A Travellerspoint blog

April 2016

Week 12 - Montreal Fieldtrip

We were off to Montreal for our much anticipated fieldtrip! We caught an Uber to work as we each had a suitcase and backpack and couldn’t face the thought of catching two busses and walking with all our bags as we had to be at work for a 7am start.

I was in Van 3 which we deemed the “cool van”. We started the day with a hiss and a roar only to get 10 mins down the road and stop for about half an hour for coffee at Tim Hortons. This continued to be the theme of the week and very different to any NZDF fieldtrip we’ve ever been on before! The baking was well received and not to be outdone Nick went and got us 50 Timbits from Tim Hortons (mini donuts) to share in the van. It took about two hours to get to Montreal and the guys warned us about the crazy Montreal drivers who are world famous in Canada for being mental cases. They were right!!

Our first stop was the St Lambert locks. We learnt about these in class but I didn’t realise that such large boats could fit into the lock. In these pictures you can hopefully make out a large green ship. We went into the control tower and then outside down the pier.

We checked into our hotel, Square Phillips and the afternoon was ours! Exploring downtown Montreal. We had a group lunch at Les Brasseurs where they spoke mostly French. They had a brewery onsite and make beer-cocktails! The food was excellent. Gem and I’s first stop was to hit the underground mall. Heaps of cool shops all held underground for those winter months.

So many levels!

Liked the name of this shop!

The breakfasts at the hotel were really nice and so much selection. Apparently the prime minister was staying there last year while they were on the same field trip, so you get an idea of how nice the place is!

Throughout the week we had more visits. My favourite was the satellite communication station! The guy was really lovely and has these beautiful offices surrounded by satellites. They were huge! I asked if we could climb up one as I saw some stairs and he said yes! Our course staff were impressed as no one had ever asked that before and they had never been up. The floor was mesh and it was freaky.

We climbed this one and this is the view from the top.

Lunch at Saint-Sauveur which was a cute little French town. Wish we could have spent some more time here but we ordered lunch at the slowest serving place in the world (the food was delicious when it did eventually come though)!! The menu was in French so I just pointed to a picture of what looked nice on the menu. I didn’t tip very much as I had to make my own green tea!

Gorgeous churches and clothes shops next to vape shops haha.

We spent the arvo looking around the ‘Old Montreal’ Port and ‘Old Montreal’ streets. Felt like we were in Europe with the sun shining and the cobblestone pavements. Sunny but super windy. Here they have created a ‘beach’ for all the high rise apartments that they have built nearby. There are BBQs and deckchairs but no swimming allowed.

Lots of good food was had throughout the week and it was surprising that I didn’t have to purchase new pants to fit into. My two favourites were the baked brie with mini toasts, pesto and red pepper jelly I had at a bar and the goats cheese crème brulee and green apple salad I had at Beaver Hall restaurant where we went on our last night.

We visited a Steel Mill and looked around the premises. These were the more intricate pieces in the foyer! We had to wear hard hats and steel caps walking around the floor.

We also went to Mirabel Airport, up the control tower and a zooming tour around the perimeter and facilities within. It’s a bit of a sad story, you can read more about it here http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/montreal-s-abandoned-mirabel-airport-too-costly-to-repurpose-1.1967712 Basically they built this huge passenger airport but it never went ahead, and as we were driving up we saw them demolishing the main passenger terminal. They have now transformed the facility into a cargo airport, the whole place felt a bit spooky.
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We got to have a tour of the fire department on site at Mirabel Airport. That was cool and they showed us their brand new truck, costing over a mil, complete with a ‘snozzle’ which is a specially designed piece of apparatus which pierces through the side of the plane and shoots water or foam onto the fire! They gave us a demo and we all oooh and ahhhh’d over it. I even touched the snozzle!

More exploring and takeaways from this gorgeous little Asian restaurant.

We stopped in for a world famous in Montreal ‘Orange Julep’ from the famous orange dome building (I thought it looked more like a Cadbury Jaffa) – I couldn’t stomach one quite that early in the morning but reports in said they were good. Sort of like an orange milkshake/smoothie.

We visited a railyard maintained by the CP Police (special police for rail) – there are only 100 guys to cover all of Canada. The yard was really impressive and this part of the yard was 30 tracks wide! We saw a circular turntable and learnt about some of the equipment. We spent the afternoon at a military base checking out workshops and supply chains and tanks!

