Australia and Oceania, North America ·
26 Days ·
214 Moments ·
19 January 2018
The start of our 20th flight together over the last three years. There were so many delays we had 12min to sprint to our next flight. The flight from LAX to Sydney was delayed by 30min so luckily we made it!
Flight is delayed more than an hour. This young guy is entertaining himself by leaning against the travellator handrail and enjoying his beanie spinning around and around on his head! As people walk past they laugh at him and he nods in greeting and starts again.
17 January 2018
Saw a Broadway Musical tonight. It was fantastic!
I like high beds when I am sore but the beds in North America are crazy high. I have to do a jump to sit on the edge. Getting out is a nice easy slide down though!
A slice of apple pie to get rid of the lingering Yazoo Hopry beer (from Nashville) taste. A couple of hours too early for the live music but that’s ok we are off to see Jersey Boys!
Not only did he find a CD section in a bookstore (a store we only stopped in as it looked large enough to have a restroom) he found a CD he has been looking for for as long as we have been together!
Checking out the shop and view from the NFL Experience building.
16 January 2018
Music store...with a view.
Lost my new scarf that I bought two days into our trip with two days to go much to Jay’s amusement.
Sad. No snow. Definitely not in Canada anymore.
Nicest air host on our plane today. A big fella with a wide brim hat that looked like he should be playing smooth jazz in a New Orleans bar. He kept sneaking us cookies!
Bye Bye Canada...our flight has been delayed twice now...I think it’s a hint to stay.
Ice sculpting, getting ready for the Winter Carnivale. They bring in blocks of ice on pallets.
Rue du Petit-Champlain during the day.
15 January 2018
The first neogothic church to be erected in Québec City, Wesley Temple was built in 1848 according to plans by architect Edward Stavely as a place of worship for the Methodist community. The church was closed in 1931. In 1944, Wesley Temple became Salle de L’Institut Canadien. When Salle de L’Institut was closed in 1999, the Institute came up with an innovative building concept to meet the needs of Québec’s literary community and showcase Québec literature, while remaining a public library for residents of Old Québec. This was to be Maison de la littérature.
As we left Quebec City our driver pointed out another Church. The building is no longer a functioning place of worship but the training grounds of Cirque du Soleil because of its high roofs.
This is Plume, one of the dogs from Aventures Nord Bec.
The watch dog!
Hot chocolate and cookies after dog sledding.
This is Peanut, one of two mothers who gave birth in the last week. We learnt that the dogs are used for sledding until they are about 10 years old and are then offered to local families that show an obvious positive bond with the dog and if it is successful, the dog is given away for free. The puppies, once old enough and able, are trained during the Summer months and, behaviour dependent, are ready for the Winter. They currently have 81 dogs.
The sleds are made onsite out of ash wood. The wood is steamed to allow it to be bent. The only screws used are at the very front and to hold the slates the passenger sits on. The rest of the sled uses a type of rope to allow freer movement and “avoid crashing into a tree” (a quote from our guide!)
This is Inouk, one of the five dogs that were in our sled team. We were a bit concerned with him as he seemed to always be ‘needing to go’ or eating the surrounding snow as we made our way along the trail. We found out after our ride that Inouk isn’t as excited as the other dogs to get his exercise, often burying his head in the snow when it looks like he might be called upon!
Our lead dogs were Prime and Whistler (pictured in this group). The leaders are chosen because they have proven themselves to be good listeners, intelligent and can follow instructions. Throughout the sledding we were required to ask the dogs to start and stop. While stopping was quite easy (“Prime, Whistler... woah!”), getting the dogs to move was harder as the instruction was in French!
Healthy breakfast with a snowy view before dog sledding today. We watched a woman drag a baby in a car seat on a toboggan-sled to her car and pack the child in then put the sled in the boot. Such a difference to back home!
The Parliament Building is located in Québec City, on Parliament Hill. It was designated a historic site by the Government of Québec in 1985. The Parliament Building is home to the National Assembly, meeting place of Québec’s 125 elected representatives.
