Today is tourists day. We have booked a 3 hour tour. We go first to the replica of Notre Dame. We have 20 minutes to look inside Notre Dame. Nahil and I go inside for $ 5 CAN, Sören remains outside, and thus missed an incredibly beautiful church. Inside, there is no spot that is not decorated. The altar area is overwhelming, I do not know where I should start to take pictures. There is much gold in the decorations, left and right are each 3 large figures placed in the middle is Jesus on the Cross with Mary Magdalene to his feet. The background is blue and beautifully lighted. I happened to hear that the inside area is something quite special, because everything is made of wood, even the ceiling. 20 minutes are not enough to discover everything, but we must go back to the bus, Andrew (our driver) is waiting. We decide to watch the light show tonight or tomorrow evening.
Next stop is the old part of Montreal. Actually, here is also a stop planned, according to information sheet. Our driver does not care for the planed stops but he speaks incessantly, and sometimes so loud that my ears are ringing. We hear the sentence, "It's a nice place to visit again. And easy to reach by metro" an estimated 20 times. He shows us rental bikes and explains exactly how you can rent a bike, by Credit Card, of course, and how easy they are given back again. We should also have a special glance at simple bicycle station at a metro. They look exactly like the ones we know from Germany. On the right hand side, we drive past a large gray building that formerly was a school, but today it is a retirement home. Yes, they do not need to get out when it's cold outside because you find everything inside what you need as a senior. I guess Andrew only wants to advertise, since the estimated average age would have to be over 60th in this bus.
Even Americans do not understand our Andrew, there is not anything like intonation and the shift from English to French is fluent. At the Olympic Stadium, we also consider a short stop, really short, to use toilets. The roof of the stadium can be opened properly, but since the Games in 1976 is no longer done. There is the Biodome, a real nice place to visit again. And almost opposite the Botanical Gardens where are a china’s lamp festival (what we already knew, because it is on our to-see list). Half the group is sleeping now, the man behind us, I would like to call him lovely Grandpa, reads the newspaper, since he can no longer follow Andrew. Until he has found the point Andrew is talking about Andrew gets further for 5 new attractions such as the hospital or the service station, including fuel prices. Here he gave us some advises when we should fill up, and how the traffic in Montreal works.
Up to Mont Real and the St. Joseph Oratory the Church with the second largest dome, the dome erected by brother Andre. My hope that we stop there disappears. But we do stop. Andrew warned us not to target the stairs, because we should decide to climb it and take a look inside the church he will pick us up tomorrow at the same time, but it's a nice place to visit again, is near the metro and the buses takes you directly to the Church. The church is huge, we shoot a few photos. After five minutes, we go back to our sleeping passengers in the bus. And it goes back down. A short stop at an observation platform from which you can’t see anything special of Montreal. The tower of the Olympic Stadium in Montreal is the only special thing but nothing from City.
After 2 hours and 45 minutes we're back at the Tourist Information. We have now some ideas of some nice places to visit again. After that, we first look for a shopping possibility for me to get me a decent jacket because it is damn cold. This we find in Dejardin Center. We walk to China Town from the Mall. Montreal's China Town is rather small but well equipped with many Chinese, it even has a Chinese gate.
Then we make our way to the car and the Botanical Garden. Admission $ 16, lot of money but worth it. The lantern show is really beautiful. Lanterns are all handmade in China and have been specially made for this exhibition to Montreal. The theme is stars, in the middle of a lake are star maps on a balloon held by two dragons, so some other Chinese constellations, the tiger, the snake, the dragon. Outside there are cranes, sea horses, dogs, Geishas, artists, dancers, musicians more than a few dragon lanterns. It is considered very beautiful. The $ 16 has been worthwhile, even more you would have paid off, we can see the entire huge garden, but we were too late so we go home.
Today I again have to drive RV. We have to take the car back to the rental service and we want to see more of St. Josephs. St. Josephs is huge, we do not have to walk stairs. I'm happy about this. From the inside, the building is spectacular, just because of the size, the church or oratory is up to the entrance rather cold, almost no ornaments and much concrete. The dome we see is not really the second-biggest of the world, because in the dome is a second, smaller dome.
In the museum area, we can see the heart of Father Andre, in some way weird. Back in our great car, a Chrysler PT Cruiser by the way, we drive to Alamo, returning the car.
I want to visit the Hard Rock Cafe. We decide to walk to the Hard Rock Cafe. In the street where it should be located a festival takes place, the Budwiser Hockey Challenge as we later find out. We are standing in front of the mentioned address, but unfortunately there is no Hard Rock Cafe anymore. Regardless, I'm hungry, and so we just take the Indians next to it. From our seats, we have great views of the small Hockey Arena where they go on seemingly plastic with real skates. On the ladies' room I find a poster that tells me that in the arena a celebrity hockey match takes place in a few minutes.
