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Thread: Confused in Canada (Linda's blogette)

  1. #1
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    Confused in Canada (Linda's blogette)

    I have decided to try a little blogette, despite being quite confused about what happened when. As we were all staying in different hotels/apartments, we all have different stories to tell, which is why I decided to add my bit. Although I am afraid it is a story of mistaken timings, panic attacks and lack of wine! Please bear with me.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Confused in Canada (Linda's blogette)

    I had booked my tickets with WestJet Gatwick-Toronto-Ottawa & return the same way. WestJet are a Canadian economy airline (so rather like EasyJet) - they used to just be in Canada but started their Gatwick-Toronto route about a year ago. When I booked my flights, I could not book my luggage as apparently that could only be done when you check in. I like to have everything sorted out well in advance so I was a little apprehensive.

    I went to check in a couple of weeks before my flight (with EasyJet you can check in almost a month before your flight!) but it wouldn't let me - you can't check in until 24 hours before your flight. So I wouldn't be able to book my luggage until then. I immediately went into panic mode. My heart was racing nineteen to the dozen (my normal heart rate is only 52 so I really feel it when it races) and I thought I was about to have a heart attack! I phoned WestJet and the lady assured me that there would be plenty of room for my luggage. However I wasn't entirely convinced and didn't really calm down until I'd got my luggage on the flight at Gatwick. I thought of a load more questions so phoned them again - not all of the info I got was correct.

    Anyway, when I finally got to Gatwick (hours too early, of course) there was no problem with my luggage, and the lady there told me that I would have to take my case off the carousel at Toronto and put it on the one for Ottawa (this was not what I had been told on the phone, but was correct). At Gatwick I had plenty of time for a Lebanese breakfast. The couple on the table next to me also said it was very nice. I thought they had Canadian accents and wondered if they would be on the same flight as me. I then went to the Accessorise shop and bought a nice tote bag (as I'd already bought a newspaper and two bottles of water for the journey) and went to the Swatch shop and bought a nice novely watch.

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  5. #3
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    Re: Confused in Canada (Linda's blogette)

    I did see the Canadian couple again at the gate as we were indeed on the same flight. The flight from Gatwick to Toronto was long but fine. I'd read my Telegraph, done all the puzzles, and read a novel and a half on my Kindle. At Toronto I did indeed have to collect my case, drag it round the corner and then lift it onto another conveyor belt. Then I had to go through security again - and they confiscated my second (unopened) water bottle, although they allowed my empty water bottle through!

    On the flight to Ottawa, I was seated next to a lady who lived in Ottawa. I asked her if she could recommend any medium-priced restaurants, maybe Italian. She said that there were many restaurants near my hotel. She also said 'there are also a lot of bars - I wish there weren't, but there are' which made me wonder whether the bars in the area were not very nice. She also said that the WestJet macaroni cheese was to die for so I decided to order it for my return journey (on WestJet, if you want a hot meal, you have to order it in advance). She also told me about Winterlude and said I should go to the park near the canal to look at the ice sculptures.

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  7. #4
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    Re: Confused in Canada (Linda's blogette)

    On arrival at Ottawa, I got the 97 bus to my hotel (one of the reasons I had chosen this hotel was that the airport bus stopped just outside). It was quite late by then, so having settled into my room, I just went across the road to Subway to get something to eat.

    In the morning I went to the 'Bibliotheque' cafe for breakfast. This was attached to and owned by the hotel, but open to all. Hotel residents got 10% discount. Then I went out sightseeing. My hotel was ideally placed for this (another reason why I'd chosen it). I walked across the road to the park where the Winterlude festival was being held. However it seemed that it was still being set up. So I asked someone and they said it would be open tomorrow (Friday). So I walked along the canal (frozen over, there were some skaters on it) up to the Parliament buildings. Then I crossed the canal and walked up to where the national art gallery is. I have no idea why there is an enormous model of a spider outside. The catholic cathedral is right opposite. I walked around another park there where I could look back to the parliament buldings. Then I went to the Byward market and had a walk around. There are so many restaurants and shops - rather like Covent Garden. There was a stall selling 'beaver tails' - I'd been told to try these, so I had one. The standard one is cinnamon and sugar. I asked for not too much sugar. It was delicious. I also had a 'hot apple cider' which was very welcome in the cold, but it is not cider at all. More on that later. I then walked all along past the parliament buldings until the Supreme Court, then made my way back to my hotel.

