The constant travelling on buses is starting to get very tiresome. As are the journeys to and from the bus station with our bags. The bus from Niagara falls was relatively short in comparison to many that we have had to, and will have to take, but the Amtrak has thoroughly spoilt us and they are becoming a real drag. Sorry for complaining though, I am sure there are many people who would give a lot to be travelling like we are.
My (brilliant) Mum has helped us out regarding our bags. They are hitting 35kgs now, which to carry some of the distances we have had to is becoming more and more difficult. When I first got this blog way back last year, I was still nursing a stress fracture in my foot, and it has worryingly started to hurt in the same place. Let’s hope less trekking with our bags, and more walking with boots on instead of flip flips on will pay off.
More importantly than my complaining though, Canada is sunny, warm, and our hostel has a sky deck that has a lovely view over the Toronto skyline. I shouldn’t complain that the CN tower is obscured by another building considering how lucky we are to have the view, but it is, so I am going to complain anyway!
Our first evening in Toronto was spent housekeeping: catching up on blog posts, sorting Disney accounts, emailing important people, that kind of thing. It may not have been that crzy but it was definitely needed.
The following morning, we got up at a normal time and went down to have free breakfast. Free breakfast is fast becoming th e biggest selling point a hostel or hotel can have. It wasn’t as good as Chicago (I’m not sure any will be as good as Chicago) but it is better than nothing.
We left the hostel and decided to wander down to the waterfront to look into ferries to Toronto Island Park and see the CN Tower. The great lakes have been a big hit with Jade and I. We have really liked both Chicago and Toronto, and think the lakes have played a large part. There is something really nice about having the hustle and bustle of the city next to the serene waterfront. We decided to ditch the ferry plan for the next day, and wander around the wave decks and waterfront parks instead of hving a big walking day over on the island.
The CN tower really does appear out of nowhere in the middle of the city to dominate the skyline. It’s fairly impressive. Unfortunately, we opted to stay at the base rather than go tot he top because of the cost, but the view from our hostel makes us think we’re not actually missing out on that much. Now as we have all our souvenirs and postcards from Canada, we’re on Canadian Dollar saving mode so we can maximise the amount to convert back into US dollars for our onward journey.
When we got back to the hostel, we finally managed to skype Kate. It has been too long since we spoke to her, so it was nice to catch up on all the gossip from our Uni friends and speak to someone from home. We also sorted and synced all our Disney accounts, so we can now see our plans taking shape. Our fastpass options have started appearing, and our dinner reservations have been made; we can see them all on a nice little itinerary online. I’m getting beyond excited, not that I want to wish everything else away!
The hostel does a free movie night every Wednesday, and this week it just so happened the movie being shown was Guardians of the Galaxy. I love Marvel, and that film, as many of you who read a lot of my posts will realise, so it was nice to mingle with others in the hostel and watch it together. And there were free snacks. Never under estimate the power of free snacks!
After getting up earlyish we headed out to the waterfront and caught the first ferry we could to Toronto Island Park. Situated just off the main city in Lak Ontario, the park is a series of islands linked by bridges and walkways, that has gardens, a fun park, and a pier. It was really nice to have a wander around the islands, looking out of the vast lake, and being in a tranquil place while looking at the skyline. I’m pleased we paid to get to the island rather than go up the tower; not that they were vaguely similarly priced but, I’m still glad we did it that way.
We posted what we needed to post and repacked what we needed to pack while waiting at the hostel. Any hostel with access to drinks and WiFi is better than being stuck in a bus station, right? We walked the short distance to the station (an actually short distance, which was nice) and waited round for our bus. We managed to get the back row of three. The heat was a bit much from the engine, but the extra space from the spare seat gave us some manouvering room.
The border was so easy to cross getting into Canada that I hoped it wouldn’t be too bad to get back into the US. Of course I was wrong. As much as the guy was friendly and we got through passport control quickly, having to get all our bags off the bus and queue with them on for ages in an immigration building is not what I wanted to be doing. I can’t believe that is our last border we cross now until the one to get back into England.
After brief stops in Buffalo and Syracuse, we made it to New York City for our bus change. Even though we spent less than an hour in the bus station there, I am pleased we can say that at some point we were in NYC during our grand American trip. The Freedom Tower stood out clearly in the skyline, and I’m not really sure what I thought of it (last time I saw NYC, it was just a set of foundations) but it was nice to see it completed.
Let’s go Philly, let’s see what you have!