A Travellerspoint blog

Bristol - London - Toronto

This is an old journal, from our trip around the world in 2002, taken from the diary I wrote at the time. Apologies for the poor quality photographs, they are scans of prints taken with a compact camera.


View Around the World for our Silver Wedding 2002 on Grete Howard's travel map.

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The journey up to Heathrow’s Terminal 4 is uneventful. As usual I sleep for a while during the drive. At the airport there are long queues for check in – more people than I have ever seen there before. Apparently it is a combination of the Half-Term holiday and a computer breakdown. By asking around we find out which check-in desk we will be using, and cheekily join before our flight is announced. That way we save ourselves a lot of time in the queue. As it is, we wait for over an hour before we get to the front of the queue and we have only just enough time to have breakfast, buy some Bacardi and go to the gate. In the rush to get David another camcorder battery in Dixons, we miss the entrance to our gate, hurrying past. Another queue. Our seats are right at the back of the plane, behind an extended Indian family.

The front page of my scrap book, showing the route and all the different modes of transport we used.

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The usual activities on the flight: sleep, eat, sleep, drink. Toronto Airport is enormous, much bigger than Heathrow. At the luggage carousel we are patiently waiting for our cases to appear – only to find that someone has already taken them off for us and they have been sitting on the floor the other side of the carousel all along. Doh! Toronto is the only destination on this trip where we do not have airport transfers included and pre-arranged. Not through choice, it just wasn’t available. We manage to locate the Airport Express which goes into town every half an hour, and establish that we need to get off at the bus station and walk from there to reach our hotel. Just outside the airport an accident has blocked the highway and the bus has to drive the opposite direction and take a long detour to rejoin the carriageway into town. We recognise parts of Toronto from our last visit and look out of the window as we are nearing the place where we have worked out that the hotel must be located. At one of the stops for another hotel, we see ours right across the road. The lady in the information booth didn’t tell us there was a bus stop just a few yards from the front door of the hotel!

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The Metropolitan Hotel is a standard, pleasant four-star hotel. Large, but the staff are friendly. We are apparently upgraded to a Superior Room, not sure what the difference is. Angela, the Concierge very kindly reconfirms our flights for us. The hotel has a Business Centre with e-mail access, and although it is closed, Angela takes us up there, unlocks the door and leaves us there to close the door behind us when we leave. At $20 per hour, we don’t linger at the keyboard. It is too early to eat, so we wander along to the Wolf and Firkin Bar, as recommended by Angela. Where would we be without dear old Angela! The bar looks like it’s part of a chain, they serve bog-standard food, but the barmaid is extremely efficient and very chatty. David is in his element as they serve Cider on tap! We get chatting to one of the regulars; he used to live in Churchill and tells us all about it. He was only 18 at the time, having jumped ship, and I get the impression that he was only there for the easily available sex. Like many others, he tells us that we won’t be able to see the Northern Lights in Churchill. We have been told that it is ‘not far enough north’, ‘not cold enough’, ‘wrong time of year’. We prepare ourselves that we won’t be seeing the Aurora Borealis after all – David was really hoping to. I saw them many years ago in Norway, and they really are spectacular. The guidebook mentions Churchill as one of the best places in the world to experience the lights, but perhaps it’s not meant to be.

This being the first day of a very long trip, we don’t want to overspend on dinner, so we end up in a fast food restaurant on Yonge Street serving Burritas and Pizza, before having an early night in the room. The Rolling Stones are staying in the same hotel; their rather fantastic mobile home is parked outside. We couldn’t work out whether it was a bus or a truck; it was the bus driver who informed us it belongs to the Stones.

Posted by Grete Howard 03:53 Archived in Canada

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