After an early rise (07.00) we headed off to Hong Kong International for our 08.40 departure. This stage of the journey takes us to Toronto. A 14 hour flight that gets us there in daylight. We will be chasing the sun all the way. No photos out of HK – too much smog.
We broke one of the golden rules of flying – we didn’t check in electronically over the internet before turning up at the airport. The check-in staff were polite and helpful, until they told us that the plane had been overbooked by 10 people. Luckily, not every passenger had checked in, so she was able to place us in different sections of the plane. A polite chat to another passenger made way for a seat swap. Cathay Pacific has come through again.
It’s 02.30am Canadian time and the flight has overtaken the sun. I had read somewhere that if you set your destination time as soon as possible after take-off, you should then try and follow their time. It works in theory. Maybe time for a long-neck or long stem.
Pastel blue and cream coloured clouds have been replaced a foreboding night sky. All the sensible passengers have closed up the portal windows, shut down their entertainment touch screens and started the race for the loudest snorers and gas emitters. Sleep talking in English can be funny; the multiple languages sounds even stranger. All strangers together, in a tin can.
So the blinds are up, we can see the snow covered land below. The pilot has announced that due to the snow there is only one runway open and we are waiting for permission to use it, we land at 1230 and 45 mins later we get to the terminal, we have sat watching the ground staff work to make the taxi route accessible, snow was flying everywhere.
We navigate the boarder control bureaucracy and make it to baggage reclaim, having experienced the HK hyper-efficiency this was slow, however our bags arrived eventually and we managed to get in a taxi before we froze in the minus 7 degree heat. Taxis are fixed rate and painless.
Our room at the holiday inn was allegedly ready when we arrived, however we found our room was not done a quick talk to the to the guy at reception and our room allocation was changed our bags moved and a $25 voucher for our inconvenience and we are in our base for the next 10 days.
We braved the slush found a bar full of students, 2 quick cold beers and a burger and we were both fast asleep by 6pm. We woke next day to our view of the CN tower ready to explore Toronto…..
Day 5 (-8℃)
We ventured out of our hotel to explore “downtown Toronto, the place was buzzing, people walking briskly to escape the wind chill. They have shopping down to a fine art here, malls on every corner to entice you in from the cold. Eaton being one of the largest. This is the size of one block, 5 storeys high, with a subway station at each end. We indulged in some shopping, found a place for coffee and cookies.
Then we found it… Loblaws.. wow, if you like delis this place is heaven, huge store with deli products to die for, we could have stayed in there all day sampling their products. However, we were on a mission to find our food source for the evening so we kept on walking and came across a pub called the “Hair of the Dog”. We made our entrance through thick curtains to find a cosy bar serving various beers on tap. Unable to make a choice we opted for a beer tasting paddle and made our way through 8 beers from around the globe. We had found our eating place for that day. After a quick trip to the hotel we returned for dinner.
We went for the comfort food option, sampling crab cakes, bangers and mash, and lamb stew, this was accompanied by beer and finished with a warm glass of bourbon.