Sunday, June 16, 2013

Back home!


And after a little more than two weeks we're back home.....On the map you can see the journey we made (except for Montréal because it's a map of Ontario so Montréal wasn't on it). From every holiday abroad we take home a 'cheesy' souvenir. This time a wooden canoe with on one side a bear and on the other side a moose!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

History, islands and the countryside

It came down to the last four days of our stay here in Canada, so we started descending towards Toronto again. First stop was Upper Canada Village where you go back to life in the 1860's. There was a medieval tournament going on so we actually saw some knights jousting! Then we were off to Fort Henry in Kingston, which was build in 1812 to protect the British against an American attack.

We stayed the night in Gananoque and the next day we went on the Thousand Islands boat tour on the St. Lawrence river. We saw some some beautiful houses on islands in the middle of the lake. We even went into US waters and got to see Boldt Castle. It is a castle built by a hotel magnate. When his wife died suddenly before the completion he immediately stopped all the construction and the property was left vacant for seventy years. A real sad story, but they made it into a tourist attraction so some good must have come from it......

The last two nights of our trip we stayed in Picton in Prince Edward County. We had a lovely afternoon by the pool at our hotel, but the last day unfortunately it was raining so we toured the county by car and did some more shopping. Off home tomorrow!

Monday, June 10, 2013

A tale of two cities



After the quiet of Algonquin Park we went on to visit Ottowa, the capital of Canada. We stayed there for two nights and our hotel was just a couple of blocks away from Parliament Hill. On Thursday after 5 p.m. a lot of museums are free and we arrived on Thursday so the first thing we decided to do was to visit the National Gallery of Canada. In front is the huge  sculpture of a spider named 'Maman'. Inside whe saw a Picasso, a Van Gogh and a Mondriaan among others. Unfortunately the weather was pretty bad so we ended the day in a shopping centre. The next day wasn't much better but we went walking about anyway and visited the Byward Market which had some colourful products.

Next stop was Montreal, so we had to dust off our French. The only thing we didn't take into account was that it was GrandPrix weekend. So we didn't stay in the city because the prices of the hotels doubled or sometimes even tripled. On Saturday we drove to Parc Mont-Royal to have a great view of the city. On Sunday we visited the old city which has a real European feel to it with its cobblestone pavements and churches like the Notre Dame, the Chapelle Notre Dame-de-Bonsecours and the Oratoire Saint-Joseph. The weather was gorgeous so we had lunch outside and finished it off with an icecream on a bench in Place Jacques-Cartier. Oh, and on our way back to the car we saw Mick Jagger who was leaving his hotel after a gig the night behore :) 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Moose, flies and canoeing


Our motel in Huntsville was a great starting point to go visit Algonquin Park. The whole purpose of us tourists going there is to enjoy nature and off course see a moose in the wild. We started out having breakfast at the Moose Cafe :) and after that we drove into the park. The man at the permit office told us that his colleague had an encounter with a wolf the night before. The wolf walked right by her. Ok, we would settle for just a moose. And hey there it was in the water at the side off the road. The picture is not very clear, because it was quite a long way away, but we definitely saw one. Our excitement about seeing this great animal was immediately interrupted by a swarm of (what we later learned to be) black flies. Horrible. They actually bit us a couple of times. The reason why the moose are driven out of the woods are actually these flies who are a real pest to them as well. We wanted to go canoeing but were a bit wary about the flies being there too. Luckily they weren't so we spend a lovely time canoeing on Canoe Lake (what's in a name). It was really peaceful and quiet (except for when the lumberjack started chopping down some trees).

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Falls, mennonites and lakes


After Toronto we headed out to Niagara Falls. A couple of words come to mind: beautiful, fabulous and amazing. We went on the Maid of the Mist, the boat tour, which was fun and wet (even though we wore our blue raincoats). We were suprised about how close we actually got. Then it was off to the rural area of Ontario where the Mennonites live. We stayed in a bed and breakfast in St. Jacobs, a small town with a lovely quiltshop (that was one of the reasons I  wanted to go there). I was kind of dissappointed that we only saw one person in traditional clothes and didn's see a horse and carriage, but what can you do. The Farmers market, where the Mennonites sell their produce, wasn't on till Thursday or Friday and we were there on Monday. So not great timing on our part. On Tuesday we made our way to the Colonial Bay Motel near Huntsville. From there we are going to visit Algonquin Park. A friend recommended the motel and we were glad she did because we can see Peninsula Lake from our room.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Toronto tales


We're on holiday! We're starting off our two week vacation in Toronto, Canada. When we left Holland it was about 15 degrees Celsius and here it's about 30 degrees. Quite an adjustment! The number one tourist thing to do in Toronto is to go to the CN Tower, so that is where we ventured out to first to have a great view of the city. We also visited ChinaTown and the Farmers and St. Lawrence Market on Jarvis Street. The one thing that struck us  most about Toronto is the combination of old and new buildings.
We had some lovely food and made sure we fit some shopping in too (I'm especially happy with a nice book I bought, but I will blog about that later).