Miss Daisy Driving

she finally decided to take the wheel

Author: missdaisydriving (page 1 of 4)

Welcome to the 2nd Edition of: “I’m sorry, what?”

PART ONE:

IMG_1571

It was a little too sunny for this woman so she had to get creative.

 

PART TWO:

Excuse me, what?

Spotted in the very fancy, upscale National Gallery of Canada.

 

I’m sorry, what?

The end of the road

This is it! I’m home! I’ll be posting a bit in the next few days with just a few stories from along the way, but this is the last daily post! Very bittersweet.

So, I woke up in Toronto at around 6… and then promptly set my alarm for an hour later.

When I finally did wake up, I packed up all of my things (I had already done most of the packing the night before so this was just last minute things), checked out of the hotel, and went on my way!

*Peace out* Canada :(

*Peace out* Canada 🙁

It’s only about a 1.5 hour drive to Niagara Falls from Toronto, so it was pretty easy compared to what I’ve been doing! The only thing of note that happened on this drive was the sadness I felt when I couldn’t drive in the carpool lane because:

Then I got to Niagara Falls!!! I got there around nine, so I was able to get a great parking (in the incredibly overpriced lot, that is) and buy tickets for things before too many others got there.

Lord; these falls are just so impressive. The Chutes de Montmorency in Quebec City are actually taller than Niagara, but these are much wider. Such a magnificent sight.

IMG_2654

IMG_2772

IMG_2783

IMG_2786

IMG_2788

IMG_2821

IMG_2819

IMG_2890

IMG_2895

Thank you, stranger

Thank you for recognizing my selfie struggles, stranger

IMG_2903

This was my face pretty much the whole time:

IMG_2893

After staring at the falls for a while, I went to buy tickets for both the Hornblower Boat Cruise and the “Journey Behind the Falls” tour.

I did the latter first; a walk underground that brings you out right in the middle of the Horseshoe Falls. I was amazed, and also quite drenched.

IMG_2743

IMG_2759

IMG_2665

IMG_2663

IMG_2732

IMG_2725

It was so windy and misty (“misty” is a gross understatement) — the complimentary ponchos did little to no good. I’m not complaining, though; the experience was incredible.

The tunnel led to two window areas through which you could see the falls … falling, for lack of a better word. So amazing.

After this, I headed for a boat tour! The boat goes into the falls (not actually under them, of course, because we would all die, but into the soaking mist) and makes you really experience the sheer power of the water.

IMG_2848

IMG_2853

IMG_2856

IMG_2857

SOAKED

IMG_2872

IMG_2876

A mom: “That’s the boat we’re going to be one” Her daughter: “With all the apples?”

IMG_2881

Very worth the wait.

Especially to be able to watch the guy who was solving a Rubix cube the whole time and the CUTEST baby who was SUCH a good sport (the falls were even scary for me at points — super loud), keeping his sweet blue eyes open the entire time despite the downpour.

It was about noon at that point, so I went to a patio cafe right next to the boat tour and ate a turkey sandwich and some chips while I listened to a guy playing the guitar live. It reminded me a lot of the gigs my uncle has in Wildwood every summer; the dude even played a lot of the same set list as my uncle, included some James Brown and the Beatles.

Except a) he wasn’t as good and b) this was the view:

IMG_2888

As my cousin said, “Yep. That’s definitely Wildwood.”

After lunch I decided to begin to make my way home instead of spending any more money on the various tourist traps surrounding the falls.

I also saw the couple I was sitting across from at the CN Tower restaurant visiting the falls!!! How funny?

Cute Shamanda waiting for me

Cute Shamanda waiting for me

(P.S. Shamanda has been such a trooper this whole time <3)

My sneakers were completely soaked through so I had to change into a different pair, but then it was home I went!

IMG_2927

I stopped once for gas, once for a McFlurry (NO shame at all), and then to grab some Panera right before I got home.

