Well the wild wandering woes began just as we got to the Canadian border. I was not aware that the entry to Canada was over a very big bridge, and I’m not too excited about driving over bridges so I was a little nervous. As we exited the bridge, I could only see two lanes, one said Nexus and the other Nexus, Nexus, so I just followed the crowd. As I got up to the entry, I saw the other lanes open and realized that I was probably not in the right lane. When we got to the window, I got a lecture from the custom’s agent and we had to pull over, exit the car, have it searched and explain what we were doing in Canada. Fortunately, they didn’t make us take everything out of the car, like some other cars in the area, and they didn’t keep us too long.
We began our journey towards Niagara Falls, then on to Toronto, driving on highway 3. We got as far as Tillsonburg and stayed overnight at the local Howard Johnson’s. Went to the local pub, Copper Mug, for a good perch dinner and then on to dreamland.
After breakfast the next morning, we continued on to Niagara Falls. It seemed that we were never going to find the Falls, then, suddenly, they were there. We drove slowly down the road in front of the Falls, in both directions, but there were hundreds of people there, and parking was terrible, so Kathy would have had problems navigating the area. We decided that we had seen enough and were happy to start driving to Toronto.
As we drove toward Toronto, Kathy began calling motels to get a reservation for the night. Toronto was booked and we began to worry. She looked at the map and realized that a suburb of Toronto is Markham. We both knew immediately that we had to stay there. After all, Markham was the evil spirit in our grandmother’s garage. He terrorized all of the Flanagan cousins and has gone on to terrorized additional generations of children. We had no idea he was Canadian. But of course because Markham was involved, nothing went as planned. The first major chain that Kathy called informed us that they had a handicapped room with two queen beds, just what we needed. We drove 1 1/2 hours out of our way to get to this unnamed motel, only to discover that they completely mislead us. They did not have a handicapped room available, and in fact had booked us on the second floor with no elevator. I became rather upset in the lobby, so the manager called a number of other hotels in the area and was able to find us a room at the Courtyard by Marriot down the street. Although the price was higher than the first place, the hotel was very nice and we ended up staying two nights.
Now that we were in Toronto, we knew that we wanted to do something that was iconic to Toronto. We decided to go to the Gardiner Museum, the national ceramics museum of Canada. So we drove to downtown Toronto…no one warned us that traffic in Toronto is about equivalent to traffic in New York City! There was construction everywhere, one way streets that our GPS, fondly named Mavis, didn’t know about and absolutely no parking. After 7 or 8 wrong or missed turns and passing by the museum about 5 times, we finally found an underground parking lot. As we exited the parking lot, a gray haired gentleman with a wonderful handlebar moustache stopped to hold doors for us and we started talking to him. What an interesting man. He is a retired AP Photographer who still freelances (recently in the Sudan and Middle East) and teaches photography at the University of Toronto. It was delightful and fascinating to meet him. We finally made it to the museum, which we found so interesting. Both Kathy and I prefer the ancient ceramics and the very contemporary ceramics. While we are interested in the European ceramics, just not as much as the others (probably because we come from a long line of peasants who would never have been able to afford porcelain) We stopped for a late lunch at the museum restaurant, Clay, which had just reopened, which was wonderful. My ice tea was blue and turned purple when lemon was squeezed into it. Kathy had the rigatoni with shrimp, walnut pesto and summer peas while I had a wonderful French omelet with cheddar, mushrooms and fine herb paired with a simple salad
After we left the museum and worked our way back to Markham, in the late afternoon,
we found a local nail shop and treated ourselves to long overdue pedicures. (I think my nails had become weapons that I was going to need to register!}. Take out roasted chicken and salad for dinner to make up for lunch.
Days 33, 34