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  9. #5
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    Re: Confused in Canada (Linda's blogette)

    For lunch I went back to the Bibliotheque cafe. I was already seated when another lady was seated at the table next to me. It transpired that she was also here for the tennis. Her name was Helen; she wasn't a member of any of the fan clubs but travelled independently. At Ghent she had met some very nice Murraynators but had decided against joining their forum. I have hopes of her joining amff. Anyway, for the rest of the weekend we pretty much stuck together. It turned out that she had got a suite comprising of bedroom, living room and kitchen and had paid less than I had just for my room! She suggested that we needn't go to the cafe for breakfast, as we could shop for everything we needed, and eat in her kitchen. So in the afternoon we went shopping. We got all the things we needed for breakfast. The 'wine shop' was in a separate corner to the rest of the supermarket, and it was very small with not much choice. The lady serving told us that the 'dry white wine' was not really very dry, and said that the only one that she could say was at all dry was the Pinot Grigio. So we bought that.

    Then, as we had both been told by several people that we 'absolutely must' go to Tim Horton's, we did. I was very surprised that the decor & furnishings were similar to MacDonalds or Subway - I had expected something a little more upmarket. It might be alright for those people who like sticky buns and 'coffee' that is more like a knickerbocker glory, but it was not my thing at all. I had my usual black coffee but it was rather weak. I had a cinnamon whorl - but it was not like our Danish ones, it was of a stodgy cake consistency and covered with a sticky sugary glaze.

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  11. #6
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    Re: Confused in Canada (Linda's blogette)

    It's starting to sound as if I didn't like Canada too much, but I did, I really did, so please read on!

  12. #7
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    Re: Confused in Canada (Linda's blogette)

    On arrival in Canada I'd had the usual roaming text and was appalled at the charges, so had to use the phone as little as possible. I texted Hawkeye to ask him if we were all meeting up that evening (Thursday). Early in the evening he texted back to say that he was in a bar and where it was, so Helen and I walked over there. My fears about the bars were totally unfounded as it was very pleasant. The drinks were expensive, but I'd seen that in Norway so wasn't overly perturbed. After a while, Supergran joined us as well (she'd come by taxi although her hotel was only just round the corner from the bar). We spent a pleasant evening drinking and eating in the bar, and afterwards Helen and I walked Supergran back to her hotel.

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  14. #8
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    Re: Confused in Canada (Linda's blogette)

    Throughout the evening, I'd been checking my phone to see if I had a message from RoastLamb, but I didn't get any messages. She'd previously said that she would probably be too tired to go out Thursday night after driving up from Niagara, so I wasn't surprised. But the next morning I did get a text - apparently she'd sent me a text but I never got it. Hawkeye set up a Messenger group for us to keep in contact with each other, but I couldn't get it on my phone so could only see the messages when I used my Kindle at the hotel.

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  16. #9
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    Re: Confused in Canada (Linda's blogette)

    On Friday morning, Helen and I had breakfast in her room then went over to the park to see what was happening. Winterlude had now started. There was an ice sculpture competition going on - all the competitors had been given 2 hours to produce their sculptures. When we arrived there was about 15 minutes to go. Finally they were all stopped - some were clearly unfinished - and they said that the winner would be announced at 6pm (so we never found out who the winner was). It was quite impressive what they had managed to do in such a short time. I had a text from RoastLamb saying that they were going to the Parliament building, so Helen and I went up there too (only a few yards away) and met up with Fiona and Katie. They said that they wanted to go to a 'posh' burger restaurant for lunch, not too far from the tennis venue, so we agreed to meet them there.
    Last edited by Linda; 19-02-2017 at 21:15.

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  18. #10
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    Re: Confused in Canada (Linda's blogette)

    Helen and I walked (not far) to the bus stop for the bus that would take us to the venue, but got off at the stop for the burger restaurant. We had a very nice meal there with Fiona and Katie. It was quite amazing how much choice you could have in a burger restaurant (although many years ago, when I was young, there was a similar restaurant in Earl's Court called the Hungry Years). Then we walked the rest of the way to the venue.

    There is not much point in telling you all about the tennis as you all saw it. Roy, Hawkeye, Supergran and I were all sitting together in the third row immediately behind the umpire. Helen was about four rows behind us. RoastLamb and Katie were sitting elsewhere, as was Roy's friend John.

    We weren't surprised that Dan won his match, but had hoped that Kyle would win his also. That wasn't to be, so the day finished at 1-1.

    When we left, there were huge queues for the buses (which were free, by the way - for two hours before start of play and four hours after finish of play). So Helen and I decided to go somewhere to have a cup of tea or something and wait for the queues to go down. We walked quite a way as most places were full, then found a wholefood restaurant with empty seats. She had pancakes and I had a very nice soup. I also had a 'hot apple cider' and here I saw how it was made - they put a spoonful of some sort of powder in the glass, then topped up with hot water.

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