Day 3 – Chipmunks are the shit!
Nothing to report from my 5am raccoon inspection. Where are they?
Another hockey match (with same teams playing against each other and the same team winning), followed by a quick supermarket visit and a drive around the back of the supermarket to experience the steepest road in Toronto.
Back at home we had a massive family hash brown and egg lunch feeling extremely lucky to have made it back before the storm with heavy duty raindrops.
In the evening we visited High Park, a massive park in the heart of Toronto. We walked around and then bumped into the park zoo, which featured an unusual collection of animals. Reindeer, emu, buffalo, llama and some loud peacocks. And two capybara. Oh, wait, no, the capybara were supposed to be there but they are missing, presumably hiding somewhere in the park waiting for the right moment to make their dramatic reappearance..
I also got extremely excited about seeing a chipmunk stealing a carrot from the reindeer inclosure and, silly me, I thought they were part of the display… Nope, chipmunks are everywhere. But you should see the way they run! I love them!!
We got back home to the sound of Jonah\’s (Bert\’s 7 year old nephew) latest hit \”I\’m walking on the sidewalk… still walking on the sidewalk… now I\’m walking on the dirt..\”
Toronto is beautiful.
Day 4 – A walk to hipster central
Still no raccoon.
Morning sort out. Bert and I needed to look into a few more things for Alaska because THE CROWDFUNDING MONEY CAME THROUGH!!!
We were finally able to book our whale watching field trip in Kenai National Park and looked into some 2-3 day long hiking trails.
In the afternoon we walked to the centre of Toronto and got introduced to the wonder that is Kensington! A neighbourhood of hippie clothes, cool bars, tattoo parlours, abandoned cars that are turned into flowerpots, hipsters and burritos.
Day 5 – Niagara Falls and the wax fail
Today we borrowed the car and drove to Niagara Falls!
Gee-whiz that’s a lot of water! But before the water and the beauty of the falls, we got a cold shower in the form of wax museums, horror houses, hotdog kiosks, souvenir shops and marine parks (worse versions of the already horrible SeaWorld). Oh, and casinos and expensive hotels of course. And depending on which block you park on, you can pay $5, $15 or $18. Scary how people do their absolute best to ruin an area of such natural beauty… But then we saw a map of the erosion of the falls, which ‘eat’ about one foot of rock every year and we thought that it’s funny how they will slowly have to move this circus further and further upstream, until the Erie and Ontario lakes join and there are no more waterfalls between them. Just stupid wax replicas of Heath Ledger as The Joker.
If you ever travel there from Toronto, take the parallel road to the highway and enjoy the way there. Endless vineyards and forest / farmland.
On the way back we stopped and had some Greek food in a dinner. Greek food in the tiny town of Beamsville and then sushi in Toronto with Bert’s family.
We have now packed and we are ready to leave for Anchorage!!
And the best part: I JUST SAW A RACCOON!!!
Day 6 – To Denver and beyond
Another 5am wakeup, this time not for raccoons but for Anchorage! I was so excited to walk into the airport and board the flight until I hit the wall that is US immigration. Bert and I almost had a heart attack because the check-in machine wouldn’t recognise my ESTA (the new electronic visas for USA) and the man that came to ‘solve’ the issue was unnecessarily rude. If you see a lady who’s on the verge of having a panic attack, don’t say “ma’am this is the situation and I cannot let you through to your flight”. Luckily some other people in the area had woken up in plenty of time for their morning coffee and double-checked my details and said “oh, yes, the machine does this sometimes”.
Maybe time to update the machine..
Then the immigration queues.. So much waiting so that a lady can take our fingerprints and interrogate us about our humus and cheese bread rolls and packets of crisps. Who knew a couple of sandwiches and some chilli crisps could be so threatening..
You know what US? As amazing as your country might be, we don’t ALL want to stay and mooch off your flailing economy or plot terrorist attacks. Cool your jets.
Denver. Flat, flat, flat and then the Rockies in the background. The land with the multi-functioning toilets (WC but also tornado shelters). The Rockies looked amazing from the plane.
But Alaska’s glaciers… oh my!
WE ARE HEEEEEERE!!!