Hello again, Friend!!
While we were in Denver this year we went to the Passport office to get Siena’s first passport. So, you know how you fill out all that paperwork for your passport at the local post office, you include your Walgreens pics and it takes 6-8 weeks to get your special passport? Well, go directly to the office, pay $60 extra and you can pick up your passport the very next day!! Then it’s all yours to decorate with what ever country stamps you’d wish!!
So we got Siena’s and headed excitedly toward Canada!!
Our excitement faded considerably though when we were stopped on the US side of the border, made to leave the RV, escorted inside, filled out paper work, separated for some questioning, and then finally sent on our way…only to be stopped to do it all AGAIN on the Canadian side. At the same time we were trying to sort out our cell phone usage in Canada. Blah! By the time we got on the Canadian road, we probably looked like shell shocked troll dolls.
I wish I could report that things improved. Alas. We stopped first in Toronto and since we had limited data use on our phones, no tour guides, and knew nobody from there, we were basically flying blind. My least favorite way to fly. Using Wifi from a Starbucks (or something), we searched out a laundromat, made our way there (it was in the ‘hood!) and were looking for a place to park when we realized that our quarters were useless. POOP ON A LOOP!!
Side note: I was shocked at how many ads there were. It was like being assaulted by marketing. You walk into a Tim Hortons and there are huge Visa ads and portable units for you to sign up for credit cards. As you drive along the roads companies have groomed the grass and rocks to make an ads for insurance (or whatever!). I even saw ads inside of satellite dishes!!
The next day we got brave and decided to explore Toronto. We pulled into the heart of the city right near the ball park… on game day. Holy hell! That was a logistical nightmare that almost became a homicidal nightmare! The roads were tiny, people were everywhere, and we just could not find parking– we left.
But we tried again! We got a couple passes for public transportation and explored on foot. It was… meh. I wanted it to be better. Alas, it was lackluster.
ON TO MONTREAL!! Okay, now this is where Canada gets good (for me). We had access to wifi, we found this blog, we made a list and had a map!! We were in business!
We did the Plateau Mont-Royal (BEAUTIFUL!), we had poutine at La Banquise, ate delicious smoked meat sandwiches at Schwartz Deli on blvd St. Laurent (seriously, sooooo good, and the first thing Matt mentioned when we were reminiscing!), we had a crepe dinner at a lovely and romantic restaurant on St. Paul St. in old Montreal, did some underground city window shopping and saw the Basilica Notre Dame. Also, I was unaware, but there is apparently a Montreal/NY debate over which bagel is the best. (It’s possible that Montrealians made this up), but who are we to argue? So we had bagels at St. Viateur. We got a half dozen to go and ate them within 24 hours. This was also Siena’s first subway or train experience and it was so adorable to watch her get so excited when a train was coming! Life with an almost 2 year old is truly magical! (Check back in a year or so to see how I feel after the second year of her life!) By the time we left Montreal, I was fat and happy (no really, I am getting fatter and happier–see previous post, or use your eyes and see the pics.)
So, Siena has her first passport stamp. We came back into The States through Vermont (with a much more pleasant border experience) and started making plans to see some of my dad’s side of the family. See you tomorrow for that post!
PS. I had been attempting to re-learn French using Duolingo. It failed me. Sigh. I guess I needed to get past “Bonjour! Le chat est noir.”
PPS. Have a really great weekend!! See you again on Monday.