I ask the waiter whether these are "famous people" on the ice, he looks and thinks that are just people from the street. Aha, but the poster says celebrity match, but we don’t care. Our food is delicious, but a little too sharp for me. The people in front of the window are cheering a little to much, I think, if the players on the hockey area are only normal guys from the street. Nahil and I think that the waiter knows probably only musical performers. Shortly after our notion, he comes again and tells us that he has now find out that these people are radio station people were. Ah ok, would clarify that, so these are not NHL players.
We eat on, and make our way to Notre Dame Light Show, by the way we stop at HMV and buy Angry Girls in Love. I like this comic strip.
The trail seems to me to have no end and my feet hurt so much again. Finally we make it. Ensure that there will be 10 minutes in a light show there are to little people around the church. There are no light show today. Andrew has told us though that there is a light show, in this nice place to visit again, at 6 pm and 8:30 pm but the truth is only on Friday at 8:30 pm is a second light show, today is Thursday, and on Friday we will be back in the Algonquin Park.
Whatever I'll do the best and shoot some nice atmospheric photos with a tripod of Notre Dame at night. There is even a curiously passer-by who parked in front of us and waiting for a women who find my pictures very nice and talk to us a bit.
Since we liked the Algonquin Park so much, we have again signed up for 2 nights. We arrive in darkness and rain. The search for our place is difficult. Nahil stops at the RV, Sören gets out and seek our place. We wait and nothing happens. We are standing in the middle of the way and another RV has no chance to pass by, so I jump out and steer Nahil a bit backwards and decide also to search for the place. Funny, our camping place is right next to us and Sören is there, too. But instead of telling us this at first, so we can at least put the RV out of the way, he searches comfortable and in peace after the electricity connection. He wanted to first find the electrical box so that we can place ourselves correct. At that moment I was very, very annoyed. I know Sören only wanted the best but I’m tired, wet and a small pampered Angry Girl. Nahil and Sören find the fuse box, finally. I cook and we end the evening peacefully.
Today, I'm going hiking with Nahil. He was on his hiking day on a look out and thinks that this is a suitable walk for us. It is 13 o’clock, the sun is shining but it is very cold. I pack up the new jacket, tripod, granola bars. Nahil grabs towel and extra clothes. With camera and backpack, we go hiking. Through the woods, hills up and down. We pass a beautiful wild river, I take out the camera and tripod and start shooting. Then I see Nahil in the middle of a few stones. I get there with the help of Nahil. We take a few pictures of us there. Before me is a bit steep wall, I ask Nahil if the road where turns right at the wall and passes by. Yes, yes, the footpath goes by he says. Arriving at the wall we see that we have to climb the steep way. I feel quite differently, but say nothing. Then there is a steep uphill past the roots and rocks. I take my jacket off, because I get to warm. After this part the rest our way seems to be quiet simple. We find footprints of mooes, colorful trees, and above all incredibly beautiful composure. No one who answers to every little thing I say. Beautiful, simply beautiful! At the foot of the Starling Lakes I see a gray shadow in the woods flit past. I decide that it was a wolf. Then we hear a frightening hissing and growling, but we see nothing and go on easily.
Over wet slippery wooden boardwalks we move on and further up. A sign tells us that there are still 2 km to the Lookout. That we have to climb down a steep foothpath again was not mentioned there. With wobbly knees, but a definite goal in mind, I climb down along the roots, the trees are my good friends. Almost there, we discover poo of a moose. Well maybe we will finally see a moose itself. On the left we can look down already on the Starling Lake. We see something in the water swimming. Nahil think it could be a beaver, and runs like mad up the hill. Good that I have the camera bag and I certainly do not run when on my left side it goes down a steep 200-300 m. When I finally reach the top well, whatever it was is gone in the lake.
First set up a camera and tripod. What a wonderful view. The forest is even more colorfull than our first visit, the silence is very pleasant and I begin to take pictures like crazy. Then we see in the water forming two V's. Two beavers we are sure. Clearly, we perform an almost perfect change of the lens of the camera to zoom. While I still focus and zoom in, I hear the voice of my Sweetheart loud and full of despair: "Nooo, why do the beaver flying away now." Yeah, such flying beavers are a nuisance. After this disappointment, we decide to eat our granola bar and enjoy the view without the wild animals.
A few infrared pictures taken and pack it all again for the return. Above us dark clouds gather and I don’t want to be in the wilderness during a thunderstorm. The return is then also quite uneventful, I master the difficult passages from the way, just as an experienced hiker and am very excited about my unspeakable courage. The rumble of the thunder clouds get louder and we hurry on. Just in time, we arrive at our caravan before it starts to rain cats and dogs. I'm exhaust but happy, after a several hours long hike without moaning, bad mood or even injuries to be back at the campsite.
