I remember my tickets were booked in the month of March for my July trip; and boy the excitement each day was magical. This year brought about a lot of ups and downs for me especially when it came to work; but by June things settled for good and on the 13th of July I was off for my perfectly planned 16 day vacation.
My flight was British Airways, from Bangalore to London and then after a good 4 hour layover; to Toronto. I’ve been to London once before hence Heathrow was not overwhelming; it felt like home! I got super excited seeing Pret-A-Manger; they make the best hot chocolates, croissants and vegan wraps! As I strolled through Chanel, Victoria Beckham and the world of Harry Potter it was time to board. After 7 hours I reached Toronto and the dual language (French) “Welcome” literally welcomed me to the city.
I was visiting my sister who has been settled there for almost 6 years now; and she is a planner (Monica from friends? YES!) More than me, she had done a things do for my family as well as me specifically! So here goes the 16 “New Experiences” I had in just “16 days”
- Looked through the city from the 150th floor: Visiting CN tower was exhilarating as it was summer vacations and we stood in line for almost 4 hours to get that view! But it was so worth it; almost facing your fears and sitting on this glass and looking 150 floors below! It was WOW.
- Tried sushi for the first time: As all vegetarians are told; thanks to everyone and even Masterchef that sushi has to be fish. Hell no! I tried 5+ delicious versions of veg sushi filled with cucumbers, mayo, red onions, different types of rice; and aah-well not very sure; I let my sister take a call. The place I went to was Maki My Way. (The owner was the most cheerful man ever! He was simply standing out of the restaurant giving out free samples, chatting with people; it sure made me smile!)
- Went crazy at the Dollar Store: Yes I’m sure we all feel this! AWESOME stuff at the cheapest prices. I picked up things like every…4 days? From magnets to key chains to chocolates to makeup bags to cosmetics to shampoos and deos! The list is endless guys.
- Visited an under-water aquarium: Ripley’s aquarium was one of the most beautiful attractions ever. There were fishes from all over the world and the entire experience was how life would be under-water..there are these small mazes which you do that makes an outsider look like you are under-water! Must visit.
- Ate the BEST waffles ever: Caffe Demetre has won my heart and made me realize that chocolate and strawberry waffles are never going to be the same again. It was a 2500 calorie deliciousness that I gobbled up in less than 4 minutes (without sharing). I even now..after coming back home dream about them. Here is how it looks (PS: I can’t be blamed)
- Saw the skyline at 8.30 PM (in full night) from a cruise: Toronto Harbour Cruise is beautiful..the pictures can never match up to the real beauty it is. In Toronto the sun doesn’t set until 9PM and we got a chance to see all those tall glass towers from a 1 hour cruise. Plus the wind made it perfect.
- Attended a “Silent Disco” party: My sister and I love to dance and party; and when she told me about this, I was totally game! This was exactly how ‘The Break-Up” song shows it. There were three stations and you we were given magical headphones that literally cut you off from the rest of the world. Plus the DJ played brilliant music and we stayed back until 1 AM and sneaked in a slice of pizza at 2 AM. #BestFeelingEver. You can check events of – Bollywood Social Toronto for the party.
- Went to the gym in just a sports bra & tracks and did not get stared at: Yes, this is true and yes it is a very big deal!
- Did a photoshoot right outside home: My sister stays in the suburbs and it’s beautiful – a lot of greenery, pink & yellow roses and even more pretty wooden doors. One day after a massive shopping day, we did an impromptu shoot; pictures out soon!
- Went to a beauty & cosmetics flea market: I personally love flea markets; they’re a really good place to get lovely things at cost-effective prices. There was nail polishes, lipsticks, creams, shampoos all branded at very cheap prices. (since they were out of trend) I picked up products from L’oreal, Revlon mostly. Also picked up some face masks and other quirky merchandise. I think it was in Ajax and happens every weekend.
- Shopped till I dropped!: My sister’s house was located in the perfect area. 5 mins from the Dollar store, the coolest super market, and Ardene. Yes this Canadian fashion brand is a paradise for shopo-holics. I lost track of the amount I spent and the gorgeous clothes and jackets I picked up. Yes, also shoes! They’re so comfortable that I can live in them all day everyday.
- Went to Niagara falls: Of course! The most Canadian thing. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime. The whole 5 kms is like leaving a kid in a candy store. There are snack places, arcade games, horror house and unlimited fun promised to you.
- Visited a male strip club: Okay so yes, I always wanted to experience how it feels like; and was also in my bucket-list! Thanks to overdose of Barney Stinson, I did visit one; and well it was such a fascinating experience. I saw the doppelgänger of Lito from Sense8 and it was genuinely love at first sight!!
- Fell in love with Thai cuisine: I used to literally hate this cuisine; but well things change! I visited this beautifully decorated place in downtown called “Pai” and had the surreal “Khao Pad Thamada” which was like an exquisite Thai-style jasmine rice served with eggs, green onions, chopped cucumbers and a real tangy lemon & garlic dip. I literally fell in love right there. (Being vegetarian isn’t that bad after all!) Also, do check out how stunning the interiors were.
- Had poop shaped ice-cream: Toronto is the home to the widely popular “Poop Cafe” where the interiors + items on the menu are poop shaped. The seats also were like pots and even the ice-creams were served in a pot bowl. It was hilarious; the desserts were quite terrible; but again..a brilliant experience. A must-visit when in Toronto. Read more here.
- Spent 7 hours in the city all by myself: Saving the best for last! On my last day I left very early morning to explore the city by myself. I started with having breakfast at Denny’s a popular 24 hour resto-bar where I had a healthy meal of fruits, egg white scrambled eggs and coffee. (I personally loved how people were busy with their own life. I was reading my kindle; a guy was working on his laptop; a couple were having their breakfast. The waiters did not disturb anyone and just let them be for hours) Then I walked to all the streets, went to China Town and picked up some really chic souvenirs. Saw the Graffiti Street, clicked like a million pictures! Post that I went to the multi-cultural lane where you can see people and restaurants from all around the world. Mexico, Greece, Spanish, India, Korea! I also visited a really gorgeous church and attended the mass. Then had lunch at Eaton centre that was bustling with corporates! Post that I decided to try my luck at went to the LinkedIn Canada office. They welcomed me with open arms; and one of the HR’s even volunteered to show me the entire office! I was floored. After this I walked again..took the subway took the bus and then walked home at around 6 PM. Phew! PS: That day I had walked almost 7 kms and experienced the city my way! I would suggest everyone to do that whenever they travel. I did it in London too; and those fond memories will remain with me forever!
Here are some pictures summarizing this 🙂
For other pictures, check my post of the Toronto Photo Book.