Our last night in Montreal, and it was the queens bbirthday so we decided to treat ourselves with a flash dinner. The dinner was superb, and when the boys were outside the waiter came up to Gem and I with a gift of a jar of Creton (meat spread) which we were very thankful for, and he said if we didn’t manage to get through it all we could take it home. We later find out, that he has lumped $10 on the bill for it!!! The cheek!!
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Happy birthday John! John is a volunteer firefighter in his spare time. We made him a famous kiwi ‘chocolate story’ board. He was very touched.

The pack up began as we headed back to Ottawa. Check out the 'lost in translation' version of my new name.

The weekend was a chill and lazy one, but I managed to go on my very first outdoor Ottawa run. Headed down the Rideau Eastern Pathway alongside the river where it was so warm with great scenery! In the distance you can see Parliament Hill and the Peace tower. My first 7km run since being here. Need to get back into it! We caught up for dinner with two army friends who are in town on a different course. All you can eat sushi!! This was one of the many plates that we had. Delish!

Spring is definitely here, haven’t seen so many colours of flowers before!

Fiddleheads? :)

These two displays next to each other are dangerous.

I checked out the Museum of Nature http://nature.ca/en/home which is located in this amazing castle building. The huge glass bit is home to a giant blow up jellyfish thing. Some cool exhibitions and gemstones and stained glass.

I did see some dinosaurs inside.

Spent the evening ironing up my flash gears for ANZAC Day tomorrow down at the War Museum. We are lucky its a 9am ceremony not a dawn parade this year!

Posted by emdaisy 15:44 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 11

The sickness still continued during the week and by Tuesday I was barely coping. Since we aren’t on a base there is a very technical and complicated process for going to medical. You have to go all the way out East to the hospital where they have a special military wing attached! I went into the Warrants Office just to ask about where it was and if I should go in after work…. All of a sudden I’m a full blown emergency and everyone is fighting over who is going to drive me out there! We’re not meant to miss any class so I had to stay till 6pm to catch up on work that I had missed and get my brief ready for the following day.

We headed out to the hospo and the whole process took 4 hours – should have known it would be similar to A&E back home. Didn’t help that I was a foreigner and the receptionist couldn’t understand my accent and had to create a new profile for me in her system! Anyway it was all a bit of an experience and the total drama queen I am, it just turned out to be a cold. They have an in-house pharmacy with pharmaceutical officers working there – I left with a huge bag of drugs with bilingual labels, none of which I had ever heard of before!

The most intriguing was the Nasal Rinse – or “nasal douching” – as I prefer! The lady gave me a warning that I wasn’t going to like it but to stick with it as it does work. Her one piece of advice – don’t breathe from your nose while completing it!!!! Lots of giggles and scary thoughts were exchanged between the two of us, I got it home and of course wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The box was huge and contained 50x sachets for rinsing (yikes)! Anything that comes with an instruction book 32 pages long was fascinating enough. After all the hype, it wasn’t actually that bad and I coped. Yay for being an adult!

Martin from work swapped me a whole bunch of cool Canadian patches, flags and crests! How lucky am I.

More all day tests, all day staring at a computer and slumped over in office chairs slowing damaging our backs. Friday was baking day and this week it was savoury muffins with salami, cheese, onion, pesto, mustard, chives and tomato! They went down a treat.

Friday night was finally time to head out to the ever elusive John from course’s Sugar Shack that he has on his property. He has been telling us what he does at night – instead of studying he goes home to harvest Maple Sap and boil it up into syrup. After work he drove us out to his property in Quebec. He took us on a little tiki tour on the way out, as it took nearly an hour to get there.

We stopped off at IGA which is a little 4-Square type corner store to get some supplies for the BBQ. He pulled into the Great Canadian Bungee in Chelsea as they have just pulled out the crane over the water in preparation for the bungee season which starts soon (winter it is folded back to secure it from the snow). Gave me the heebee jeebees just looking at it - it was high! http://www.bungee.ca/

We stopped at the Wakefield Bridge which is a pedestrian and cyclist bridge rebuilt by volunteers after the previous one was destroyed in a fire.

John's parents house was gorgeous! Courtnay and John live in the basement. I dont blame him as I wouldnt want to move out of here. They have chickens and roosters and two big dogs. This is Garth helping with the dishes! He is allowed up on the leather couches too after hes rolled in mud and snow!! The chickens little hutch has an internal bit so they can shelter in the garage during snow.