Today we are going back to Toronto. The ride is uneventful. I drive the RV, too and in the meantime I have become friends with our RV. The Indian Campground in Toronto is nice, slightly better than Glen Rouge. Via the Internet, we have booked a rental car again. The lady from the Camp Office describes to us as how we get to a mall, where we can also park and go in with the subway to Toronto. The trip to the mall turns out to be torture, because the mall is already very near Toronto and the traffic accordingly heavy. But my hero also creates the challenge. We pick up the rental car and rummaging a bit in the mall, we eat and return to camping ground.
Now that we have not seen any moose and bears, but only flying beavers, the shadow of a wolf, thousands of squirrels and chipmunks, and a solitary partridge, I insist on a visit to the zoo of Toronto. Like everything in Canada, also the zoo is huge. In the tropical house, we see hand-sized butterflies, and funny-looking ducks and birds. The monkey enclosure is huge and offers many things to play with. But all this does not interest me, I want to go to the moose. After a 30 minute hike, we come to the area for Native wildlife. In addition to wild cats, which are very beautiful but also smell strongly it goes down to the bears and moose.
At first we try to give the Grizzlies a visit. The male bear is about two and a half times as big as the stuffed black bear. His paws are as large as plates. I think I don’t like to make closer acquaintance with him in the wilderness. Since the bear has put himself to bed now, we continue to walk to the moose. And there it is, hard to believe, a moose-mama with it’s young in an enclosure. Some animals were either hidden in the large enclosures, or even in non-visitable homes. So I am thrilled to see a moose finally. We watch them a bit, walk a little around, eat a burger and walk to the area of the tundra with the polar bears, and deer and polar wolfs. Finally we go to stroke stingrays. In an extra hall, a swimming pool is situated in it the rays and sharks. First we have to wash our hands and then we can pet the animals. The Rays seem to enjoy the petting, since you only have to put your hand flat on the water and they then accurately swim to the palms. The sharks, however, have gathered in the center of the basin and do not even move a bit to the visitors. Just as well.
With aching feet, we waddle past the tapir to our car and then drive to Yorkdale Mall. We want to go to the cinema today. We watch Surrogates with Bruce Willis
Mornings will pack our stuff for the departure next day. Then we took a real Bavarian leather shorts and me in a Bavarian dress, with the Bavaria and Canadian flag raised in front of our caravan. We'll walk once more trough the City and visit the World Biggest Bookstore. While I buy 4 books, the boys find nothing. We have dinner at Hard Rock Café. We are a little sad, we have to say goodbye to Canada tomorrow.
Dumping the waste, throw away the food. Then we bring back the RV to Bolton. Ahead of us 2 couples are off, both pairs from Germany. I won’t tell what drama they made. I only can say poor cruise Canada staff. But the staff member stays calm and was nice the whole “show”. He deserves my respect.
Now it was our turn. Better, my turn. Nahil was so ashamed of the two German couples that he left the building. I told him, that we had a little problem, though we dumped three time today but the display shows still on full. He smiles and says, that would not be bad, there's probably only a little dirt on the sensor, that would be ok. He once checked the RV, except for the housekeeping fee for cleaning we get back the entire deposit. That's ok, because we had not really cleaned inside and consciously have reckoned with the fee.
We eat at Pizza Hut in Bolton. We checked in and this time even get all boarding cards. Luggage delivered, since we have time we sit there in a coffee shop and wait. Then we get in the plane and fly 7 hours. I even can sleep a little.
We were so fast that we would have to wait another hour in Amsterdam on the connecting flight as planned. We take a very expensive breakfast. Then we walk to our gate looking on every screen on the way if the gate was changed. Arriving at the gate, the gate has been changed in just this minute, of course, so once again all the way back. Shortly after 10 clock we finally land in Munich. Finally everything is done and we go home at last, we think. But no, my dad takes us only to my parents house because he has a new printer, and yes, he's been waiting 2 weeks on our return so Nahil could install it. At least we went home at 14 o’clock finally, after Nearly 27 hours awkae. I am happy and satisfied. I ‘m back from holiday without illness and injury.
Summarizing: The journey was great. The wilderness and landscape was amazing and beautiful. The few cities we visit were interesting. All people we met on our way were nice, outgoing and helpful. Also we were totally content with Cruise Canada and it’s Service. It was a adventure for every on of us. I was happy to have my two boys with me, who did often the dirt work and both cared very good for me. Sometime it was a bit exhausting for me with the two men, but I’m sure I was also sometimes exhausting for them. I would visit Canada right back again of cause with a RV from Cruise Canada.