Sunday, June 30, 2013

Toronto - Part 1

Jack and I spent a few days in Toronto and I snapped a few pictures to share.

Here are a few glimpses of our accommodations. Jack and I both think this hotel (Alexandra Hotel) was originally built as an apartment complex or dormitory. Here's the hallway between the door and the living area. On the right is a decent size closet with shelves on one side and hanging racks and open space on the other. (The bathroom is across the hall from the closet.)

Jack and I have both been talking about downsizing and we noticed the amount of storage in this room. Besides the closet space, do you see the shelves over the television? These were pretty good sized and deep too.
Here's Jack at the desk, which is right in front of the window. This was a good size desk with lots of drawers. Do you see the bed and kitchen in the mirror?
Jack liked the efficient kitchen area. When we first talked about this trip, Jack said that he wanted to go to Chinatown, Greektown, Little Italy and the Spanish and Vietnamese areas of the city. In other words, he wanted a culinary tour of Toronto! We didn't cook anything while we were there, but we did use the refrigerator under the sink.

And finally, the "living room" which was across from the kitchen. You can see our unmade bed - sorry! This was very comfy and there was plenty of light for reading or hand work. 
Since we arrived in Toronto around 4, we quickly put our things away and ventured out to enjoy the city. It was a beautiful day (a bit warm, but that's better than rain) and we headed out to Kensington Market. We had heard quite a bit about the market and that it was a cool vintage or retro place, with lots of small stores that carry old-style clothes, unique art and small restaurants. Perhaps we had a romantic vision of what to expect but unfortunately we were disappointed in the market. Many of the shops were closed (boarded up-closed, not closed for the day) and many of them carried identical merchandise. It was still an interesting place to go, so it wasn't totally wasted time.
It took us a while, but we finally got our bearings straight and headed to Little Italy for dinner. As we knew would happen, we walked passed a huge number of "hole in the wall" restaurants, bars and shops. It always amazes me and is really fun to see how a motivated individual can take a tiny space and make a retail store out of it. I saw this in Madrid a number of years ago when I saw a TINY store that sold nothing but women's sock. I was intrigued with how such a small store with such a limited inventory could survive, so I struck up a conversation with the owner. She told me she had started the store as a way to supplement her husband's income and that she chose socks because she knew about socks. She had six sisters and three daughters so she was always buying socks. She had been in business for three years and it was going well. When Jack and I went to Spain five years ago I found that the shop was still in business in the same spot. Good for her!! :-)
Ok, back to Toronto... Once we found our way into the center of Little Italy, we had a decision to make. Which restaurant? After looking at a few menus, we decided on Capitol Trattoria Pizzeria. Jack had a delicious penne dish while I dined on pizza that had a wonderful crust - my test for truly great pizza.
Upon finishing our meal, we strolled along the streets just soaking in all the sights and even stopping in a bookstore or two. (We love bookstores, new and used!)  We were feeling pretty good about our "feel" for the city and decided to begin making our way back to the hotel when we heard a bunch of singing coming from a bar on College Street, so in we went.
There were a bunch of people (probably 50-75) in the back of the bar singing while one guy played the guitar and another directed them. They were having lots of fun and so were we. When we left, I noticed the sign that said "Choir, Choir tonight!" but I had no idea what it was all about.

On a whim, I did a Google search for Choir! Choir! Choir! and found their website HERE. I also found a link so you can listen to more of their songs HERE. Enoy! 

Continuing our way back to the hotel, we passed through Alexandra Park and found some very interesting things going on. This was truly an evening out for many people - young and old.

Here a group of people are ballroom dancing.


And right next to them a bunch of people are playing basketball.

There was a pretty busy skateboarding area at the edge of the park and I was fascinated watching this. These people are talented!


As nightfall approached we returned to our room and discussed our plans for the next day. We already knew we wouldn't be doing the typical tourist things like visit the CN Tower (we did that when we were here a number of years ago) so we just tossed around ideas of places to go and things to do. Of course I did a search on fabric shops in the area and found a few, but quite honestly that wasn't a "must-do" thing for me. With a few ideas in mind, we went to sleep.

The next morning proved to be a bit different than we had planned. Look what made it's way into our personal items.

Yep, that's a crutch. There were actually two of them, but only one was needed. Who needed it? Was it Jack?

Nope. That's just him messing around.

It was me. Upon standing up after dinner the night before, I felt a pain in my left foot and it continued to hurt during our walk back to the hotel (about 1.5 - 2 miles). I didn't pay too much attention to it and actually forgot about it until I tried to get out of bed and go to the bathroom the next morning. Whoa Nellie! That sucker hurt and I couldn't put any weight on my foot. Holy Cow! I hadn't felt anything like that in a long time.

The foot was swollen so I iced it for a while and tried to do the exercises that I had done when my plantar fasciitis reared it's ugly head in my right foot. The pain was somewhat similar, but different. I was not a happy camper!!

After about an hour, Jack and I decided that no matter what we decided to do, I would need crutches to help me walk. So, off to the pharmacy he went (about a five minute walk) and he returned with the crutches and some tape because I told him that it felt better when I applied pressure to the area. We both just laughed when we realized that the crutches he got were for someone 5'10" - 6'2" and that is definitely not me.  :-) Back to the pharmacy he went and upon his return he taped my foot.

Yes, we know he is much better at lots of things than taping a foot. I don't care what it looked like; it felt so much better to have that support. I had actually started to move the foot and with the tape, it felt much better.

After much discussion, we decided to try walking for a bit and learn the transit system of Toronto. (I really did not want to go home. That would have been a pretty darned expense and long trip for a good Italian meal.) We were slow, but we did spend the day exploring the wonderful city of Toronto! 
More to come.... Click HERE to see part two on our Toronto trip and HERE to see part three.

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