The Parliament Building is one of the key works of Eugène-Étienne Taché. The quadrilateral building surrounding an inner courtyard was constructed between 1877 and 1886 in the Second Empire style and is unique in North America. Although Taché drew his architectural inspiration from the Louvre in Paris, he also set out to design a building that would tell the story of Québec.
The statues decorating the main facade of the Parliament Building represent men and women who shaped the history of Québec, from the discovery of Canada by Jacques Cartier in 1534 to the birth of Confederation in 1867. Together, these historical figures give meaning to Québec’s motto, "Je me souviens" (I remember), which Taché had engraved over the main entrance.
14 January 2018
Dinner at D’Orsay Pub.
After watching this guy and many others whilst in Canada brush down their cars to start their day I am going to make a bigger effort not to complain about the ice on my own windshield!
We had dinner here on our first night in Quebec City. The menu said we had to try the lasagna so we did. It was delicious!
Statue of Samuel de Champlain (1567-1635) who was an explorer, geographer and map-maker. He founded Quebec City in 1608. It is considered to be the oldest city of Canada.
The Terrasse Dufferin Toboggan slide has been in operation since 1884. On the way down you gain speeds of up to 70km/ph.
Walking around Old Quebec.
This is the Rue Saint-Louis gateway into the fortified city.
Fontaine de Tourny
It is close to 7 meters tall and 4 meters in diameter.
The fountain was inaugurated on July 3, 2007. It was a gift from Simons department stores to the City of Québec for its 400th anniversary.
Watching ice being built into a structure ready for Carnaval de Quebec which has been held intermittently since 1894 but annually since 1955.
This Grande Allee hotel opened in 1974 and is known for its top floor revolving restaurant. There are more floors at the front of the building than the back to meet the bylaw as to how many floors a building could have facing the Grande Allee.
So today was not the coldest day in Quebec City but not average either at -23 degrees with a wind chill of -39.
The Quebec Bridge has over a million reverts and is three times longer than the Eiffel Tower is high. It is the longest cantilever bridge in the world. Construction began in 1900 and saw two tragedies that cost the lives of 89 people.
View from the Observation Deck. It was only 32 floors high but had lots of interesting information on the deck.
More walking around Quebec City.
Old Quebec is fortified by a wall which was developed between 1608 and 1871. It was started by the French but continued by the British following the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. There are three gates remaining into the old city. This is the Rue Saint-Jean entrance, which has an ice rink set up just outside.
13 January 2018
View from the Break Neck stairs.
Break Neck Stairs
A belated White Christmas!
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac was built in 1893. It is generally considered the most photographed hotel in the world. It’s 54m elevation above the Quebec City skyline contributed to this. It has more than 600 rooms on 18 floors.
White Christmas...in January...it still counts!
Selfies on pretty streets and views out windows.
Nice hotel but low handles and skinny doors!
Just found out we are on standby for our own flight because they required 24 hr check in...but nowhere did it say that...It doesn’t look good but we should be fine for the 5pm flight if we don’t get on ours. So, we are crossing our fingers!
Driving to the airport in our fancy town car with tv, amazing leg room, divider from the driver, glasses and cloth napkins!
By the time we went to bed last night this road had no snow and very little on the footpaths because of the rain and warmer weather. This is what it looked like when we stepped out this morning.
Sitting in the window watching people walk down the street because they can’t access the foot paths, the road has been ploughed 4 times in the last 45 min. Cars are fish tailing around the corner and people are slipping under all that snow is frozen rain.
So it snowed overnight. The rain had cleared the snow from all the rooftops and the roads and even footpaths were clear. There was snow only on the grass. And, looks like the temperature is back to what we are used to, well below zero!
12 January 2018
When you are both sick and it’s raining outside. Play a board game.
Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Mondeis considered a minor basilica. It was completed in 1894.
One of many signs in the Underground City. This one tickled our fancy. “Les Enfants Terribles Brasserie”.
One of four food courts we came across whilst wandering underground. Definitely the fanciest.