It’s funny… it’s actually hard to adjust back to reading MPH instead of KM/H now! I thought it would be easy to go back to MPH, but I’m so used to KM/H now… Guess I’m just a full blown Canadian now.

I also found it super interesting that over the entire two weeks in Canada I only saw about five cop cars on my long drives, yet within my first five minutes in America I saw three cop cars.

#murica

This drive home also made me realize how beautiful even Pennsylvania is. You really never have to far to see something magnificent.

Now, I’m home! Swarthmore greeted me with a beautiful sunset.

IMG_2913

And two huge mosquito bites.

This whole trip just seems like a dream to me; I feel like I’ve just been on this couch for two weeks. It’s such a strange feeling, and I’m not sure I enjoy it. Hopefully I’ll come to terms with it soon!

If you’re interested, keep checking in for a few more tidbits surrounding the trip; I’ll let you know which post is my last 🙂

IMG_2924

Overheard Conversations: Casa Loma Edition

The Scene: A family is walking down the hill after visiting Casa Loma. There is a mom, a dad, a daughter, and a son. The daughter looks to be about fifteen and her brother looks like he’s about ten or eleven. 

Sister: “I didn’t even wanna go to this stupid castle and now you’re making me do more walking I hate you”

Brother: “Anna you’re a brat, shut up”

Sister: “I’m tiiiiiiiiiired!”

This girl is not going places.

A romantic evening cruise for one, please

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!

IMG_2155

IMG_2169

IMG_2175

I didn’t forget.

IMG_2179

IMG_2196

IMG_2187

(A REAL LIVE SHARK EGG!!!!)

Found a shit ton of Nemos and Dorys if anyone's still lookin

Found a shit ton of Nemos and Dorys if anyone’s still lookin

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.

IMG_2209

IMG_2215

IMG_2213

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.

IMG_2216

IMG_2217

Ugliest hat.

IMG_2218

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?)

IMG_2219

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?!

IMG_2221

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.

templar-hotel-1

(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.

IMG_2223

IMG_2227

Cute little street market near the Toronto Music Garden (live music on the Harbor — unfortunately didn’t get any photos of that)

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.

IMG_2234

IMG_2247

IMG_2249

IMG_2270

I’m laughing because a woman was watching me take this

IMG_2274

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.

IMG_2281

IMG_2283

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.

IMG_2636

Mercy and I!

IMG_2635

Our world traveler friend is the one in the back on the right, diagonally across from me (much cuter in person, as always)

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.

So much JCrew, so little time

So much JCrew, so little time

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!

IMG_2292

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

IMG_2516

IMG_2517

IMG_2518

Finally, I got to the Royal Ontario Museum! Cool museum. It’s got a little bit of everything: art, ancient world culture, natural history.

IMG_2313 IMG_2315 IMG_2322 IMG_2326 IMG_2331 IMG_2335 IMG_2338IMG_2345

IMG_2350 IMG_2341   IMG_2354 IMG_2364

IMG_2379

It was really interesting. Some of my favorites:

IMG_2346

I was definitely born in the wrong century.

I was definitely born in the wrong century.

This cuddly teddy bear!!!

This cuddly teddy bear!!!

IMG_2380

This empty gallery

Obviously.

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…

IMG_2508

IMG_2397

Epic wine cellar

IMG_2404

IMG_2408

Shamanda circa 100 years ago

IMG_2410

IMG_2420

IMG_2423

IMG_2425

IMG_2444

IMG_2446

IMG_2451

IMG_2455

This was a GUEST room

IMG_2459

IMG_2460

IMG_2470

The Lady’s suite

IMG_2482

View from one of the towers

IMG_2499

Guess what I did next?

IMG_2505

Big shocker!!!

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.

IMG_2522

IMG_2526

Such a cool idea

IMG_2520

Chinatown!

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.

IMG_2535

IMG_2549

“Unobstructed” they said

IMG_2578

IMG_2639

IMG_2585

IMG_2570

IMG_2579

IMG_2596

Glass floor!

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.

IMG_2611

IMG_2618

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!

