Wednesday, 12 October 2016

To Canada the USA and back again!

It's been a whirlwind 2 weeks - how are you?

We have managed to get to Canada and the USA and back again in little over a week and racked up some 7000+ miles in doing so. It's fair to say that we are feeling a little tired last week but hey ho when there are memories to be made whats missing out on a bit of sleep.

Our whirlwind tour highlights look a bit like this:
Saturday - arrive in Toronto and meet Victoria and Emily, two girls we met via twitter / Instagram and have been looking forward to meet for the 4 years we have been corresponding. That evening we met up with a further two girls Patricia and Court that we also know via social media for a wives night out. It was a great way to spend our first night in Canada.

Sunday - a day we will NEVER forget. After a 2 hour drive we arrived a Niagara Falls. We had stocked up on Tim Horton's delicious doughnuts en route and arrived ready to go. The area was a strip of entertainment - think mini Vegas or Blackpool - and at the bottom of the road was Niagara Falls in all it's glory.

We REALLY recommend seeing this extraordinary sight from the Canada side as you get a full perspective of the size and scale of these incredibly powerful waterfalls. We also did the Maid of the Mist (now called Horn Blowers) and got up close to the falls. Thankfully the boat trip provides ponchos as it is true - you get soaked! As you approach the falls the mist starts but as you get closer the rain gets heavier until you feel as if you are standing in a shower. It is incredible and must be on anyone's to-do list. It was everything we had hoped for and more.

After the soaking Victoria and Emily felt it only fair to warm us up by introducing us to Poutine - essentially chips, cheese curds and gravy - and it was SO good. We each ordered a different type of Poutine so we could indulge in the different flavours - I went for Thanksgiving dinner, Laura for bacon cheeseburger, Tori for chicken, bacon, ranch and Emily went for the original. Can you figure out which is which?

For dessert we started with dippin' dots and finished with Beaver Tails with maple syrup - so so so good! To 'balance' the indulgence we walked off a few pounds with a game of pitch and put / crazy golf and a tour of the strip. It was so much fun.

The evening was a highlight Laura had requested - a Jewish feast courtesy of Emily. We dined on latkes and matzo ball soup and ate until we collapsed stuffed on the sofa to review the days photo's.

Monday arrived too quick and while Tori headed back to work Emily gave us a tour of the rest of Toronto, the docks, Yonge-Dundas square and the old brewery district where we grabbed breakfast. Then a quick stop to get Jewish bagels and that was it. On to Boise.

Tuesday, after arriving late Monday night and having a hellish experience with the Dollar rental car representative (we both left practically in tears and wising we hadn't bothered renting a car) we had driven straight to the Air BnB and fell asleep. Our first day was spent with 2 of Laura's oldest and dearest school friends Sarah and Julia. Sarah was leaving town the next day to start a new travel nurse assignment in Montana and Julia had started work at 6am so she could get finished in time to join us for breakfast and then a drive to the mountains. Which ever way you drive in Boise the scenery is stunning and Tuesday was no exception except that our drive and plan for a hike was curtailed when we realised that the forest fires were still burning higher up the mountain and the whole area was a no go.

We had to settle for a wander around Idaho city - a once thriving mining town that is now a is collection of ramshackle houses and museums - and a visit to Trudy's that does the BEST tater tots and pie we ave EVER had. Seriously we'd have driven the 2 hours just for them.

The evening was then spent chilling out on the deck at Sarah's parents house, enjoying a drink and indulging in the warm evening - it was perfect!

Wednesday we shopped and I got my fill of Panda Express. The highlight was catching up with Laura's friend Tina and her fiance Jared. Laura is part of their wedding next year and so we wanted to meet Jared beforehand. We are so glad we did he was brilliant. Although slightly too good at mini-golf / crazy golf for my liking, we had met then at a fun course and he made my victory a close one! Although his hole in one at the end set of a fire ball which was impressive, my miss had me soaked by a water cannon! Crazy golf in Idaho is CRAZY! We then caught up over dinner at the Village shopping centre that has fountains to rival the Bellagio - they dance to music and everything!
And yes we WERE that happy to be playing Crazy golf :)
Thursday. Wine day. Well wine tasting day - not something Laura and I are a fan off but as it was a hen party we made an exception. It turns out Idaho has quite a few vineyards out in the mountains and after boarding a coach with the rest of the hen party we had a 90 minute drive into the country to arrive at Ste Chapel. Next stop was Hat Ranch and finally Sawtooth. The first vineyard was sat among rolling hills providing a stunning view. The second, at Ranch, was exactly as I had imagined an Idahoan vineyard, small and with guys in cowboy hats. The third one was hard to describe having only really seen the vats inside.

Friday and our last free day in Boise. We caught up with another of Laura's school friends for breakfast and spent time checking out all the pumpkin spice food supplies that we needed to bring back. Then it was home to pack before heading out to welcome drinks for the wedding. We actually ducked out fairly quickly as the bar was rammed and it was boiling with no where to stand. We decided that as we had caught up with most people at the hen party that we should spend the evening checking out a local corn maze.

We met up with Tina and Jared (I didn't trust that just Laura and I would survive) and it was the right decision. They were great team mates and Tina single handedly got us out of the maze. Jared was making us try corn straight from the cob (don't try it) and Laura was taking pictures. I was just concerned about getting out before dark! We also indulged in a corn dog and got a free fireworks show. The night ended at a bar called Motel that used to be a motel but is now a bar with outside seating and toilets that play records - you have to check it out!

Saturday - wedding day! Well firstly dog walking day, we were up super early to get to a local park for See Spot Walk, a charity dog walking event for Idaho Humane Society. We will do a post on our full experience but in summary we got to walk a super cute puppy called Rudy, an enthusiastic collie mix who just loved everyone. It was so hard to give him back. We walked with another of Laura's friends (she has so many) Kelcie and her dog which made it even more fun.

After the walk it was home to get ready and then a 45 minute drive up to the mountains for the wedding of two of our wonderful friends. The wedding location was a private house with amazing views over Boise. It was a little windy but all in all a lovely wedding and a great chance to further catch with everyone before we left.

Sunday - travel day, 3 stops and a race through Toronto airport to find Tim Hortons before our final flight.

And that was it. We're back as if nothing happened. It all feels like even more of a dream as I had to be on an early train into London this morning.


  1. Everything about your travel posts always sound so amazing and now I want to visit Niagara Falls sooooo bad! Looks like you did it all and loved every minute of it!

  2. So glad that you got to try poutine and beaver tails; the essential Canadian experience.

    - Melissa |

  3. Looks like a great time. Niagra Falls is on my list of places that I still need to get to

  4. This sounds like such a fabulous trip! And I LOVE your photos from Niagra Falls-- you can just see how much fun you're having in your faces!


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