Toronto Part 1

Last year when we went to Aruba our flight got delayed 3+ hours.  The next morning the boy awoke to JetBlue credits in his inbox!  It was a nice surprise and very unexpected…but the catch was we had to use it by May 2011.  Not wanting to plan a ‘real’ vacation again so soon, we decided to keep the costs down and go somewhere close.   We ended up choosing Toronto since it was on our list of places to go “someday”.

JetBlue doesn’t fly into Toronto, so we flew into Buffalo and then rented a car to drive across the border.  This way we could stop at Niagara Falls on the way as well.  A few emails and IM’s later, E was also on board to go on our mini vacation with us!

Day 1

After about 3 hours of sleep, we boarded a 6:30am flight to Buffalo without incident.  I think the boy and I dozed off before we even started to taxi! The flight was just over an hour and by the time they were done serving drinks, they were telling us to put our seats in the upright position for landing!

At Avis we ended up upgrading to a cute little G25x…I didn’t even know they made a G25!  After asking around, it was determined that we’d skip the American side of the falls and head straight to the Canadian side.  Our first stop was Queen Victoria Park.  We got a little lost going there…and I’m pretty sure we never made it.  I don’t think the address I took down was the right one…we did get out of the car at an empty parking lot though and wandered around a little bit.

The weather couldn’t have been worse that day.  (for the entire trip actually!)  It was so foggy, cold and misty out!  There were small foot bridges and little paths and brooks along the way but we didn’t want to wander in too far in fear of not being able to find our way back to the car!

Our second stop at the falls was Journey Behind the Falls.  The lower deck was still closed for the winter season because it was still icy, so our admission was discounted.  After an elevator ride down, we headed through a long and cold tunnel to one of the viewing platforms below.  From the instant you step into the tunnel you can hear the thunderous roar of the water flowing down.  It really was an amazing sight to see.  The viewing platforms are located behind the falls…hence the name…and you see the hundreds of thousands of gallons of water rushing over you.  You DO get a little wet from the mist that splashes in, especially when a gust of wind rushes by!

We had traveled ALL this way…we WERE going to see the falls even if the weather was tormenting us.  We went out to one of the viewing platforms and were greeted with rain, wind and more rain!  The fog was so thick we weren’t able to see across the falls.  We were just able to see the edge of the falls where thousands of chunks of ice were racing by us and going over the falls.  Eerily mesmerizing yet beautiful at the same time.

Video of the ice flowing here:  

 

Since we had an early/long morning so far, we decided just to have lunch at one of the tourist traps at the falls.  Nothing spectacular…it just filled our tummies and gave us some energy for the long drive ahead of us! At lunch I was able to score my ninja two swords!

The drive to the hotel was about an hour and fifteen minutes away.  We got stuck in a little bit of rush hour traffic but nothing unbearable.

As always, we are partial to the Westin so using the points and cash option, we got a great deal on the room!  The room was a typical Westin..nothing mind blowing, yet not lacking in any areas either.  Since it was pretty late in the afternoon when we got to the hotel, we checked in and relaxed a little bit before heading out to dinner.

There is a market across the street from the hotel where we went to buy some snacks and drinks for the room.  Our room had a small fridge that we kept the drinks in.  We didn’t want to wander far for dinner so we just checked out the small Greek place that was next to the hotel.  This wasn’t really a sit down type of place so we got our orders to go and headed back to the room to watch Tangled while we chowed down!  We weren’t expecting much, but we were pleasantly surprised by the meal!  The tzatziki sauce was probably the best I’ve had and they had something called “Greek fries” which were fries sprinkled with herbs and feta cheese which was awesome!

Since we were pooped from the day’s travel we called it an early night and headed to bed after dinner.

Expenses:
Breakfast at JFK $15
Tolls to Canada/Toronto $4.25
Parking at the falls $14
Penny Press $2
Lunch $100 (for the three of us)
Journey Behind the Falls $23
Drinks/Snacks for the room $22
Dinner $30

Day 2

One of the main reasons why  I wanted to go to Toronto was for Pacific Mall (and LaSenza but more on that later).  I was on the hunt for some bb creams and I didn’t want to make a purchase without trying it first.  Pacific Mall was filled with aisle after aisle of….ready for it?…THE SAME STORES.  How many bubble tea shops, cell phone accessory stores, makeup stores can you fit into one space?!  We strolled through all of the shops and and did some comparison shopping…most of the places had the same pricing.  I finally decided on a Misha bb cream in No. 23 and a sample pack of 4 Skin79 brand ones.

So far so good…I’m loving them…although I wish they came in darker shades.  Its nothing a little color correction with powder can’t fix.

On the top floor of the mall there is a small food court…with a Beard Papa! We grabbed a little snack and then we were off to find lunch.

We didn’t have to look far for lunch!  Walking back to the car we noticed a few restaurants to the side of the mall and decided to try out a Vietnamese place called Peach Garden.

Their ordering system is a little strange…instead of ordering with a waiter, you are given a little slip of paper and you just mark off the number and quantity that you want.

The food was decent.  Nothing overly impressive and I don’t think I’d make a point of returning here if I were to be in Toronto again.

After spending some time back at the hotel before we knew it, it was time for dinner.  Chinatown was near by so we headed over to check it out.  Not that many interesting restaurants over there nor was there much to look at. We ended up having dinner at a place called Mother’s Dumplings.

This place was more tourist trap than good food.  The dumplings were open on both ends so none of the juice stays inside.  Instead it leeches out and creates that weird, crispy, lace looking mess on the bottom.  The boiled dumplings were gummy and also a bit bland.  The bowl of noodles was flavorless.  E got a stir fried noodle dish and the boy got curry chicken over rice.  Neither were photogenic so they do not win a place on this blog!

 

Expenses:
BB Cream (Misha) $28
BB Cream (Skin79) $20
Bubble Tea at Pacific Mall  $4
Beard Papa at Pacific Mall $6
Lunch $26
Baos from bakery $5
Shower Gel $4.50
Trolley (from Chinatown to hotel) $6
Dinner $31

Full album of pictures from days 1 & 2 can be viewed here:
http://www.misstsien.com/Banana/TorontoPart1/

 

 

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