Friday, 27 July 2007

Home from Travels

We've been home from our travels for two weeks now and I've had some time to digest and muse on various aspects of the trip. The beginning was into uncharted territory. Neither of us had been on an ocean liner in years (over 30 come to think of it) and though I had visited New York, I hadn't been there since the 60's. Cliff had never been there. Both the ship and New York were a revelation. The ship was more luxurious than I expected and there was so much to do that we were often torn between activities. And everyone was happy - the crew and the passengers. The food...oh the food was wonderful and there was so much of it and available nearly all day. New York was so alive. I had not expected to like it more than London or Paris but I did. Now admittedly, we were only there for two days but it was enough to make me sure that I had to go back. What New York has over the other two cities for me is the people. They are so...I'm not sure of the alive (to go back to one already used). I'll have to think on this and write more.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

More pictures from the trip!

Cliff's nephews Andrew (on top) and Geoff (on the bottom).

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Soon we'll be home!

It's hard to believe that this holiday is nearly over! I've looked forward to it for so long. I am excited about going home because I have so many things that I want to get going on. That must be the sign of a good holiday. You're refreshed and inspired to go in new directions.

It has been an interesting visit to Canada, one that I will have to go home and ponder. Canada is both the country I left and not. I suppose that is to be expected. However, I'm not sure about how I feel about the changes. Again, I will have to think a while about them.

Cliff is very relaxed and much more positive about life. What a relief! Emma has plans for him to work on some bluegrass tunes with her when he gets back. I hope that he decides to do that since it would be good for both of them.

I have lots of pictures to post when I get back to England so I will sign off here and return on the weekend.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

The Back Forty

Hi all! Sorry that you haven't heard from me in a while but I have been up in Marmora and haven't really had the time to spend on the Internet. It's rather nice, in fact, being away from the computer. We are having a wonderful time here and the weather has been good. It has rained and it has been hot but that is to be expected. It has also been cold. However, best of all, we haven't encountered too many mosquitoes. I have read one wonderful book, The Shadow of the Wind, and am reading another, 'The Athenian Murders'. I encourage you to read both!

More another day!

Friday, 6 July 2007

Today's photos

These were taken at dinner down by the St. Lawrence Centre (for those who know Toronto).

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Toronto, here we are!

We have arrived and another portion of our trip is over. I'm a little sad about that because it all seems to be rushing by. However, we still have Toronto and two weeks at the cottage to look forward to. This is beginning to sound like 'the glass half full or half empty'. I hope you understand what I mean.

The train trip was great! Amtrak is great! The only down part of the trip was the hour and a half wait at Niagara Falls, Ontario for immigration and customs. We had business class seats which only cost $24 more. They were so comfortable, with leg rests and enough room that the seats could go nearly all the way down so that you could sleep. The snack car was in our carriage so that it was easy to get food and drinks. Moreover, since we were in Business, the tea, coffee and soft drinks were free!

We sat on the riverside of the train (Hudson and then Mohawk) as suggested by the porter in New York. It really was beautiful in spots but I couldn't get any photographs because the train went so fast. A shame! (If I had been on a British train, that wouldn't have been so much of a problem!)

They had electrical outlets on the train! Wow! I could use my laptop to play some games (I forgot to buy a deck of cards!!) and just play around in general!

We are staying in a B & B in Toronto called Banting House. I stayed here two years ago and loved it. Unfortunately my chemo brain have been at work again and though I was sure that I had booked a second night, they only had record of the first. Luckily the B & B next door has room for us for Thursday. This has been our only glitch so far so not bad, I suppose.

I'm looking forward to breakfast. I can smell the coffee from the third floor. It's calling me down (not that I like coffee other than the smell) but I should wait since Cliff is still asleep!

More later! Pictures too, perhaps!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Love those newspaper headlines!

Pictures from the ship and New York

Hi all. Today I'm just going to post some pictures from our visit to New York. There's also one of me at the pool in my new bathing suit. Probably of more interest to my immediate family. At the top there are pictures of Macey's Department story from the outside and the ground floor. The picture of Cliff was taken in a great little diner we've found. The picture of me is on the boat at the swimming pool.

We've had a wonderful time today. We went to breakfast at our local diner and later set out to walk up 5th Avenue to Central Park. What a walk! We've seem people of all shapes and sizes, and some strange and amazing stores. Imagine a store just for girls called, The All American Girl Store. There's even one called 'Build Your Own Bear'. We didn't go and check but I actually think you can in some way design your own bear.

The most amazing place was the Apple store. The store was below ground level and the entrance to the level was a huge glass box. It's rather like the glass pyramid entrance to the Louvre in Paris. The place was buzzing with people trying out the new I-phone. Of course, I had to try it to. Wow! But I'll never bring myself to spend that much money. There's a great article about the I-phone in the New York Times (July 2). I'll try and find the link to it in case you're interested. I decided to by a small speaker system for my I-pod. It was half the price of the UK equivalent.

After the Apple store, we went to Central Park and had a carriage ride. It is a wonderful park...much more than a park. Certainly there is nothing like it in the UK. However, it was inspired by a park up near Birkenhead. (I learned that on Gardener's World.)

Tomorrow morning we leave the hotel at 6 for our 7:15 train. The station is a few short blocks away but we need to go through checks for the US/Canada boarder crossing. Tonight, we're off to find some drinks and food, just in case.

Monday, 2 July 2007

We are in the most bizarre hotel!

We certainly are in the most bizarre hotel! The Gershwin in New York. I read about it in the Guardian and thought it sounded interesting. It is but it's perhaps a little too interesting! I will explain more later! We arrived in New York early this morning. Cliff and I got up around 4:30 so that we could watch the ship come into port. It was great. I have lots of good pictures which I will post at a later date. We got off the ship around 10:30 and got through customs and immigration much more quickly than I would ever have imagined. I did have my finger prints taken (index finger of both hands). They didn't take Cliff's. I wonder why? We took a taxi in to the city and got to our hotel just before noon. Of course, the room wasn't ready so we left our luggage and went to Penn station to sort out our train tickets for Wednesday. What an experience walking through the streets of New York. Such a buzz. It's a far more multi-cultural than London. The section we went through on the way to the station reminded me of Aleppo. We are not far from the Empire State Building and Maceys. I don't think we'll go up the Empire State Building but we will visit Maceys. We're also going to try and walk up to Central Park. We had lots of plans but I realize now that we need more time. We wanted to go to Coney Island before it closed next year but I don't think that will happen. Ah well! And Emma, I haven't seen any Statue of Liberty statues yet. Would a t-shirt do? With the statue on, I mean. Actually, I haven't seen any of them either! We've found a diner for dinner tonight so at least we'll be able to check that off the list.

New York, New York!

It's 6:30 am and we are slowly moving towards our docking area in New York harbour. It has been an amazing morning. I wish I could send pictures but I packed my phone, my only way of taking digital pictures. I'll post more later today. Perhaps with pictures once we reach the hotel. Wish us luck with US immigration. It's rather daunting, just thinking about it.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Happy Canada Day to All!

And that is about all I have to say. Hope everyone has had or is having a great day. We have beautiful sunshine on our last day on board. However, it's still very breezy! I'll write more once I get to New York!