John took us on a wee tour and showed us his little barn where they sit and boil up the maple sap to make syrup. He showed us how you drill the trees, attach a bucket and how the sap flows. We got to try sap straight from the tree! Tastes like sugar water. We all didnt realise its actually clear when it comes out of the tree, and the boiling process is what turns it the amber colour. John was super excited to show off his new purchase - his tractor - and gave the girls a wee turn at driving!

The boys did the BBQ and us girls did the salads and made all the appetizers. We ate so many appetizers that we had a very late dinner. Kiwi onion dip came to the party as did Pineapple Lumps. The open fire was burning and we had lots of laughs!

We stayed the night and in the morning Courtnay cooked us a huge feast of bacon, french toast, fried banana and homemade maple syrup. Was delish! We started off on Day 2 of John's tours and went up to the historic Wakefield Mill. http://www.wakefieldmill.com/en/home.aspx A beautiful hotel, restaurant and spa overlooking this!

A bit of shopping in downtown Wakefield (a bilingual town) looking around the gift and souvenir shops, bakeries and petshop! http://wakefieldquebec.com/
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A walk along the old rail line and overlooking the Gatineau River, even found the old turntable for the rail line. These pontoon barges had little houses on and people were living in there as we could see toast crumbs through the window!

The military guys had a photo outside the Wakefield Cenotaph.

We stopped for a snack at 'Jean Burger' the closest thing yet that we have seen to a fish and chip shop.

John and Courtnay dropped us back to the apartment late afternoon. John said that was the first time in about a year he had been back to town in the weekend!!! John refilled my little empty bottle of maple syrup so Ive got some own for the apartment.

Sunday was spent getting ready for our field trip next week to Montreal. Gem & I headed out to Walmart to get supplies and run a few errands. The sun was out and it was 22 degrees! We were passed by a horse and cart down Rideau Street.

The afternoon was spent baking up a storm with some "kiwi" road trip treats. Bring on Van #3!!!


Posted by emdaisy 17:39 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 10 - the halfway point!

We passed the halfway point so it was time to start the countdown apps on my phone. End of course, Contiki and seeing Peach are all very exciting things to look forward to!

Tuesday a snow storm came out of nowhere! Since we work in the basement we have no idea whats going on in the real world. When we pop up out the stairs to this…
Heres the construction site outside work, where they are making a light rail line through town.
It was literally a white out. Sitting on the couch I couldn’t see anything out my apartment window.

Another test down usually calls for a trip for Gem and I to get ice cream. This week was no different, we went to our usual fave – Nestle – but the door was shut. When we looked through the windows, the tables and chairs were gone, ice cream machines ripped out and there was rubbish everywhere. A notice was up in the window saying that they owed $71,000 in rent – yikes! We had just been in here two weeks earlier with Ryan!
We had to make a trip to our second fave - Menzies.

Friday night we were invited to drinks by the new NZ High Commissioner in Ottawa, Daniel Mellsop. The four of us kiwis went along with two army guys who are also in town. We thought it would be a huge thing, but turned out just to be us and his three office staff! The mix of accents were so refreshing to hear, the NZ wine was flowing and the cheese and grape platters were delish. We stayed for a few hours, then Daniel had to leave, but we were having a such a good time we stayed on and partied with the office staff! The offices were amazing, all kiwiana and green themed. Thanks for a great night.

Saturday we got to experience the lovely ‘Érablière du Nouveau Monde’ - a beautiful little family sugar shack in the middle of nowhere in Quebec (literally, it took 2.45 hours to get there!). Look at the lollies in the petrol station enroute. Bulk bin NZ style!

One of the guys from the basement had organised to take us as it is owned by his brother and family. We went up with a group of 10 of us. When we finally arrived we were greeted to this cute little wooden cabin, with blue gingham table cloths and matching pottery dinnersets. The room had a projector and screen and they were playing folk music videos. We were greeted by the lovely family, and our host was called Frank. He was hilarious and took a special liking to me right from the start as I greeted him with a hug which took him by surprise!