We came across a Barbie pop up exhibition around the reflection pool in the Underground City. We didn’t find the stain glass history of music or the gifted piece of the Berlin Wall.
Beginning in 1962 Montreal has built up an “underground city” of 32km in passageways connecting over 1000 retail outlets, buildings, subway stations, hotels and museums. Approximately 500,000 people circulate underground daily.
11 January 2018
For the first time whilst we have been on holidays the temperature is above zero at 2 degrees so I unzipped and took off my gloves...others took off their pants.
Lots of snow and ice dumped off the roof just before we went to exit. Giving the people on the street a fright, we watched through the glass. Staff ran out to check everyone was ok...and they made a sign. More snow threatening to fall off the roof!
Second Steve’s in the same city. Bigger and newer.
Walking around Montréal.
The Clock Tower and Clock Tower Beach. The tower was built in 1922 to commemorate the courage of the men of the Merchant Fleet who were lost during World War I.
This building is called the Bank of Montreal Head Office but the operational head office is actually located in Toronto due to the political instability of Quebec. It is the oldest bank in Canada, founded in 1817.
The English Pug and the French Poodle
A English man, holding a pug, is giving a superior stare at Notre-Dame Basilica, symbol of the religious influence on French Canadians. On the opposite corner of the block (approx 64m away), a woman in a Chanel style suit, poodle against her, shoots an offending look to the Bank of Montreal’s head office, symbol of English power.
With their masters oblivious to each other, the two dogs on the alert have already sniffed out the opportunity to unite.
The statues were inspired by the Commedia dell’arte and Two Solitudes from novelist Hugh MacLennan, these two snobs set up an ironically touching scene of the cultural distance between English and French Canadians.
Notre-Dame Basilica was built between 1824 and 1829.
Another city another Steve’s...a small old Steve’s.
10 January 2018
Life in the fast lane for our first night in Montreal! Enjoying our upgraded room (executive suite!) and recouping while Katie’s unwell. Happy to see the Senators win a game (even in French coverage) ... if only it was last night when we were actually there!!
Passing scenery out the train window travelling from Ottawa to Montréal.
9 January 2018
Watching a Senators home game... sadly an 8-2 loss but a great experience being 3 rows from the ice!
Doug delivered a gift and left it with reception! Amazing!
The Rideau Canal Skateway is the largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world. One million people skate the river each winter. It is 7.8km long and daily sees 20,000 visitors. The skating surface is 165,621 square metres which is larger than 105 NHL rinks. Along the way there are heated changing huts, stands with hot soup, hot chocolate, beaver tails (which we tried) and more. There are picnic tables and bins on the ice. On cold nights workers drill holes in the Canal ice and pump water onto the surface and a specially developed zamboni smooths the surface. Many locals who live near the Canal will use it to skate to work or school.
Music store...that smelt...wrong.
Love the organisation of this comic store.
Scored a $4 CD, the owner is a mad collector of Beatles things and quite a large number of items were pinned to the walls.
Music store with a cool name.
Outside Parliament is the Centennial Flame that was lit in 1967. The 13 shields around it represent the provinces and territories.
Walking around Ottawa
Norah and Dough suggested Scone Witch for breakfast!
Ottawa public library. Their slogan “if you can find it out there, you will find it in here”.
Parliament House and the Peace Tower
8 January 2018
The very pretty and very famous Fairmont Hotel sprung a leak. One of the internal pipes broke and water is spraying inside the window and running down the internal door and out onto the streets much to the amusement of the two chefs from inside that are taking selfies with it.
Walking around Ottawa after dark aka 5 pm
Dinner at Sen’s House. Don’t think they like the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Another city another Steve’s music store.
Life size monument made of bronze by Ruth Abernethy. The creator said she was trying to make him accessible to those who loved him. His music plays 24/7 at the site. The piano has 97 keys based on the Austrian model he preferred rather than the standard 88 keys.
