That seems to be the theme of the trip.
And I don’t hate it.
Anyway, I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a little! I thought that I posted the “Quick Catch-Up” yesterday, but it evidently didn’t actually post… Darn!
Well, I’ve been super busy. I’m in Toronto! HUGE city… takes a while to get from place to place (I’ve been walking everywhere so as to not have to worry about parking everywhere I go). Really fun, though!
Since I’m a little behind in posting, I’m going to include two days in one post, since they both happened in Toronto. It may get a little long, so just bear with me.
So, I woke up to leave Kingston around 5:30 – 6. It’s only about a two and a half – three hour drive to Toronto from there, so I didn’t really feel a need to rush.
One thing I noticed on the drive: WHY AM I THE ONLY ONE JAMMING OUT??? Everyone is so stone-faced behind the wheel; how do you stay awake?!
I got into the city around 10, found a place to park, and went to my hotel! I was super early for check-in (not until 4), but I was able to check-in and pay (all that AWFUL BANK ACCOUNT ROBBING stuff), but I couldn’t get into my room yet, obviously.
After checking in, I headed to the aquarium! I had purchased a Citipass for my trip beforehand, which gets you in to the most popular attractions in Toronto (or another big city such as NYC, Chicago, Boston, Philly (!!!), etc.) at a lowered price altogether. The Ripley Aquarium of Canada was included in that package, and it was close to my hotel (and it was rainy out so I wanted to be inside), so I headed there first. I really like aquariums, but they’re always so full of little kids running about and parents with no awareness of their surroundings. Very frustrating.
I’ve found that I officially even hate tourists in places in which I myself am a tourist.
The aquarium was cool, but unfortunately not unlike any other aquarium I’ve seen (well, I guess I’ve only seen the Camden aquarium…). Pretty entertaining even still!
(A REAL LIVE SHARK EGG!!!!)
It was fun! After that, I walked around for a bit, exploring Roundhouse Park and the surrounding area. It was drizzling and very gray out, so it was a bit of a drag.
Next, I headed to the Rogers Centre (right next to the aquarium) for a Blue Jays game!!! People had been lining up since before I had gone to the aquarium, so I was nervous that I should’ve been there earlier. I had gotten a ticket beforehand for pretty cheap (about $25) so I figured I’d just chance it and get there later, so that I wouldn’t have to spend too much time waiting for the game, not exploring other areas. I was super pumped! It was the last game in a series with the Baltimore Orioles and they were giving out free hats. The hats were extremely ugly, but it was the only gear I had so I had to suck it up. It was so much fun! I set myself up with a foot-long hot dog and a beer, naturally. “The best life,” as a friend said. Gotta agree with that one.
It was a pretty good game! The Blue Jays pulled ahead in the beginning, but slowly (but surely) the Orioles caught up and surged ahead. I’m convinced I was the Blue Jays’ lucky charm, because the Orioles pulled ahead as soon as I left. 😛
My favorite part was all of the bored people that lighten up as soon as they realize the cam is showing them on the big screen. It’s so entertaining.
I ended up getting a bag of popcorn for SEVEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS that was so good for the first quarter and then got SO painful.
I stuck around until just after the seventh inning stretch (I had to be there to sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” but sing “root root root for the PHILLIES” instead of the Blue Jays (sorry, Toronto)). I was having fun, but was starting to get a little antsy. This was the first time I felt a little weird being alone. Not because I felt unsafe, but because I was honestly (my mom says never to trust anyone who starts a thought with “honestly,” but you should trust me) lonely!
I was really just feeling antsy because I was going to get my nose pierced!!! I’ve been wanting to for a while, but since I’ve been away I couldn’t hold off any longer. So, I left the game and walked (forever) to New Tribe Tattooing and Piercing, a really well reviewed piercing place. I never wanna risk it when it comes to piercings (as far as going to a cheap place to get it done), so I made sure to really do my research.
Meanwhile, this city is SO. BIG. I didn’t realize! I mean, I did, but I didn’t realize how big even just downtown Toronto is. I splurged on my hotel because it was in such a central location. And it is, but it still takes at least 25 minutes to walk anywhere. It didn’t get in the way of my trip at all because I timed everything out so that I’d have time to do everything I wanted to, but I’m certainly very, very tired.