We sat at the table and food just arrived. It was awesome, but you never knew when it was going to stop or what would be coming up next. We started with these…
Deep fried pigs ears!!! Apparently a Frenchie delicacy, they were all hoeing into them so I was brave and gave it a go!!! Totally not for me but fun to try it haha. Next came the home grown pickles, grandmas recipe of green tomato ‘ketchup’ (chutney!) and pickled beets. Then we moved onto delicious split pea soup and bread rolls. Then it was time for the main course. Mini sausages in maple water, fluffy egg quiche, spuds, beans.. you name it. Cocktails continued and dessert was a range of things you could choose off a tray, I had a sugar tart and a French meringue cream. If that wasn’t enough, then came out the pancakes with maple syrup, tea and coffee and more drinks. The rest of the group covered EVERYTHING in maple syrup, doesn’t matter if it was sweet or savoury, pigs ears…

The bar was made from tree branches and decorated in fairy lights, so cute. The cutest part was that the 12 year old twins served the food at the table – such well mannered kids.
By this stage we had had enough food to last us all winter and it was time to go, but Frank took us outside and let us have a go at rolling our own taffy on ice. I honestly couldn’t fit one more morsel into my mouth but they wouldn’t take no for an answer, and before you know it I was having a Bridget Jones moment and getting taffy stuck in my hair. Hahahaha only me. Thank you for having us it was awesome!

The evening was spent cleaning and sweating off the food coma, and skyping with Darcy!

Sunday was time to use my voucher that Ryan had got for me earlier in the week for passing all my exams and making it this far unscathed! I walked down to the Iso Spa on Bank Street. http://www.isospa.ca/ is only two months old and is Ottawas only Float spa! They have 4x of these pod like tanks which are filled with Epsom Salts. You float around in the tank, relax, unwind and destress, and block out real life.
The owner was called Mika and he was really lovely. It is all self contained in the room with a shower included. Im a little bit claustrophobic so I was a bit worried but it was totally fine. You can have the lid as open or as closed as you feel comfortable with, same with the lights on or off. The relaxing music lasts for the first 10 mins, and comes on for the last 10 mins to gently wake you up. The lights flick on with 5 minutes to go and failing that the filtering system will wake you up as it cleans the tank after an hour. Of course I slept through everything and woke up to being flushed away down the tank – not quite but for the story we will roll with it – I slept for about 40 minutes, with the lid totally closed, lights off and a pool noodle behind my neck. Pure bliss! Thanks Ryan for my Sunday treats.

Just a normal person walking down Rideau Street...

Posted by emdaisy 14:56 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 9

It was time for our first double date, with my new friend Emma Davis and her partner Dev. They suggested a vegetarian restaurant called the Green Door. Not our usual flavour of things but we were keen to try something new. It was an excellent evening catching up, sharing stories and bonding with someone who I only met through the craziness of a lost parcel! It was cool for Ryan to meet Emma and all the parts of the puzzle fell into place. The food took us both by surprise and we could even be converted. Lots of delicious dishes with veges in every way imaginable. It was a buffet style done by weight. Recommended! http://www.thegreendoor.ca/

Ryan posing with a tree.

Wednesday was James’ birthday and Kristina had given us actual printed invitations inviting us which was all very exciting. We headed down to Tuckers Marketplace in the Byward Market http://tuckers.ca/ a buffet style restaurant. Once again, so much food and a great selection.

Cocktails and a paddle sampler of beers.

Check out the salad bar.

There was even a separate Taco bar for making your own tacos, wraps and burritos and a pasta station for making up every pasta combination you could think of.

The dessert section didn’t disappoint. Sprinkles for days, a chocolate fountain and chocolate mousse!

On Thursday we went to Costco with John from course. He had promised for ages that he would take us and we had been harping on about him forgetting to. It is similar to a Moore Wilsons/Toops bulk type place. He took us in his huge flash truck as you need a special membership card to get in. So many cool food things to awe over, these cakes were beautifully done with buttercream roses all for $20! Lots of samples to try as we were walking around including GF pizza, tzatziki on pitas and green chickpeas.

Friday night called for some exploring down Bank Street and finding this awesome whole foods market. Lovely fresh, and organic foods, premade salads, cheeses, and even organic bath salts. Can’t wait to come back here. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/lansdownepark

We stopped in for an icecream and to introduce Ryan to the wonders of Marble Slab Creamery. He didn’t need much convincing! https://www.marbleslab.ca/

I dragged Ryan through Cats R US, an awesome crazy cat lady shop that my many feline loving friends back home would have enjoyed. http://www.catsrus.com/

We had dinner at a lovely little place called Rosies. More crème brulee and awesome lighting in and out!

Flying Monkey Beer.

