I had the most awesome and equally exhausting week in Toronto. Every single day was crowned with a different highlight, sunshine, amazing people and very little sleep. Luckily I have friends in Toronto whom I could stay with, which made the entire week of sightseeing incredibly convenient. On my first day we walked around China Town and Kensington Market, which reminded me a lot of Camden Market in London. Just like in Camden Town, you can find many small shops there, which sell funky clothes and accessories. On the next day my friends took me to see the Canadian National Exhibition (The “EX”), which is an annual fair that consists of a mix of concerts, shows, pavilions, exhibitions and a large carnival midway with rides, games and food. On Wednesday I met up with Johanna, who came to Toronto for her last two days before flying back to Germany. Together we checked out some of Toronto´s districts on foot and had delicious ice cream in Little Italy. In the late afternoon we took a ferry to Toronto Islands and watched the sun go down behind the skyscrapers and the beautiful skyline of Ontario´s metropolis. Thursday was another big day for me. Johanna and I went on a daytrip to Niagara Falls and met Benedikt, another German backpacker, on the bus. We spent the whole day together, checked out the border town Niagara-On-The-Lake, went on a boat trip to see the whole phenomenon of Niagara Falls and even went on a wine tour afterwards. Since Benedikt was only in town for a couple of days, we decided to visit CN Tower together on Friday morning. The CN Tower used to be the highest building in the world until the completion of the Chinese Guangzhou Tower and Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It was pretty impressive and I finally understood why Toronto is referred to as the Canadian New York City. Afterwards we paid a short visit to the Steam Whistle Brewery, just across the street from CN Tower. We were told that the beer was supposed to taste like German Pils. It did not. Nevertheless we got a free sample. Free beer in Toronto – Now THAT was an achievement. 🙂 In the afternoon we visited the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and had a nightcap in one of the local bars near my friend´s house. Saturday was a very special day for me. Together with my friends I went to one of the biggest annual events that take place in Toronto each year: The FanExpo Canada! It is an annual multi-genre fan convention showcasing all kinds of fandom elements, web entertainment, video games, anime, manga, TV Shows. The FanExpo is among the largest fan conventions in the world and celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, which is why it was even bigger than usual. Some of this year´s attending celebrities were Ian Somerhalder, Nathan Fillion, Elijah Wood, Patrick Stewart, Bruce Campbell and many more… I spent most of the day waiting in line for several panels as well as autograph sessions after having been lucky and picking a red coupon allowing me to participate in the Showcase autograph session. For me it was an incredible day, not only because I got to meet one of my favorite actresses, but also because I was part of such a big event with 200.000 other people. Sunday and Monday were a little more quiet for a change. We spent Sunday night at the Toronto beach, which was beautiful, especially since the weather was perfect all day. Before leaving Toronto, I had the chance to meet some more people I´d met in Toronto (on my arrival day) and Québec for coffee – Shout-out to Saskia, Sarah and Wenzhen! It was wonderful catching up and I hope y´all keep having such an amazing time throughout your travels in and around Canada!
Last but not least, I would like to thank K and Nickii and their family for letting me stay at their place. We spent an amazing week together and, after six years, finally were able to catch up on everything that´s been going on in our lives. Thanks for making me feel like a part of your family – It certainly made my stay in Toronto unforgettable!!!
And into the surf, right into the rock
He steers the Swallow, it hits with a shock.
If rescue is possible, then only so.
Rescue: the beach of Buffalo.
My entry to the States wasn´t exactly like in ‘John Maynard’. In fact, nobody was cheering let alone smiling when I entered border control. I was interviewed for over ten minutes and by the time I was ready to have my luggage scanned, everyone else was back on the bus waiting for me to be given entry permit. When I eventually arrived in Buffalo at 7pm, everything was closed and there was nobody on the streets apart from a few homeless… and they were rather creepy. At the hostel I learned that most shops in Buffalo close at 7pm and that the next grocery store is a 15-minute-underground ride away… (My hostel was located downtown!!). Since I couldn´t get anything to eat, I checked out the “free food” corner in my hostel. (Each hostel has a “free food” corner in the kitchen where people can leave foods that they don´t want to take with them when leaving the hostel). I was hoping to find some proper food, but the only thing left was Oatmeal, so I had Oatmeal for dinner and for breakfast the next morning (what has to be, has to be…) and then eventually made my way to ALDI to buy some groceries. After a few cups of coffee, a good lunch and a couple hours spent on google-ing Buffalo attractions, I came to the conclusion that Buffalo is a very boring little town compared to any other city I´ve seen so far. At the hostel I met Bonnie, a British lady, with whom I went to see the sunset at the harbor front in the evening. It was beautiful, though, pretty much the only thing you can do around here. Most travelers come to Buffalo to visit Niagara Falls or a Broadway Show at the Shea´s Performing Arts Center. Since I had already seen Niagara Falls on that daytrip from Toronto, there was no point in going there again. On my second day in Buffalo I joined Bonnie for a free tour of Buffalo´s City Hall. The tour ended on the observation deck, which is located on the 28th floor, from where you have an amazing view over Buffalo, the Niagara region and Lake Erie. In the afternoon we went to see The Giver (btw, GREAT movie!) in one of the local cinemas and had a private screening since nobody else was in the movie theater… Afterwards we were trying to find a liquor store for over an hour just to buy a bottle of wine to give our day a meaning. The wine was worth it, though. 😉