm writing the final instalment as Bruce drives us to Gatwick airport.

This week is a little shorter than the last, but not by much because my work week started on Sunday! I ran a networking and training session in Swansea for people who want to do chemistry outreach. Stayed the night in Swansea (B joined me after his folks went home) and then headed to Aberystwyth on Monday to help train some new SIAS demonstrators. After the evening session, I drove eastwards, stayed in a random b&b (i think I was the only guest!) and found my way to Gregynog on Tuesday morning for the Mid Wales Top of the Bench chemistry competition. I arrived home just before 7pm Tuesday night and was up early to reform the hire car before my Train the Trainer course yesterday. Phew! I'm really in need of this holiday - even if it's only four days away!
But before that, the final step from our  North American trip...


The flight from Montreal to Toronto was lovely - it was early afternoon, a small plane, friendly staff and they gave us drinks and snacks (I had vodka and chocolate, B had beer and crisps). It took us a while to figure out the transport system (their 'weekly' ticket is only valid from Monday) but eventually we found our apartment. After dinner from the burger place over the road, we popped into the Gyu bar for dessert and a cocktail. All the staff yell greetings when you arrive and farewells when you leave - Japanese-style. Was good fun.

Friday morning we headed to the Steam Whistle Brewery - they do great tours but you can't book before the day. We arrived at 10.30am and easily booked onto the first public tour and had a taste of the fare whilst waiting for it to start. The tour was great - possibly helped by the bottle of pilsner everyone got at the start. We learnt about the history of the company, saw the raw ingredients, watched the machines package everything, and I even got to blow the Steam Whistle (wooot). To top it all off, our tour came with free souvenir pint glasses - which made it back to Cardiff intact!
The rest of the day was similarly relaxing - lunch at a different Brewery (recommended by Steam Whistle staff as somewhere with good ales), wandered along the waterfront, explored the Museum of Enuit Art (once we found it.. It isn't the most obvious of museums!) and eventually we headed over to the CN Tower for dinner in the revolving restaurant.

We'd made our dinner reservations well before the holiday and i'm glad we had - our table was right beside the window and the whole evening was incredible. We ate tasty food whilst watching the sun set over Toronto. And then by the time dessert arrived, a storm had too, complete with lightning! Spectacular! We had had such a good day that we didn't mind getting home in the rain!

We spent all of Saturday at Canada's Wonderland - a Fun Park full of roller coasters, rides, sideshows and children. We had a lot of fun. I think we got on every single coaster that was running! AND we had funnel cake (like a cross between a donut and a waffle.. As big as a plate and doused in icing sugar, strawberries and ice cream!) Yum!!  B & my "first date" was to Drayton Manor and we've been to lots of the Fun Parks in Britain...  But this was the first non-British one we've been to together! :-) We might have to try the  Queensland ones sometime. ;-)

We had tickets to the new Cirque du Soleil show on Sunday afternoon, so we wandered through some of the underground city (yes, just like Montreal.. But apparently bigger and less famous...  also mostly shut on Sundays), and then headed to the Distillery District. Although once home to a huge distillery and associated warehouses, the district is now full of trendy bars, restaurants and boutique shops (I bought a beautiful pair of boots). After lunch at the Oyster Bar (but not oysters!), we walked to the Grand Chapiteau for the show.

Kurios is AMAZING! We both really enjoyed it! It's the best Cirque show we've seen so far. Definitely recommend it! Was also really cool to see Cirque in their home country! We were buzzing all the way back to the apartment.

Since we were heading home to Cardiff on Monday and had a long flight ahead of us, we took it easy - packed, left the apartment and went back to the ale Brewery to relax. We sat overlooking the lake and enjoyed a pre-flight flight (the bar offered four mini beers as a "flight".. It was little more than a pint and you got to taste four of their beers).

And so ends our North American tale.

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