Saturday was time to drop Ryan off to the airport. We had a quick stop into Rideau to get a new suitcase as Ryan couldnt fit all my new purchases and gifts into his suitcase... When we got to the airport and weighed it, I think it worked out to be about 12kgs of my stuff!!!!!! Ryan is saving me a lot of money on postage, thank you Ryan!

Here is Ryan with his little packed lunch, club sammies, easter choccies and maple bacon chips, not wanting to go home. Big hugs and (maybe) a few tears at the gate and he was off! Thank you for coming and for an awesome couple of weeks.

Sunday we headed out to the EY centre, Gem, Kristina and Julie from course. We started with breakfast at Cora’s, a famous Canadian breakfast joint http://www.chezcora.com/en Somehow in translation my order of ‘Fruit Magic’ was heard as ‘Fruit Muesli’ so after a disappointing first order was returned to the kitchen, out came the magic. Check it out!

We were meant to go to the Craft Show but the Wedding Show was at the same location. Gem is getting married at the end of the year so we decided to do both as with a Wedding Ticket it got you into both. We pretended to part of Gem’s bridal party and got in cheaper. Lots of cool stalls and a few goodies to take home. A few cheeky pics were sent to Ryan back in Australia!!

After that we headed down the hall to the Craft Show. Lots of awesome arts, crafts, jewellery and foodie bits.

This jewellery range was called Balance. All the pieces were made from levels!

Every soap flavour ever imaginable..

I really enjoyed the squirrel baffling birdfeeders. Some people are very clever.

Leather kids footstools and chocolate hummus!

These picture with insets were awesome, and the insets were made from bits of wood, rock climbing ropes, old hockey sticks.. the list continues!

It was time for all the fun and piglettiness to come to an end and get back on that fitness buzz.

A beautiful sunrise to end the week.

Posted by emdaisy 16:53 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 8 & Easter Weekend

A new week began and it was time to explore some more of local Ottawa. We headed down on foot to the bottom of Parliament Hill on the boardwalk beside the canal. The canal is still frozen in parts but not safe for skating. Here's a day view of where we had dinner at the Chateau Laurier castle building.

Check out the staircase and the park bench!

We trekked to the Confederation Love Lock bridge and I surprised Ryan with a pre vivided padlock to add to the thousand others. Its similar to the padlock bridges in Paris and Rome. By the looks of it, some people come back year after year to add a new one to their collection!

We visited the Loft Board Game Lounge http://www.theloftlounge.ca/ during the week, within walking distance of our apartment. Walls filled with every single board game you could think of and even ones that you didn’t know existed! No one wanted to play the Crazy Cat Lady game so we chose a few others and ordered some food. A good way to spend an evening!

Thursday arrived and it was time to set off on our little Easter Adventure. Ryan picked up our rental car like the good little house husband that he is, and then picked Gem and I up from work. The forecast for Thursday was snow, and of all the days to snow while Ryan was here, this could have possibly been the worst. It was coming down hard! We got a little white Fiat 500. It was cute, but we could hardly fit the suitcases in the back (and Ry wished it had a bit more grunt).

We are going away for the same amount of time. Any bets on which suitcase is mine???

The windscreen had frozen over while we were upstairs for about half an hour. Heres me getting the aircon sorted while Ry does all the hard jobs!!
Ry was so excited and it was his first time driving in snow. He did awesome!

First stop for our Easter long weekend: Toronto. It was meant to take about 4 hours to get there, but with all the long weekend traffic and the snow, it took over 5. Ryan wanted to stop at his favourite restaurant for dinner, KFC - he really knows how to treat a lady. Since he was doing such hard work driving I obliged. Here he is in KFC heaven - I think he wishes he was with his KFC crew, Alex and Cody, but had to settle for me!!

Do the taps in the KFC bathroom look like a moose?

I was doing some transport study on the way there. Looking at bridges and intersections and classes of roads and describing them. Even Ry started getting into it "wow look at that awesome bridge". Here are some examples of such excitement.

The highways were long, grey and boring. It quickly turned dark and it felt like we were never getting there. Cars (and trucks!) on the highways were crazy. Everyone drives 120-130km+ and is always in a hurry. We kept a speed of about 115km, but were passed by everyone. The cars here are huge, spesh the large dodge utes, who would get very annoyed when a small little Fiat passed them. I think Ryan got out his need for speed soothed on the trip!!! Apparently the police dont ticket you unless you are going faster than 123km.