Overheard Conversations: Parliament Hill, Ottawa Edition

The Scene: A nice little family was walking down the Rideau Canal path. The littlest child, a girl, starts asking her parents questions concerning the Prime Minister of Canada.

Daughter: “Does the prime minister help people? Does he care about himself or does he care about other people?”

This girl is going to do big things. Big, helpful things.

Quick Catch-Up

Now that the shock of skydiving has worn off, I figured I should fill you in about what ELSE happened that day (yeah, life actually went on after I fell from the sky).

So, I woke up in Quebec City at around 6:30. I was staying in such a cute place!

IMG_2019

IMG_2020

IMG_2021

IMG_2022

Then I drove for a while, listening to throwbacks the whole way.

Then I skydived (dove?).

Then I made my way to my next destination: a B&B on the outskirts of Kingston, Ontario. So cute!

IMG_2032

IMG_2033

Once again, one bed to nap in and another to sleep in. I’m so #blessed.

Then I gathered some things (aka my book and wallet) and headed to the center of Kingston for some dinner! Another cute town; for those of you who live around the Swarthmore/Wallingford area, it reminded me a lot of Media. Very residential on the outer edges but then a ton of cute shops and restaurants in the town center. Really cute!!!

IMG_2035

IMG_2040

I ended up at an awesome sushi place; YUM.

IMG_2043

IMG_2044

IMG_2047

After dinner I grabbed some gelato (naturally) and explored the city a bit more.

I know I told you it reminds me of Media… it does!

But then there’s a harbor.

IMG_2053

IMG_2060

IMG_2063

IMG_2078

IMG_2082

IMG_2096

IMG_2051

IMG_2066

IMG_2098

IMG_2103

IMG_2107

I saw the most amazing sunset on my way home (don’t worry, I pulled over to take this photo).

IMG_2140

When I got back I showered and then relaxed for a bit before falling asleep!

Next (and final) stop: Toronto!!!

P.S. I’m seriously reliving this moment over and over and over.

Don’t tell my mom

This morning, waking up early to finish up yesterday’s blog post, I geared up to drive about five hours to go SKY DIVING.

At around 4pm I was all geared up and ready to willingly jump out of a plane towards this beautiful earth.

This is definitely the craziest thing I’ve ever done and probably will ever do.

I went to a place in Gananoque, Ontario: home of the 1000 Islands. Farmland all around; there were about twenty cows grazing in a field about 20 meters away from the skydiving place.

I arrived pretty early because I had made great time coming from Quebec City, so I got all registered and everything, settled in, had a bite to eat (aka stuffed chips into my mouth), had some water, and then sat outside to watch other people fall from the sky.

Seeing them up there… they look like dots in the sky and then all of a sudden they’re landing right next to you. It’s surreal! Well, every part of this was surreal — seeing people dive and diving myself.

IMG_2030

I would soon jump out of this very plane

I would soon jump out of this very plane

IMG_2029

I was surprisingly calm; the lady at the front desk was surprised that it was my first jump!

I mean, it’s not like I was going to just fall out of the sky. I had a professional strapped on to my back; I was in great hands.

It also helped that everyone who came down before me had a huge smile on their face and kept saying “that was awesome!” over and over (which is what I ended up doing too).

Finally, it was my turn! They took forEVER to get everything ready, because I was one of only two guest jumpers, so they were kind of trying to wait to see if anyone else showed up to take a full load (in the plane). No one else showed up so FINALLY a bunch of the regular jumpers there decided to come along.

I got the whole spiel from my instructor, Dean, telling me what to do and when. It was so crazy and so exciting.

DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO

Then we all boarded the plane! Super tight quarters… everyone was straddling each other — it got super friendly super quick.

My buddies and I

My buddies and I

Then, one by one, they jumped out — then IT WAS MY TURN.

It was so surreal, I barely even remember it. I got into position, attempted to smile, and then JUMPED.

DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO

The initial free fall was really cool, but the air is so thin up there and you’re moving so quickly that it’s really hard to take a deep breath, which got in my head a little bit. I tried to remind myself it’d be over soon, and as soon as Dean brought up the parachute it was all perfect. Then we were just gliding and gliding over what looked like toys.

It seriously looked like I could pick up the farm houses and cars (including cute Shamanda who I could see from the sky) and put them in a dollhouse or something. It was so magical.

After marveling at the sights and getting to steer the rig a bit (which is SO difficult and definitely told me that I have to hit up the gym and lift some weights), we landed! It was super smooth.

DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO

DCIM102GOPRO

Having a ~moment~ with my instructor

Everyone was SO sweet!!! I had such an amazing experience.

I’m probably never doing that again, but I’m so happy I did it and will NEVER forget it!

P.S. My two fave photos from the jump:

DCIM102GOPRO

cool, calm, and collected

DCIM102GOPRO

Crawling to safety

Sweet dreams are made of these

I woke up with that song stuck in my head; I think I heard it last night at some point…

Day 2 in Quebec City!

Day 2 in the most photogenic city in Canada.

Day 2 of the softest, kitchen-sink-washed hair.

I woke up around 7:30 but didn’t get out of bed for some time. I’ve been losing a little bit of steam as far as early morning exploring goes. I’ve only been in each city for such a short while that I feel pressured to really discover as much as I can about each given area in that time. It can be stressful! The sights are beautiful, but I kinda just wanna go to the beach… Ah, well.

The airbnb pillows are THE. WORST. Way too soft; they become nothing once you lay your head down. I woke up super sore yesterday for that reason, but luckily (I’ve been saying that a lot in this blog, but I really do feel lucky) I had packed a just-in-case pillow. It, along with the blanket laying under all of my bags in the trunk of my car, really came in handy for when I went glamping — I had forgotten that bedding was not included in the camper and that I should bring my own. Luckily (!!!) I had packed all of that (by mistake)!

The point is, I wasn’t sore this morning; thank goodness for my pillow!

First thing in the morning, after dressing myself in possibly the weirdest outfit ever (I couldn’t decide if I should be comfy sport or comfy chic so it ended up being sort of a mix of both), I headed to Canyon Sainte-Anne, a forty minute drive away. I was really excited to see it, and boy was it worth it.

IMG_1753

IMG_1757

IMG_1758

IMG_1759

Pont Mostachibo — the beginning of the canyon

IMG_1777

IMG_1780

IMG_1790

IMG_1969

Not for those with health problems or really out of shape people like me -- almost decided to give up and camp out at the bottom

Not for those with health problems or really out of shape people like me — almost decided to give up and camp out at the bottom

IMG_1796

IMG_1823

IMG_1862

It was so magical. I’m surprised it doesn’t attract more tourists!

On the way back to Shamanda, a coyote tried to eat me but instead we became lifelong pals.

IMG_1827

Now, back into the city! This time it was to catch a tour of the countryside. I hadn’t gotten a ticket yet, so I did that first thing at around 10:20, but since the 10:30 bus was already full, my tour wasn’t until 1. So, I sat down for another huge but incredibly delicious breakfast  and then explored the town for a while, going in and out of boutiques and shops, miraculously walking out with not a single elephant figurine.

I did buy some new shades, though.

IMG_1863

IMG_1830

IMG_1835

IMG_1836

Almost bought this in the church gift shop but then I felt silly so I didn’t

IMG_1838

IMG_1840

IMG_1839

IMG_1847

IMG_1848

IMG_1850

IMG_1854

Finally, it was time for my tour! The bus was super late, but here are a few things I noticed while I was waiting:

  • The overly exhausted child who claims he’s ‘not tired’ is universal and can be easily spotted in any language
  • Some people really just have no sense of their surroundings

I also finally found a fellow solo traveler! Unfortunately…

The hate; er, I mean hat.

The hate; er, I mean hat.

I tried to get away from him as fast as I could. And then… he sat RIGHT behind me on the bus.

