Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Holiday - Part the Last

Monday we left Toronto again and headed out west towards Stratford. Despite (or maybe because of) it being Thanksgiving the traffic wasn’t too bad and it was a clear sunny day. Once we got away from the city I finally got to see and fully appreciate the colours of the autumn foliage. I’ve been to Canada twice before, but each time I managed to miss seeing this by a couple of weeks. The first time I was too late and the second time too early. Of course being the driver meant that I needed to keep my eyes on the road most of the time, but there were more than enough trees about for me to get a good long look at them.

We reached Stratford about lunchtime and checked into the hotel, then we headed down to the river for a stroll. We also wanted to find out what was on at the theatres in the hope of being able to take in a play while we were there. Alas we were too late for the matinees, and the evening performances were Hello Dolly and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, neither of which are really our thing.

Stratford is quite beautiful, and the weather was perfect for walking (for us anyway), sunny but with a chill in the air, the sort of day I love, but that we get so few of in the UK. We strolled quite a long way along the river and back again and took several photographs of the scenery and wildlife. I saw a couple of waterbirds that I didn’t recognise although I did wonder if one of them was a black swan, I got pictures though and I’ll try and get around to posting them sometime this century, so maybe one of you will be able to identify them for me.

We went back to the hotel for dinner, my only regret being that I was too stuffed to eat any dessert, so I didn’t get to try the pumpkin pie.

The next day we were back on the road and heading out into the boonies. We had a hotel booked up in Bracebridge, but we were quite happy to take the whole day getting there, so we meandered along the country roads rather than heading straight for the big roads.

This drive took us through Mennonite country and we did see a few carriages driving along the verges as well as a few people, in the towns we went through, wearing the distinctive outfits. We also saw many many front yards filled with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. I managed not to buy one though, as Wookiee pointed out the difficulty of fitting one in the case to get it home *grin*.

The main reason for heading so far north was to drink in more of the gorgeous scenery, and there was indeed plenty of it to be seen. Unfortunately the weather had now turned into something reminiscent of home and while I could still see and appreciate the gorgeousness of it all, it really wasn’t conducive to photo taking.

We made it to the hotel (via Chapters in Barrie, what can I say, books is books), settled in and then went back into town to eat at a restaurant recommended by the hotel receptionist, which was very good. After dinner we went down to the waterfall in town for some more scenery appreciation. Despite the general wet and mistiness of the day it had turned into a clear moonlit night (damn cold, but lovely) so we stood and appreciated the pretty of a moonlight waterfall for as long as we could feel our toes and then jumped back in the car. I then tried to find a little bit of ‘middle of nowhere’ that wasn’t surrounded by trees or on a highway, so I could show Wookiee something else we don’t get back home. Just how clearly you can see the stars and how black the sky really is, when there isn’t an orange glow on the horizon from the nearest town or city. Unfortunately that region is very heavily forested, but I think he got the basic idea.

The next day we had to head back to Toronto, taking another meandering route. Wookiee had seen a place name that appeared in THE BOOK (See this post for an explanation), so we had to stop there and get the requisite picture of the place name. Then we saw there was a town with the same name as the town we live near, so we had to go there and get pictures as well. So with many stops and detours we finally made our way back to Toronto and yet another hotel. This one turned out to be in a trucking/business area and it was here that we had our first real problems. I needed to get an early night as the next day was my day at CSNF and I had to be at the show for my class at 9am. I knew it was going to take me a good while to get there (The hotel was in Brampton) and I’d decided to drive to Kipling station, park there and get the subway to the show. So I had to be up and out by about 7am just to be sure of getting there on time. So for the first time we had noisy neighbours *grr* They were up until around 2am drinking and talking and doing god knows what. At one point it sounded as though someone had thrown something (a shoe maybe) at the adjoining wall. Wookiee of course had managed to get to sleep around midnight; I however didn’t get to sleep until they shut up. I did complain about it the next morning and the next night was peaceful.

It did however mean that I was less inclined to wake up early and was a little late leaving the hotel.

I’ll save the details of CSNF for a separate post, it deserves it, I’ll just say that I had a great time and met some wonderful people.

Friday was our last day and we spent it ‘scrambling’, that is trying to do all the last few things that we wanted to do, mostly shopping, before we had to go home. Saturday we said a sad farewell to Canada and boarded our 9am flight home.