We arrived in Toronto! Our hotel was gross and smelt like cigarette smoke. Friday was a day for exploring Toronto. We had breakfast at the hotel and first went to the Royal Ontario Museum https://www.rom.on.ca/en downtown. We got some sweet military discount, and headed in. Some good exhibitions but not a patch on Te Papa.

0 to 100 real quick.

Beck taxis!

We drove around the city and out through the suburbs, the city was cluttered and dirty. Lots of rubbish and debris out the front of houses. We drove around the waterfront and downtown. Parking downtown was expensey, the first park we found was $30 for 2 hours or $50 for 8.... we quickly found a new park.

A delicious lunch at the Loose Moose http://theloosemoose.ca/ Bar and Grill. Heres Ryan with his girly strawberry beer. I liked it better than my drink and wish I had of chosen that instead!

We had a squizz around the Eaton Centre, a huge mall, but it was totally packed and full of annoying people everywhere.
Check out our small carpark win!

We had dinner up the CN tower http://www.cntower.ca/intro.html in the revolving 360 restaurant, continuing on our tradition of dining at these restaurants and similar to the Auckland Sky Tower one that we visited earlier in the year.
The views were great and it was good to get an overview of Toronto. Always keen to get a bit of study in, I was busy breaking out the Billy Bishop Airport as our mains were arriving. We learnt more about Toronto Island from our waiter who told us about the underground pedestrian tunnel to the airport. There are no cars on the island, and you can only get there via ferry or tunnel! https://www.portstoronto.com/The-Airport/Pedestrian-Tunnel.aspx

Next stop: Niagara Falls. Our next hotel was awesome, had a pool and a spa, and opposite Hooters so Ryan was happy.

Niagara was amazing. The first thing we did was go and see the falls. SO MANY TOURISTS! We got sick of the tourists. And the overpriced carparks. Here are the expensive hotels overlooking the falls. Note the Tower Hotel – literally on a stalk so it can get a view!

The spray from the falls was insane. We got drenched. It came right up and over two sets of roads. You could see the cloud from up above. Everyone else seemed to have umbrellas!

We did all the touristy things. It was my idea to go on the Niagara Skywheel, why – I have no idea. It was terrifying! The lady at the bottom told us it would go round three times. It went round about 8. I had had enough after loop 1! On the first rotation the capsule stopped right at the very top, coupled with it swaying in the wind, me noticing the rusty inner mechanisms of the wheel, and then Ryan deciding to rock the boat, I was not in a good place. A few stern words were had! The views were apparently good but I was too scared to look out for most of the ride. I made Ry do photos but he had to do them from a seated position as to not sway the capsule even further!!!!

The Skylon Tower http://www.skylon.com/ in Niagara was great. The best views from up here. Apart from the rickety yellow lifts that go up the tower on the outside. We really saw the falls from all angles. We even went and had a look at night where they have the falls all lit up with pretty colours. The spray clouds at night were just as impressive. A guy from course told me that they capture 30% of the falls water at night and pump it through the falls during the day to make them seem more impressive. Cunning!
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The shopping was really good at the outlet shops we found. Our favourite: the Nike Shop. Lots of bargains but once again Ryan walking out with far more bags than me!

We saw these other crazy shoes that had a little mini air pump attached inside. Strange!

We had to try the new Nutella donut from Tim Hortons.

Clifton Hill is the go to place in Niagara http://www.cliftonhill.com/ - dinosaur mini golf, Frankensteins haunted house, and heaps of food places. The street is packed with people hustling and bustling. We looked in a few souvenir shops but there was sooo much tackiness, including these bling jean hats and Niagara water bottled up.

We visited another souvenir shop and had a token moose photo. This place had a glass blowing factory inside, with people working! Here is the guy making an animal of some sort. I treaded very carefully in the shop as not to break anything.

More dodgy hotels feat holes stuffed with tissues.

The Casino’s were another highlight of Niagara. There were two, so after picking the brains of various staff that we met throughout the day, we decided that we would go to the newer one, Fallsview Casino Resort. It was like going to Hollywood. The casino had a mall, food court, fountain and restaurant! https://www.fallsviewcasinoresort.com/ After a bit of shopping we went inside and Ryan taught me how to play a few new games.
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Heres Ryan caught playing Kitten Caboodle.

