Monday, July 27, 2015

Karate / Pan Am / Montréal

Summer proper has arrived.  It's hot and humid (finally).  Henry is going on lots of day trips with daycare.  Bowmanville Zoo, splash pads, parks, Planet Fun, Riverdale Farm, etc...

Currently Henry is in Manitoulin Island with his dad.  While I miss him dearly, I used the time to take a quick weekend trip to Montréal as well as am able to focus on my new job, still with Thomson Reuters.

Before Henry went on holiday, we had a chance to take a 1/2 day off together and see a Pan Am Games karate match.  He seemed to most enjoy watching the fight between Canada & the US.  The US won.

Leading up to this event, I had drawn around 20 flags for Henry to colour-in.  The plan was for Henry to colour-in all 41 of the participating countries of the Pan Am Games, but time has not been our friend.  So far, Henry has coloured in 9.  For each flag, we learned a little bit about the country's history as well as watched a travel promotional video on YouTube.  I'd have to say the top destinations to visit are now:  Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda.

Pan Am Flags

Pan Am karate match
Stumbled upon Beaches Jazz fest after karate
So while Henry travelled to Manitoulin, my friend Kara & I boarded a Via Rail train to Montréal.   Let's narrate IN PICTURES:  

On our way!
Well-located hotel, felt rather Parisienne

Hippy Poutine - Kara's first foray into Quebecois cuisine

After the Hippy Poutine, a walk around my favourite parc
(Parc La Fontaine) was in order.

Morning walk to Avenue Duluth, mon favourite aussi  

Chez Jose

Kara @ Chez Jose, just before those
chocolate croissants came out of the oven
One of the dozens of street art photos we took
After breakfast, we cabbed it to Atwater Market


Atwater Market
As Kara loves antiques, a walk through Little Burgundy & Griffintown
gave us a pleasant way to get to Old 

Cat art


We made it to Old Montréal, soon to be on a patio
After a brief rest at the hotel and walk around Rue Sherbrooke/ Saint Laurent / Prince-Arthur, we headed down St. Denis for dinner.  Then we watched a 30 min. firework display at the Old Port before heading back to the hotel.  

In the morning, we hit up Mile-End for a tasty breakfast.  (sorry no pictures!)  As we walked around Fairmont and St-Viateur, we stocked up on more pastries and coffee before cabbing to the train station.  

And so all in all, a very short, but very sweet trip.

Montréal continues to beckon me to explore and reconnect.  And so with that, à bientôt.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Planes, Cakes and Cat Umbrellas

This last week or so has been full of summer fun, centred around birthdays and family

Thanks mom for the cat umbrella...

I was treated to an afternoon on Ward's Island to mark the occasion of my 34th.



I'm not sure...

Henry requested a carrot cake for my birthday.
I did make my own wish though... 

Sushi with Laura in the Distillery with
Pan Am music & Pan Am protests.

Henry adopts the cat umbrella.
At GO Stn on our way to Niagara/Grand Island

Rainbow Bridge-- Henry still doesn't want his picture taken on it.

Meeting the newest addition to the family:  3mo old Nathan.


It was very hot inside the cargo plane, waiting for a chance to go up
into the cockpit.

But worth it.  Henry & Peter came armed with paddles.

Emily surveying the scene. 
Stephen right at home.

Stunt flying!

Shark plane!

Swimming to cool off.

Returning back home on the Rainbow Bridge

Party girl is 3 this year!!!

Super hero Henry -- has magic power of flying.

Luther's new home.

This next week Henry & I see Karate at Pan AM and then he goes off to Manitoulin for a week.  I'll be off to Montreal for the weekend.  

August?  At this rate, we need to slow down and stay put and soak up some summer in the city.

A bientôt.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Trip to St. John's, Newfoundland

There is a saying in Newfoundland that if you don't like the weather...wait 15 minutes.  Not ever having been to Canada's eastern-most province, I decided to pack for both Henry & I:

-running shoes
-waterproof boots
-winter vest
-hats & sunglasses

In the end, we needed it all!  One day I'm getting a sun burn, the next the heater was on in the kitchen as temperatures plunged down to 8 degrees Celsius.  

With the fog rolling into the harbour very often, it leaves a damp chill in the air that can cut right to the bone.

Despite the weather, which is a big part of life there as well as a big topic of daily conversation, it is the people and the geography of St. John's & Newfoundland that really charmed and gave us a spectacular summer holiday.

Which is best told IN PICTURES:

Pre-flight.  Henry was worried about getting motion-sickness.
We relaxed, went for a walk.  He had some candies, and viola, he was fine!

My friend & her boys greeted us at the most child-friendly
airport I've ever had the pleasure to witness.

Rockin' out

First stop:  signal hill for a typical view of St. John's.

Signal Hill

Next morning, the fog burned off.  Headed to Quidi Vidi for some stunning views.

Quidi Vidi

Rock climbing at Quidi Vidi

Rock throwing at Quidi Vidi

The 3 Scalleywags - swapped hats 

Maddox Cove/ Petty Harbour

Fish n' Chips --oh so fresh and scrumptious.

The crew.

Petty Harbour

Backyard fire pit, for warmth as well as ambiance

Somehow the boys stepped in dog poo.
Cleaning up~
After the b'ys were asleep, Julia & I hit Water Street.

Enjoyed some local fare at the Underbelly,
perhaps used to be a real speakeasy?

On the Sunday, we spent the bulk of the day at the revamped Bannerman Park, enjoying the splashed, park, bubbles, picnic and puppies.  Later that evening we were welcomed to a family Sunday roast out in Conception Bay.  Lots of children, space, play and merriment.  On the way home, we stopped by to check out Topsail Beach and as the sun was setting and we were heading to the car, someone set off a few fireworks, which just made Henry's day.  He kept asking to go back to Topsail beach to see more.

People sitting around fires, watching the sun set at Topsail Beach.

Topsail Beach

Topsail Beach

Monday morning was very foggy as you can see below.  Henry & I broke out for the day to do a little exploring.  First we went to The Rooms, which is a cultural heritage centre that sits overlooking the harbour and was designed with large viewing windows that make both the outside and the inside fascinating.  Henry learned a lot about the local birds and animals, as well as saw a pickled giant squid!

View from the The Rooms

The Rooms

Walking down to Duckworth
Visiting Julia's restaurant, finally!

One way to deal with global warming ;)

All of it, delicious, what a treat!

Back home, the boys made pizzas...

Only to discover that the pita was mouldy, although fresh from the store.
Apparently that happens fairly often as food travels a long way to get to Newfoundland.
So we transferred to a larger pizza base.

After pizza, a sleepover & pillow fight!

On our final day in Newfoundland, we packed up some food and drove down to Portugal Cove to catch a ferry to Bell Island.  We parked the car in line for the ferry and did some rock climbing around the bay. 

Eddie & Henry
Be careful b'ys!!!

Julia & George

Portugal Cove

The b'ys running down a quiet street to where we were to luncheon.

Ferry to Bell Island

Bell Island

Goats do roam

Bell Island

Wild strawberries.  Intensely good.

On the way to the hidden beach

Bell Island cliffs

Path to the hidden beach---see the tunnel in the distance?

Slate, slate, slate

Tunnel to hidden beach

Hidden beach & iceberg!

Henry & black sand

Tunnel into hidden beach

Iceberg floating by hidden beach

As we were leaving, horses and cows!
We hope to be back every summer, and no doubt, there will be much more to explore and experience each time.

A very good traveller.