Sunday, July 24, 2016

DAY TRIP TO TORONTO ISLANDS

There is a little spot just south of the CN Tower where people can go to enjoy a great day swimming, sailing, sun-bathing, eating and drinking, and just enjoying nature. The sound of the sea (Lake Ontario feels like a sea) will echo in your ears, the hot sand will tickle your toes, and you can actually hear birds sing because there is very little traffic. Everyone will enjoy the day at Toronto Islands because it is such a great place to visit. I just can't believe that it took me so long to go. We left our house around 8:30 am and took the subway to Toronto's Union Station. A short walk from Union station got us to the ferry, which is only a few minutes ride. We walked around the outside part of the island, stopping once for lunch and then again on Hanlan's Beach to rest. By the time we got to the east side to catch the ferry back to Toronto it was 6 pm. What a beautiful day it was; the morning clouds cleared up by afternoon. I encourage anyone living in the area to take a day trip over there, it will leave you refreshed and renewed. 



The subway is the fastest and easiest way to get to Toronto. And these days, Toronto, is a hellish place for parking due to all the construction. 

Just waiting for the subway train, enjoying our first Tim's of the day.

Quite a few people await the ferry to the island. 

We take the ferry to Ward's Island, on the west side, since we plan to walk around the entire area.


We hope those clouds go away.

Great view of the city.


Just a few minutes on the ferry and then we are on the beach.

We stroll through a small community and check out the wildlife.

What's this? 

Interesting artwork.

Some people like sailing and boating.

Quaint cottages.


Some people like water sports.

Lunch at The Rectory Cafe. 


What are these people doing?




The CN Tower looms over the island every step of the way. Here, we are at the halfway point.




Some people like to hang out on the beach.

Some people like to burn their meat. 

Some people like to do Tai Chi.

Some people like to hang out on the nude beach.

Just like in the Caribbean. 

This is us getting burned on the nude beach.

Not everyone is as comfortable in their birthday suits.

The island airport.

Back in Toronto, time for a hot dog before heading home. What a day!




(A special thanks goes out to Ms. Kim Cattrall who inspired me to visit the island. Love Sensitive Skin!)







Monday, July 11, 2016

LONG WEEKEND AT SAUBLE BEACH

For the May long weekend, my family and I drove up to the shores of Lake Huron to the small community of Sauble Beach (population approx. 2000), where their motto is: live life slow.

After a tedious three hour drive (traffic was congested from Brampton to Orangeville) NW on Highway 10, we finally arrived at the Bel-Air Cottages’ main office. Glen, the owner, greeted me with a smile and processed my check-in. He gave me directions to Spruce Cottage and in minutes we were unpacking and inspecting the cottage.



Spruce cottage was quaint, clean, and modern. After opening the front door, there was a coat closet with a bedroom to the left and one to the right, both open-concept, no doors. You got to the kitchen from both sides. Off to the right bedroom, there was a bathroom: very small and every time you entered you had to be careful not to bang the door against the toilet. There was a shower so small that if you dropped your soap you would have a hard time trying to bend over to pick it up. A pedestal sink finished the bathroom. When you passed through the bedrooms, on either side, the kitchen brightened up as a result of sliding doors and a small window near the kitchen sink. There was a full size stove and refrigerator, and a microwave oven above the stove. A table was pushed up against the wall with three chairs and on the left side wall there was a futon sofa, an arm chair, and end table with a large lamp; like I said, very quaint, but with all the necessities of home.





The place was so clean that I didn’t spend my time disinfecting; however, I still sprayed Lysol, just for my own peace of mind. The patio was lovely with a table, umbrella, and four chairs. There was a good sized back yard with a fire pit. The fence obstructed our view of the beach, but without it there would be no privacy. Beyond the fence was a vacant lot, then the road, sand, water. There was a small opening to the left of the back yard to get to the beach, along with two other similar cottages, which, by the way, was up for sale: a half a million for all three cottages on a half-acre of land.

After we settled in and made our beds, I started cooking dinner. The place wasn’t well lit, so I burnt our first meal, but it was okay because the guys are used to my cooking.

After our meal of burnt food, we decided to play Monopoly and, as always, our son placed first. A short time later we heard fireworks and were amazed that they were firing off right outside on the beach, so we went outside to enjoy the display. We went to bed worn out from the drive and hoped that the weather the next day would be sunny.



We woke up to pouring rain and gray skies. While our son slept, my spouse and I went out to find a coffee shop. Just up the street from our cottage we found the main shopping area. We browsed through the typical touristy stores and, of course, I had to buy a dress and a souvenir. The shops were stocked with a fantastic array of beach attire and accessories, very impressive for such a small community. We browsed a few other places and found ourselves in the tattoo parlor. What else was there to do on a rainy day?








When we got back to the cottage our son got out of bed. I made lunch and we spent the rest of the day playing Monopoly, Queens, eating, and napping. Outside, the rain poured. After 6pm, the rain let up a bit and we were able to go out and explore the community.


We learned that most of the major shops were only open during the summer months. We visited a place called The Patch where my son bought a hip pair of sunglasses. Beautiful jewelry lined the walls, and I had a hard time passing by without buying something. We walked up and down the strip, browsed the assortment of goods, and strolled in and out of stores. The streets weren’t too crowded and the people were friendly despite the gloomy day. It started raining again and we headed back to the cottage. We ducked into a bakery to get out of the rain and ended up buying some bread, which was pretty damn good, so good in fact that we at the whole loaf at once!




Later in the evening, we went out to find some place to eat. We spotted a bar/restaurant called the Dunes and decided to have a look-see. There weren’t many cars in the parking lot, but when we entered, there was a line up to be seated. Once we heard the waitress tell the people before us that it would be an hour wait to be seated, we turned around and left. We found another dining place called DNL’s in a small strip mall and went in. The place was crowded, but we were seated right away. The waitress was pleasant and it didn’t take long to get our food. The servings were big, the food was good, and it was worth the cost. We left feeling satisfied. I started cleaning when we got back; the boys went for a walk. When they came back, my son went right to the bathroom. When he came out there was something hanging from my sweet baby boy’s nose. They went back to the tattoo parlor and my son got his nose pierced!  I cannot tell you how many emotions I felt in the instant that I saw the horseshoe dangling from the end of his sweet baby face. We played some more Monopoly, and I kept staring at that nose ring. I just couldn’t believe it. At sunset, we went to the beach for a walk.  The wind was cold and damp, but there were quite a few people on the beach. We took a walk, had some laughs, took some pics.





The next day was sunny, but with a cold wind blowing. We got up and headed to the beach, but I must have caught a chill the day before because I was freezing! While the boys were in the water, jumping over the waves, I was on the beach wrapped up in a blanket, trying to stay warm. The beach was crowded and I wanted to get up and have some fun in the water, but I was shaking. Instead, I watched kids play, admired skinny girls, and watched old folk adjust their sun visors. Two hours later, I headed back to the cottage and the boys followed later. I had planned on walking the 11km stretch up the beach, but I gave up the idea. When the boys got back, I laughed at their blue lips and red toes, then made them hot chocolate and tea.



Later, we ignited the bbq and had steak and chicken for dinner. Salad, bread, and fries accompanied. We played more Monopoly and Queens later in the evening and I still couldn’t believe that my sweet baby boy got a piercing. My sweet baby boy!





The next day we packed up and cleaned up. It was quite sunny out, which always seems to happen when we are vacationing; the very last day is always nicer than the rest. We stopped at Tim’s on our way to the highway and started talking about our next trip.


Cuba, here we come.