We got dinner at the buffet restaurant – the Grand Buffet.
And grand it was. I have never eaten so much in my life. Really reasonably priced at $25 with no tip needed – this included drinks, pizza, curries, sushi, salads, lasagne, roast meat cut fresh off the bone, cheeses, pasta.. you name it! Coupled with an excellent choice of desserts. It was food heaven.

This was how much dessert I could fit in. Stuffed!

In true Emma style something crazy was bound to happen on the holiday and looking back – this was it. Our Niagara style crazy taxi chase. We came out of the casino and jumped in the first taxi we saw that was dropping people off. Apparently, this wasn’t etiquette and what we didn’t realise was that the taxi had pushed in just dropping people off and others had been waiting in line for hours. Cue angry driver: who started yelling at me and banging on his windows, demanding we get into his taxi. Not the best way to attract potential customers I thought, so we got in our taxi. He then rammed up the side of us, blocking us in and so we couldn’t leave the casino! Arguments in English and other languages were yelled between the two drivers.

We drove off and he chased us along the street, pulled into our hotel behind us and starting coming up onto the footpath as we were getting out. Very scary! We wanted to get out of there ASAP. All this arguing for a $7 fare to our hotel. As we departed we didn’t get the number plates of the guy unfortunately as they sped down the street chasing each other.

We went to the second casino the following night, Niagara Casino. Less busy, but less fun. I seemed to be doing much better that night and made a profit of $22! This time we drove so we didn’t have any more crazy taxi escapades like the night before.

Buffets seemed to be the theme of the trip and this time it was a breakfast buffet!

Check out our cute matching supporters outfits. Was a great conversation starter with everyone we met. This, and Ryan’s Air Max shoes. The guy in the Reebok shop asked if he had worn them for ‘Air Max day’ – who knew there was even such a day! Another guy up Mont Tremblant told Ry ‘nice kicks’.

We went for a drive around the Niagara Parkway and out to Niagara on the Lake, just 15 minutes out of the main town. It was such a beautiful day, we couldn’t have asked for better weather.

We had 2 recommendations for wineries to visit from my new friend, Emma Davis. The first one we drove to was closed because of Easter Sunday. But it was meant to be as the second one we went to was a real gem. Caroline Cellars - http://www.carolinecellars.com/

Here we ate the most reasonably priced and best meal of our trip here. French onion baked soup and a steak sammy with real NZ type aioli. The crème brulee was $5!!!!

Ryan let me have a little drive on the other side of the road. Safe to say no one was injured! We drove round to this little beach – on the other side of the water is New York.

We stopped at the floral clock which was meant to be harvesting energy from the power station adjacent but didn’t seem to be working. We stopped and I did a bit more study of this power station … homework never ceases.

Another bridge to NY!

It was time to head home and on the way, we stopped in to Mississauga for lunch (near Toronto). I googled ‘best place for lunch in Mississauga’ and a little place called Jessie’s came up with some good reviews so off we headed. We turned off the main road, and it was down in an industrial area. Looking a bit dodgy, in between a vacuum cleaner and an air conditioning shop. Keeping an open mind, we opened the door and saw a picture off a movie – 6 policeman sitting and eating lunch inside.

The owners were Greek, very authentic Greek, and as soon as they heard us speak they said ‘you must be a long long long way from home’. They loved the accent, they loved NZ, they loved new people coming in and they loved us. They were so kind and over the top, kept pushing food onto us, ‘would you like soup or salad?’ we had to decline as the sandwiches and wraps they made were humongous! They wouldn’t take no for an answer, and before we knew it we had vegetable minestrone, chicken turkey soup and crackers delivered to our table. The owner told Ryan as he went to pay ‘the best thing in life is to keep your woman happy, she looks like a very very nice one’.

The lunch was delicious and we were stuffed. Just as we were about to leave, a huge container of fresh grapes was delivered to the table. The owner told Ry, ‘your wife will make you beautiful babies, make sure you feed her these grapes and keep her happy at all times’. Amen! If you are ever heading through.. Make sure you pay them a visit! http://tastyburgers.ca/tag/jessies/

I wanted to stop at the Air Force Museum on the way home but since it was Easter Monday most things were closed. We took the back roads home and stopped by this frozen lake in the middle of nowhere called Rice Lake.

Boys will be boys and Ryan was literally skating on thin ice as he dragged his big stick out onto the frozen surface and had a little play around.

We got back to Ottawa after about a 6 hour journey and it was the first time that Ottawa and my little apartment has felt like home.

It was good to be home.


Posted by emdaisy 14:20 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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