Anyway, so after walking (forever, passed two girls having a photo shoot in front of a gas station), I got to the place! I walked up the steps, went up to the front desk area, said, “I wanna get my nose pierced,” filled out a paper, paid 50 bucks, went into a back room, met the piercer (super nice guy), and got my dang nose pierced! I was in and out in about seven minutes.
It didn’t hurt too bad, but it definitely wasn’t pleasant. It was such a strange feeling, needle in nose and all that… my eyes were very teary, but apparently I wasn’t “much of a bleeder,” so I guess I deserve a pat on the back for that one. 😛 (I hate those faces but like am I allowed to say “lol” in a blog post?)
Gotta love teenage rebellion.
Or, twenties rebellion.
Ew. I’m twenty. EW.
Anyway, I wandered to Shamanda to grab my stuff to get settled in my hotel room (it was a little after 4 at that point). Very sweet room, super modern looking. The bathroom is almost too fancy for my taste… when I showered the next morning I couldn’t figure out how to work it. Like, not how to turn it on, but how to physically shower in it. There were two shower heads — which one are you supposed to use?!
I can’t figure out how to take photos of the bathroom (too small to angle it right), so I stole one from the website. This wasn’t my exact set-up, but it definitely showcases the two shower head situation.
(I didn’t have a shower AND a tub… I may have saved up money but I didn’t not save up that much.)
After resting for a bit in the hotel (and writing the post that I thought I posted already but did not), I went on my way to the harborfront to catch an evening cruise along the inner harbor. They leave every hour from 6 – 9 and I was planning on catching the 6pm one but accidentally walked the wrong way so I had to grab the 7pm one.
It was actually a blessing in disguise, though, because I was super hungry. I was able to stop at Starbucks and grab a quick blueberry muffin and a water so that I wouldn’t pass out on the boat.
I also got to explore a bit more on the way.
Getting lost when you’re by yourself is actually really nice (if you don’t freak out). I never think of it as getting lost because I know that if I really can’t find my way back I can use my phone, I just use it as a way to discover different areas! It’s liberating, in a way. The only person that knows you’re lost is you, so there’s no judgment.
I wasn’t exactly sure where to go to redeem the voucher I had for the cruise, so I started out at an info desk set up outside near the Harborfront Centre which sent me to the info desk inside the Harborfront Centre. The ladies at this desk looked really confused when I handed them the voucher and ended up being really rude, leaving me on my own to figure out where to go next. They said that they needed more information as far as which boat I had booked; there are a ton of cruises that go out in the inner harbor… I showed them the email I received, the original listing for the cruise I had signed up for — everything I could think of. They still looked at me like I was crazy, saying they needed more information to tell me where to go. They had the booking number and everything but I guess they couldn’t look anything up that way or call the booking site to find out that way????? I was so flustered and annoyed at them. They didn’t even apologize for the situation; real great customer service!!!
I grabbed the voucher from them, thanking them for absolutely nothing, and headed down the street towards signs for cruises. I found one that said “Inner Harbor Evening Tour” and thought that was the best bet. I went up to the desk and handed the girl my voucher, explaining that the information ladies said that they weren’t sure what boat I was on. She cut me off before I could even finish, saying that I was in the right place and it was all good, all of the information was there on the voucher.
I was happy, but also so angry at those women.
It was also 6:57 (the cruise left at 7).
But yay! Cruise! I made it! It was beautiful. I went before it was dark (although it would’ve been magical to see the city lit up at night), and the view was just incredible. Gorgeous weather; a little chilly but not too bad, a little humid but not too bad.
The view of the city from the water was GORGEOUS!!! The tour itself was spectacular as well; the guide was an 18 year old girl who has absolutely mastered the art of sarcastic comedy. She kept a straight face the entire time, spitting out one joke after another. AND she played the Orange is the New Black theme song (Regina Spektor’s “You’ve Got Time”) during some down time.
After the tour, I head to meet up with a friend that I haven’t seen in YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS. We met through a mutual friend (she lives down in Ocean City on the same street as one of my best friends’ summer beach house) and haven’t seen each other since freshman year of high school. She was visiting Toronto for the night with two friends after visiting Niagara Falls earlier that day.
It was not only super great to see her (and meet her two friends who were really great), it was just great to be with people again. I’ve been having such a great time by myself, but I’m definitely ready to get back to having friends and actually hanging out with them.
I met her and her friends on Sugar Beach, which is one of the beaches in Toronto.
