And now: I don't believe I told you about my recent trip to Toronto, did I?
You know those crazy plans that your friends come up with sometimes? And often they're not even so crazy - I suppose plans of this nature could really range from "hey, I never see you anymore, we should hang out," to "let's go back to London!!"
Toronto started out as one of those plans. Except we actually did it. My roommate extraordinaire Lisa drove me, her boyfriend Toby, and our two friends Brandon and Jillian up into the wilds of Canada (and by wilds I mostly mean completely mental highways where the speed limit signs are suddenly in kilometers per hour) to have a weekend of adventuring in Toronto.
While we were there, Jillian said something along the lines that all cities remind her of other cities, and it is very much the case with Toronto. Lisa and I decided that if you mashed up Philadelphia, Newark, and Dublin, you'd get Toronto, architecturally speaking at least. Culturally speaking it leans more towards the Dublin/small British city vibe - we found ourselves in this really fantastic pub in the entertainment district that had All the British Things on the walls, bowler hat light fixtures, and really good macaroni and cheese.
I suspect that Lisa and I may have driven our traveling companions slightly insane over the course of the weekend by bringing up our adventures in Europe pretty much every twelve seconds, but we couldn't really help it. This semi-spontanous trip was especially great - or just especially nostalgic - for me because it felt so much like our trips from last year. We felt like going to Cardiff one weekend, so we did. We felt like taking a trip to Camden Markets another weekend, so we did that too. And a couple of months ago, we felt like driving to Toronto and having another adventure in another country, so we made sure it actually happened. And then we jabbered about past adventures nonstop. Lisa told the story of our disastrous day of traveling over spring break. I talked about that time I became a random tour guide in Paris and the WWII bomb shelter in Cardiff Castle. There was a lot of reminiscing, a lot of nostalgia, which stung a bit for me on the first day, at least. And we maaaaybe prattled on a little TOO much about our adventures to our poor captive companions. (... sorrynotsorry)
Our adventure was brief, and probably lacking in things that would stereotypically be called adventurous. We didn't really go to any museums (we did go to a place called Casa Loma, which I keep calling Castle Loma because, well, it's a castle), didn't really get horribly lost (well, Jillian and I got minorly turned around, which was entirely my fault, but we got un-lost again rather quickly), didn't climb any Arthurian-named mountains or visit any cathedrals.
Instead, we found ourselves in a sports bar right when the Toronto Maple Leafs beat whatever Boston's hockey team is in a Stanley Cup playoff game. The entire bar erupted in cheers, and we sort of watched and soaked it all in. We went to a very delicious dinner at Toby's grandparents' house, which meant figuring out public transportation on the way there and stuffing Brandon into the trunk of Toby's step-grandmother's car on the way back (and no, Brandon, we will never ever let you forget that. Or that you volunteered quite happily for the position). We didn't climb any mountains, but we did climb the crazy stairs of doom from the Scott Pilgrim movie. Our first night there, we wandered into a restaurant that had a live jazz band playing. And our second night there, the boys went out without us and the girls stayed in our hostel room just chatting. So, perhaps a smaller-scale adventure than ones I've been on previously, but a grand adventure nonetheless. It was a kind of a last hurrah with friends - a last crazy college student thing to do before Senior Week and all its fun, and graduation sending us on our separate ways. I'm so glad that our random late night exclamation of "let's go to Canada!!!" actually became a real adventure that we really went on.
Especially since, on the way back, before the speed limit signs changed back into miles per hour, pennies came into existence once again, and hockey stopped being a big deal, we stopped to look at Niagara Falls for a little while.
|From left to right: Toby, Lisa, Jillian, me, Brandon. Also a seriously giant waterfall.|