IMG_1968

He breathed that heavily the entire tour.

He also never got off of the bus once (we made stops along the way) and was either passed out asleep or on his iPad for the entire bus ride.

IMG_1891

Don’t get me wrong, though; I’m not trying to be mean. I have a close friend who supports this party as well and we get along just fine. More than fine! However, this dude made me REALLY uncomfortable. I’m not sure what it was exactly, but I felt the need to get away from him any chance that I could.

Anyway, back to the tour! It was beautiful! I could’ve discovered everything I wanted to by myself in Shamanda (probably saving some money), but I was glad to give her a break (and myself, because I was actually able to drift off in a moving vehicle for the first time in almost two weeks!!!).

The driver was funny, cracking little jokes along the way. Before we left the meeting place he said, “Alright close enough, let’s go” after he counted how many people were on the bus, which got everyone laughing — especially this dude near the front with the most comical laugh I’ve ever heard. Hard to describe, though, so I won’t even try. Just imagine what you think of as a comical laugh and that’ll be his laugh.

The driver also said something so accurate that I got angry at myself and all other Americans: “Your English is probably better than mine. But my English is WAY better than your French.” Ugh.

IMG_1881

It was really difficult to capture photos from the window of the bus, so I didn’t get a lot of pictures this time around.

Our first stop was Île d’Orléans, and island right outside of Quebec City. We stopped at a chocolate factory where I got THE tastiest gelato.

IMG_1893

Quebec City in the distance

IMG_1882

Chocolaterie de l’Jle d’Orleans

IMG_1885

I think I had a dream about that gelato last night.

Next stop: my second waterfall of the day! This time, the Chutes of Montmorency.

IMG_1897

IMG_1904

IMG_2018

IMG_1925

IMG_1928

IMG_1933

IMG_1948

IMG_1971

My favorite thing about traveling alone is that nobody cares if you decide to skip the huge staircase to the top of the waterfall because you’re too out of shape.

That didn’t actually happen, but I wish it had with every step towards the top. The view was only a little worth it. (Just kidding the view was amazing.)

This girl doesn’t need a cable car to get to the top!!! Although it would’ve made for a much less sweaty excursion.

On the way back down I spotted a couple who were on the tour as well. The man was frantic, trying to figure out how to get back down; he thought they were going to miss the bus. They had plenty of time, but he was very stressed. Speed walking, he left his wife (girlfriend?) in the dust. I felt so bad for her, she was moving as quickly as she could but he stayed ahead of her the entire time.

She was pissed (arms crossed and everything) for the rest of the day.

After hiking back down, I joined the rest of the tour waiting outside the bus for the driver to let us in. A lady came up to me, speaking another language, commenting on my rosy cheeks. Classic.

The next two stops were just okay. One was to a family run copper museum (super interesting but I have no photos) and another was to a bakery that was built in 1652.

IMG_1964

Finally, we stopped at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. Beautiful, but we stopped here for forty-five minutes. Much too long — I was ready to get back to the city.

Alpaca (& others) farm

Alpaca & friends

IMG_2004

IMG_1994

Fun facts of the day:

  • More people live in California than in Canada
  • You need 40 gallons of tree sap in order to make 1 gallon of maple syrup

Favorite sign:

  • “Anquites” (no, that’s not how you say antiques in French… it’s just totally misspelled).

The tour was great, but you definitely had to enjoy it at the speed of the slowest person; just like math class. You couldn’t stay later anywhere because then you’d be stranded; you couldn’t leave somewhere if it didn’t interest you as much because you had no way of getting anywhere.

We were almost always waiting for a few people after the time we said we would all meet back at the bus, so that put us behind schedule even more (the bus had already been late). We got back to Quebec City at around 6:15, so I walked around a bit in search of a restaurant. Starving, I finally sat down at a cute place with terrible music choices. I mean, they were fun for me because I was alone and able to sing along and not worry about making conversation, but seriously. This was a portion of their playlist:

  • It’s Raining Men
  • 9 to 5
  • Footloose
  • Don’t You (Forget About Me)

The hostess sat me down at a table outside and said, “you can sit here and people watch!”