Hung out with Laura’s (JD’s wife’s who we met 3 days ago in a different city) parents, Norah and Dough today. They took us to lunch then a drive around Ottawa to see the sites and filled us with information. Then they took us to their son’s school once class was over to meet him and to tour his school to compare his to ours. His colleague had left over juice and lemonade from a lesson today so we had a toast for the new year together. Mike (Laura’s brother) also makes bottle openers and fidget spinners from hockey sticks and they are resold all throughout Ontario which we were also given to gift to family.
Browsing a bookshop Downtown.
7 January 2018
6 January 2018
Rare book library.
Hiding from the cold in a coffee shop on the way to Japanese with JD and family. They had lactose free milk and cookies! J might be happier if he had gotten a festive winter cookie!
Toronto Public Library
Music shop... and original Japanese artwork.
Another music shop.
Kensington Markets. Super multicultural and quirky little area. Great shops ...well those that were open and not closed because the owners had gone ice fishing!
5 January 2018
More of the ROM
Royal Ontario Museum
After breakfast the Davenports took us to the water edge so we could see snow on the sand. There was a mist on the water that even they were taking photos of.
2 trains and a bus later we end up at The Beaches to meet up with JD and his lovely family for a late breakfast.
Water feature outside the Toronto sign is turned into an ice rink in winter.
Walking the freezing streets towards our next destination.
4 January 2018
Ice sculptures on the side of the street as we walked.
In warmer months water sprouts from the dogs mouths. They are all looking upwards to a bone on the top. On a electrical box on the corner of the park there is a statue of a cat looking down at the dogs.
Wayne Gretzky’s Sport Bar
More Hockey Hall of Fame
Hockey Hall of Fame
Inside the St Lawrence Market is the Carousel Bakery which is famous for its Peameal Bacon Sandwich. It has been in operation for 30 years and celebrity chefs such as as Erik Lagasse and Bobby Flayare are regulars. It has been featured in television in England, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Israel and the United States. They cater Toronto movie sets including Chicago, Cinderella Man, 16 Blocks and Fever Pitch to name a few. They have been stocking over 300 types of international breads for 30 years.
Distillery History District plus a music store which I didn’t get to photograph. We were with JD and rushing to get out of the cold!
In our room reading music he bought.
3 January 2018
After dinner with JD we walked down to hopefully get a table at Snakes and Lattes for a drink and a board game. It was a 45min wait so we decided to skip it but not before checking out the games. JD said we have to give the game he is holding a go.
Corner of Dundas and Yonge Streets. Toronoto’s mini version of NYC’s Time Square.
View from our room. Nothing exciting but the fact it’s taken with my new wide angle lens is!
Visited the Eaton Centre. At this huge bookstore you can buy amazing reading socks!
2 January 2018
After delays we finally made it to Toronto. The hotel is the nicest so far. They even have a kids check in where kids ring the gong and get a toy.
Lots of restaurants really close by. Found a Vietnamese place. They had a microphone and when you ordered each item they would repeat it into the mic for the kitchen to hear down the back. Was nice except for the weird spring rolls.
Niagara Falls Railway. We were excited that we were going on a train where the windows round up onto the roof but then realised the sun was going to go down as we boarded to start our two hour ride.
Incline rail. Up the top was the love lock bridge. We didn’t take a photo as the wind picked up well enough to knock us around.
Our last walk through Niagara Falls.
More of the Horseshoe Falls.
1 January 2018
Clifton Hill, super touristy but lots to do when it’s cold out!
Niagara Brewing Company. Trying the Beer Flight to sample local classics. Good food, live music, college football on the screens, great service and a time out from the crazy tourist hustle and bustle.
View from Skylon Tower. We stayed until dark to see the Falls lit up at night with the lights but it started to snow quite heavily so visibility wasn’t the greatest.
American Falls seen from the Niagara side. 34 metres high and 260 metres wide along the crest line. In Summer 11.35 million litres a minute flows over and in Winter it drops to 5.66 million litres.
90% of the Niagara River flows over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. It is 52 metres high and 670 metres wide across the crest line. In Summer 130.88 million litres flows over every minute and in Winter it drops to 65.44 million litres.
