Start of our 7 day East Coast USA and Canada Tour
Trip Start Sep 18, 2011
25Trip End Oct 31, 2011
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It was lovely to receive so many well wishes for my birthday. Don surprised me with a lovely Gucci bracelet. I really wasn’t expecting anything since we had planned ‘We Will Rock You’ as my choice for my birthday.
The internet booking told us to be at the airport three hours prior to our flight so we left the hotel just before 8am and were soon on the tube to Heathrow. It took just over an hour since we had to change lines and lug our suitcases up & down a few flights of stairs first.
Check in was a breeze. I thought there would be queues, but we offloaded our luggage in under 15 minutes and made our way through security in no time.
We got a snack and waited for our gate to be announced and soon made our way onto the plane. Take off was delayed as there was a maintenance problem so we sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes going nowhere. After the delay we were off flying 8.5 hours to Toronto.
When we arrived in Toronto it was around 26 degrees. Quite a change from the drizzle and cold we left behind in London.
We caught a taxi to our hotel since it is out of town because our tour is leaving from the same hotel in the morning. We were pleasantly surprised by our hotel room which included a King size bed and writing desk.
Once we dumped our bags we headed out & towards a small shopping square just around the corner from our hotel.
The main supermarket was an Asian Grocers with live fish and crabs in tanks – it smelt really bad so we didn’t stay long as we couldn’t any bottles of water in there – it was all very foreign.
We headed to Wendy’s (burgers) for dinner as it was the only food place nearby. They have square burgers as their motto is that they ‘don’t cut corners’.
There wasn’t much else around so we headed back to the hotel to do a few emails and prepare ourselves for our 5am alarm and 5:45 departure on our East Coast Canada & USA Tour.
Up early, but feeling good. Met the tour guide downstairs and were allocated seats on the bus.
There were many other people waiting as well. Don and I are the odd ones out. The only Anglos and the rest are Asian except for two Mexican ladies who can barely speak English. At least the tour guide speaks in English first then Chinese.
Firstly we made our way to the Thousand Islands. This is a beautiful summer holiday place literally made up of small islands. Some of them only have one house on each island.
We took a lovely cruise which included a cooked breakfast and saw all these great homes including Boldt Castle which was very luxurious looking. We also saw one of the main bridges linking Canada and USA and it is the shortest connecting bridge between the two countries.
The lake area and some of the St Laurence River around the island freezes during winter so these homes can only really be used during the warmer summer months.
Back on the bus for another couple of hours and we came to Ottawa, the capital of Canada. The bus parked at Parliament and we walked around looking at the nearby buildings including a luxury hotel for politicians and a statue of the PM who is recognised on the $5 note. Since it was Canadian Thanksgiving Day holiday there were only tourists around and most of the shops were closed. It was reasonably quiet in comparison to the busy European cities we have just come from.
Back on the bus we headed a further 2.5 hours east to Montreal. The largest church in Canada was built in 1938 and is called Saint Josephs. It is set high on a hill, but fortunately the bus took us practically to the top.
In comparison to the beautiful basilicas we saw in Europe this was very plainly decorated and had few paintings and sculptures.
Following Saint Joseph’s we went to the Montreal Olympic Stadium where the 1976 Summer Olympics was held. The roof cover is held up by the Montreal tower which we took a glass elevator to the top for a view around Montreal. Following the tower we toured the Olympic Stadium & swimming pools which are still in use for other events today.
For dinner we were taken to Chinatown but the guide directed us to the old Montreal area as an alternative.
After dinner we took the bus another 1 hour to our hotel. We were worried that’s since our tour was inexpensive that the hotel would be terrible. We were really pleasantly surprised as it had two queen beds, large shower, kitchenette and flat screen TV along with free wireless internet. The best room we’ve stayed in all trip.