She knows me so well.

I ordered the lobster club roll, but I didn’t really know what that even meant… Well, I was very, VERY pleased, to say the least.

YUM.

IMG_2017

After dinner I walked around for a little bit before heading to grab Shamanda and driving back to the apartment. The city looks so beautiful at dusk.

IMG_2012 IMG_2013

Then I headed back, finished the last of the cookies, danced around to some musica, packed up, and then went to SLEEP!

And now I’m off!

Quick pit stop in Kingston, Ontario before heading to Toronto to end my tour!

Tired

I’m tired.

Too tired to write a post.

Too tired to even think of a creatle.

So tired that I just combined the words “creative” and “title” by mistake.

At least I’m not too tired to realize that mistake.

But I am too tired to think of another word so that I don’t use “mistake” twice in a row.

Too tired to even use thesaurus.com.

You get the point.

I’ll post as soon as I can; I just have to plug myself into the wall to charge up a bit. I’ve been on low power mode for the past two hours but I’ll put myself on airplane mode so I charge up as quick as possible. Heck, maybe I’ll even turn myself completely off so as to —

Too tired to know when to stop talking.

Now I’m too tired to even finish this po

Welcome to the most photogenic city in Canada

Alright; day one in Quebec = complete!

I woke up a little later than I wanted to, only to find out that the hot water for the shower wasn’t working. Desperate to at least wash my hair, I decided to wash it in the kitchen sink…

Somehow, my hair ended up being the softest it’s ever been.

But that’s besides the point.

I got a pretty late start, leaving at around nine to drive to the center of Quebec City for a day of exploration! I had booked a walking tour way back when, but unfortunately there was more traffic than anticipated and finding parking took even more time, so I missed the departure for that.

I was only about two minutes late (such a let-down), but I had been in such a rush that I had forgotten the voucher in Shamanda.

However, instead of dwelling on my mistake and letting it ruin my day, I decided to do another one of those hop-on-hop-off tours, so I bought a day pass at the information center and ~hopped~ on! I did the same thing as last time, doing the whole tour once and marking off the places that interested me. Gah; these streets are so beautiful.

IMG_1443

IMG_1451

IMG_1524

IMG_1484

I took a ton of photos on the tour, but given that I was taking them from the top of a bouncy, moving bus, most of them aren’t the best.

IMG_1607

The streets all just have so much character. Such unique architectural elements… it really felt like a European villa.

Tour highlight:

  • The two ladies in front of me who kept on raising their phones to take a photo just after we passed a landmark. They didn’t get a single photo the entire hour and a half tour. Seriously, it should be an SNL skit (if it isn’t already).

This tour wasn’t as great as the one in Montreal because in Montreal there was a live tour guide; this time, it was a recording that you’d listen to with headphones. Also, the bus kept going down the same streets so it got a little repetitive (especially when I did the tour again). Half of that is because most of the streets are one-way so the bus had to do some U-turns, but the other half seemed to be because the tour itself was a little disorganized (stopping at places we had already passed, etc.).  Still, enjoyable, though! Even if the bus driver didn’t wait for you to sit down before driving away.

After the initial tour I was unbearably hungry, so I walked around for a bit looking for a cafe or something. I ended up at a place called l’Omellete, where the guy who showed me to a table asked me, “You’re alone? Where’s your boyfriend?”

I’m sure you were trying to be flattering, dude, but I happen to love eating by myself.

  • Your meal goes much quicker .
  • You don’t have to worry about what you look like while eating. If food falls out of your mouth, no one cares! Except maybe the bartender in front of you.
  • You don’t have to share the bread.

Also, I talk to myself way more than half of the couples I’ve seen sitting together.

IMG_1744

After my wondrous meal of eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee I made my way back to the meeting area for the bus. This time, I got off when I wanted to. I also listened to the tour in Spanish, just for shits and gigs. Of course, I didn’t understand a lot of it, but I do know “derecha”  from “izquierda,” so at least I knew where to look.