It’s a special beach, though… there’s sand, water, and lots of “No Swimming Allowed” signs.
We headed back to the hostel where they were staying (I’m so jealous — I wanted to stay in that hostel but it was completely booked when I was looking), grabbed some dinner and drinks, and hung there for a while! There was an open mic night happening in the downstairs bar of the hostel, but everyone was overwhelming mediocre (or just plain awful) and it was WAY too loud. But we met a (really) cute guy from Israel who has been traveling around the world since September and we talked to him for a while.
It was about 10:30 when I decided to get going, but the “mom” inside Mercy decided that they all needed to walk me back to my hotel, even though she “knew I would be fine walking alone.” It was sweet 🙂 and fun! Great to spend that time with them, great to see her again, and great to meet her friends!
When I got back, I pretty much fell right asleep (hence the no posting last night). I had a long day ahead of me and hoped to get an early start, so I figured it would be better to sleep than to stay up to write.
Highlight of the day: Someone stopped me to ask for directions, thinking that I live in Toronto.
WOOOOOOOO!!! MAMA I MADE IT!!!!
Alright… now today!
Waking up around 8, I showered (amidst struggles), packed up for the day, and headed out!
It was about a forty minute walk to my first destination of the day (the Royal Ontario Museum), so I decided to stop for a coffee (well, mocha frappe), muffin, and yogurt at a popular chain called Second Cup about halfway in between my hotel and the museum. It happened to be facing the beginning of University of Toronto’s campus, so after I ate I walked through the campus. It’s really pretty and all, but it just made me miss GW <3
Finally, I got to the Royal Ontario Museum! Cool museum. It’s got a little bit of everything: art, ancient world culture, natural history.
It was really interesting. Some of my favorites:
After spending a couple of hours in here I headed to Casa Loma, a castle on the outskirts of Toronto built by Sir Henry Pellat in the early 1900s. It was huge! 98 rooms, stables, an underground passageway, two towers, and gardens! Very easy to get lost and end up going in and out of the same rooms over and over… not that that happened to me…
Guess what I did next?
On my way back downtown I noticed words engraved into the sidewalk every five feet or so — the words were super random: first “Avenue,” then “Power,” and then “Dairy” (???). No idea.
Then a train passed overhead as I was walking through an underpass; I thought I was going to die.
My original plan had been to head to Kensington Market for lunch, but I was super full of gelato and it was already almost 2:30, so I decided to walk there anyway but not to eat. On the way there I decided to go back to the U of Toronto campus because I realized how much I miss being on a college campus.
I love walking places — you discover so much more walking than you do driving. Over the course of the day I walked through so many cute neighborhoods, Chinatown, Kensington Market, and Old Toronto.
After walking around for about an hour and a half and having recovered from seeing a man peeing into a garden, I finally got to the base of the CN tower! It was almost 5pm, so I wanted to make sure to get up the tower before the sun really started to set, because I was worried that the sun would be too bright to get the full experience the later it got.
It was a really popular time, obviously, so the wait time was about an hour (meaning waiting in a snakey line for an hour). I was fine with that, because this was the last thing on my agenda today). The lady behind me, though, who was there with her son, thought it was “so annoying.” She was cracking me up because she literally chose the busiest time, both in the day and in the year, to visit. What the heck did she expect?! The poor kid was being super sweet, too, probably about fifteen. He didn’t seem to mind the wait at all, he just had to deal with his mom saying, “this is so annoying” every two seconds.
The view was TOTALLY worth the wait, though.
After I took in the view for an hour or so, I was starving. I was going to go somewhere else closer to my hotel, but then I decided to just stay in the CN Tower and go to their restaurant (not the 360 revolving restaurant — that was completely booked and also would have made me throw up). I made a great decision, because I got to see the sun start to set over the city right from where I was sitting.
The funniest thing that happened during dinner was that when my food came, the waitress warned me, “Hot plate!” and then proceeded to place the plate on the opposite end of the table, forcing me to find out exactly how hot that plate was.
After dinner, I headed back to the hotel. I had a lot of packing up to do! Now I’m all set and ready to leave. There are certainly a few yay factors but also a lot of boo factors. This trip has been SO amazing, but I’m excited to see my family and get back to work 🙂
Tomorrow I’m headed home, with a not-so-quick pit stop in Niagara Falls. I can’t wait!