Guinness World Record Museum. Playing tourist inside again because it’s cold.
31 December 2017
Walking from dinner at an iHop to the NYE festivities. Horseshoe Falls are lit up in the distance.
2 beanies, 3 pairs of gloves, 2 pairs of pants, 4 layers up top, a blanket scarf and 2 heat hand warmers and only lasted 1.5 hrs.
Watched an outdoor concert in the snow headlining all Canadian artists. We saw the James Barker Band and Jess Moskaluke (3 time award winning country music singer). We left as our toes started to hurt quite badly and missed Simple Plan and Marianas Trench. It was -16 and said to get down to -18 before midnight and we were barely moving around.
Our fancy hotel with a terrrrrrrible room!
Rock Gods Wax Museum
When the dinosaur putt putt is closed because of the snow, pose with the dinosaurs!
Playing Tourist in the warmth. Ripley Believe it or not.
Johann Petursson “Viking Giant” of Iceland. Customised his furniture to fit his 2.64m and 193kg frame.
30 December 2017
Walking around Niagara Falls
First look at the Falls which are predicted to completely freeze over by the end of January. The first time since 2004.
Crossing Rainbow Bridge
Driving through Buffalo towards Niagara Falls.
It started to snow once we got to the airport to fly out of NYC. Our 1.5hr flight was delayed on the tarmac by an hour and twenty minutes so we could be de-iced (which also stops new ice forming for a period of time) and then they had to plough the runway.
Frozen fountain in Bryant Park.
Bryant Park Markets. Little booths set up to combat the cold!
NYC seen from Brooklyn side of the bridge.
Statue of Liberty in the distance from Battery Park and Brooklyn. It’s full name is Liberty Enlightening the World. The head was displayed in France in 1878. The statue was a gift from France and arrived in 350 pieces in 214 crates. The seven spikes on the crown represent the seven oceans and continents of the world. In 1982 it was realised that the head was installed two feet off centre.
Brooklyn Bridge framing the Chrysler Building. Seen from DUMBO
A Brooklyn artwork, there was more but it was too cold to keep hunting and pulling out the camera!
Elevated Acre. Green open space hidden in the Financial District.
29 December 2017
Went to investigate a long line near the Charging Bull sculpture in the Financial District to discover it was to take turns photographing grabbing his anatomically correct business from behind!
The bull is one of the most photographed spots in NYC and weighs over 3000kg. Arturo DiModica created it without it being commissioned, paying for it himself. He cased the area around the Stock Exchange and worked out he had a 4.5 minute window to drop it off unseen. When he arrived with the bull a Christmas tree had been set up the day before so he dropped the bull off under the tree and left. It was removed the same day by the city but was later accepted and erected where it stands now in Bowling Green.
28 December 2017
Painted in April 2015 by Tristan Eaton and was paid for by Paul Marciano & Guess, Inc. Located on Broome St between Mulberry & Lafeyette St in Soho.
The building used as the for the exterior of the Friends TV show apartment building.
75 and a half Bedford Street sold for $3.25 million. It is only 8ft 7in wide and at its narrowest 2 feet wide. Constructed in 1873. The spot was actually a carriage entrance for house 77. It is the skinniest apartment in Manhattan. Ann McGovern lived here for 7 years and published a picture book called Mr Skinner’s Skinny house.
The Cafe Wha? was founded in 1959 by Manny Roth (uncle of Van Halen singer David Lee Roth). In the 1960s, it was the stomping ground of a long list of talents. Bob Dylan started here at 19 years old after asking to play a few songs for an open mic night, Jimi Hendrix was discovered by Chas Chandler of the band The Animals, who would go on to manage the guitar icon, as well as Bruce Springsteen, The Velvet Underground, Peter, Paul and Mary, Kool and the Gang, Woody Allen and Richard Pryor (to name a few).
Today the club has live music 7 nights a week, often tributes to artists. The house band is made up local talent and often has guest performers joining the band.