IMG_1565

IMG_1573

IMG_1579

IMG_1595

IMG_1589

Classic.

IMG_1599

IMG_1738

IMG_1614

IMG_1619

IMG_1633

IMG_1638

IMG_1643

IMG_1650

IMG_1656

IMG_1673

Oldest grocery store in Quebec City!

I didn’t have as much time as I wanted, so I didn’t stop at every stop. I did get to see what I really wanted to see, but one day is definitely not enough to see everything! Luckily, I have another day!

Highlights of the day:

  • Passing the Church of Scientology (about five times)
  • The Asian family wearing the exact same shade of light blue
  • The store called “Baguette & Chocolat” — sounds like my kind of shop
  • The street performer singing Ring of Fire
  • Whenever my BFF bus driver greeted me with, “Hello again!” How/why he recognized me time and time again after driving so many people all day, I have no idea.
  • The fact that when my brain isn’t ready to hear French, I hear English. For example, as I was boarding the bus for the last time, I heard someone say, “I only come with schoolwork,” and I thought that she was making fun of me for having a book out, but when I listened further I realized she was speaking French. I have no idea what she actually said…
  • When I happened upon some opera:

IMG_1742

IMG_1743

There were also so many horses used for carriage rides; they looked so sad. Ugh!

After I grabbed the last bus of the day and landed back in the meeting area, I grabbed a quick dinner at Portofino, and Italian restaurant (where I could get 15% off by showing my wristband from the bus tour).  It was yummy! Not photo worthy, but definitely filling.

It was pretty frantic in the restaurant, especially behind the bar. It’s a miracle that the bartender didn’t spill anything! It really felt like one of those restaurant iPhone games in which you have to please as many customers as possible before the day ends (the time runs out).

I walked around for a bit more after dinner and then eventually ended up in the parking garage to pick up Shamanda. I had my ticket out and ready but then accidentally left it on the top of my car, so when I drove out of the spot, it flew off. I didn’t realize what had happened until I got up to the pay window, and I thought I was going crazy; I had just had it in my hand.

LUCKILY, I retraced my steps and found the ticket. PHEW; I was so relieved, because if I hadn’t found it I would’ve had to pay a lost ticket fee… no thanks.

I drove back without a GPS (I’ve made this a habit recently; I’ll only insert the address into my phone if need be). My sense of direction has improved so much… It’s amazing how much signs will tell you!!!

I stopped at a path I passed on the way back and walked for quite a bit. It was beautiful! And so relaxing.

IMG_1695

IMG_1712

I passed a French-speaking man walking his dog on the trail and he looked at me and said something in French… I apologized and told him that I don’t speak French. He adjusted and then translated his comment for me. Except I have no idea what he said. I think it was something along the lines of “Tom Cruise my dog,” but I cannot be too sure… Or sure at all.

IMG_1725

On the way home, I turned on the radio to listen to the one English station they had. They were interviewing a woman who owns a retail store in Quebec somewhere. She was telling the story about how her store has been broken into twice (four attempted break-ins in total) but the thieves only steal mannequins each time, none of the expensive boutique clothing on the mannequins (or elsewhere in the store).

Quite interesting.

Then I tried to take an “I’m so tired” selfie but I was apparently too tired to do that. 

IMG_1736

The sunset looked so beautiful from the deck of my apartment.

IMG_1741

Then, I turned on another Netflix original movie: Remember Me. It wasn’t a light movie in any respect, but I really enjoyed it… until SOMETHING TOTALLY UNNECESSARY HAPPENED IN THE END THAT I WON’T TELL YOU ABOUT BUT KNOW THAT IT WAS TOTALLY UNNECESSARY AND I AM ANGRY.

I was so angry that I made some more cookies.

Now… I’m awake way too late. Another long day tomorrow.

Yay Quebec City!

Older posts

© 2019 Miss Daisy Driving

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