Rudy’s Music whose clientele has included Mick Jagger, John Mayer, Kirk Hammett, Carlos Santana, Mark Knopfler and Paul McCartney amongst others. Often considered a guitar gallery/shrine rather than a shop. It has more than 100 vintage hand-built acoustic and electric guitars. Some Gibson and Fenders start at $2000 while other Froggy Bottom And Collings reach $200000.
Streets of Soho/Greenwich NYC
Another mural in Soho. These are all over NYC but it was too cold at -10 to continue hunting!
These lovely Americans asked us if we spoke English. When we said yes they very excitedly asked for help navigating the subway.
27 December 2017
Let’s Go Rangers! *clap clap clap*
NYC Rangers Vs Washington Captials
Won in OT shootout 2-0
Edit: Washington Capitals will go on to win the Stanley Cup this year.
Riding the subway for the first time. Super simple to navigate.
Water towers on NYC roofs.
In the 1800s as building grew upwards beyond 6 floors the water infrastructure couldn’t handle the water pressure needed. The water tower was the solution. Despite looking old they are currently in use. There are only 3 companies in NYC that can build them and Rosenwach Tank Company make approximately 300 every year in the same wooden style of the past. They take less than 24 hours to build and 2-3 hours to fill. Sealants are not needed as the wood acts as an insulator ands stops freezing. They look old because they are exposed to the elements and actually only have a life span of 30-35 years before being replaced.
Flatiron Building and district.
A dark patch of the ceiling at Grand Central Terminal which was not restored is still stained brown by tobacco. The roof was this black colour all over before restoration.
New York Public Library
Empire State Building. A 102-storey Art Deco skyscraper on Fifth Av. It makes more money from ticket sales for the observation deck than it does from renting out office space.
100 years of NHL pop up exhibition. Stanley Cup photos, artefacts on display, Virtual Reality Zamboni driving, mini roller hockey and free hot chocolate.
Strand Books has 29km of books aka 2.5 million books. They sell second hand books by the foot and rare collectibles. It opened in 1927 by Ben Bass on a $300 loan and his own personal collections on Book Row where writers, readers and publishers congregated. In 1957 it moved a block down the street to its current location. In 2006 it sold a rare copy of Shakespeare’s Folio for $100,000 and is the sole surviving bookstore on Book Row.
26 December 2017
No soup for you!
Look close at the rules under the sign. Soup buying is taken very seriously and swiftly! Smallest restaurant front ever, but massive 4 storey high sign on the intersection points to it down 55th St.
Christmas in NYC
Multi-storey stores in Time Square are set up so that on the higher floors for you to take in the view.
Very busy M&M store in Times Square with escalator monitor to keep people moving.
American Museum of Natural History. The line was even longer than at the Met, but how cool is the dinosaur “tree” covered in fairy lights.
The Met...and the line. It is the same length behind us and goes around the corner...in both directions.
Belvedere Castle. Now a weather station.
More Central Park.
Bow Bridge, view from the great lawn and imagine mosaic.
You can dedicate a bench in Central Park.
Angel of the Waters was created by sculptor Emma Stebbins. The first woman in NYC to receive a commission for a major public work. Designed in Rome, cast in Munich and dedicated 5 years later. The fountain celebrates the opening of the Croton Aquaduct, which brought fresh water from Westchester County into NYC.
Inside Bethesda Terrace, which is considered the heart of Central Park.
25 December 2017
The view from our tiny window.
Desperate for food. We weren’t dressed appropriately for hunting and it was ridiculously busy for Christmas evening. We ducked inside to get out of the cold and a table freed up. Not having eaten in many hours it was appealing. The meals were huge! At least 1.5x over maybe 2x a large in Australia and cheaper (and with the exchange rate actually quite a bit cheaper!)
Quite large for a NYC hotel!
Tired. 3.40am Syd time. 8.40am LA time. A couple of crappy plane mini naps. Wish us nap luck for this leg!
24 December 2017
The upgrade was definitely worth it!
Vertical conveyor belt. Food cooked upstairs and sent down!