Friday, August 16, 2013

Curtis, Cats and Invisible wart monkeys (Thare are no wart monkeys in this post)

Day 498 in Winnipeg and we are finally packed ready to go.  After a great weekend at the cabin where we were joined by friends and family in a big barbecue to wish Buffy and myself goodbye, we came back to town and packed our stuff on Monday evening. 
The inside and .....

...outside of the house we looked after for the last 6 weeks

On Tuesday we had a very successful morning – A last visit to Buffy’s work, where we bade our farewells to Rick, Dan and Garrett, we went in search of a replacement ‘Jets’ hoodie, for the mine that went missing during all the moves. This was successful as not only did we find the exact same hoodie, but it was labelled incorrectly and ended up costing half the price it should!!

The afternoon was spent in a wander around the local mall to buy some odds and ends where we ran into Jason, from Prairie Voices, who pretends to be a security guard there – he has the honour of being the last person we ran into before we left! Hi Jason!

Benjie didnt want us to leave and tried to sleep on my sleeping bag!
In the evening we said a sad goodbye to Cuddy, Benjie and Boom the dogs and went out for a nice bit of food with Jon, Susan, Joel, Evan, Walker and Barry at Johnny G’s – the same restaurant where I went with Buffy on my first day and my first visit to Winnipeg back in December 2011. A good meal enjoyed by all and then the goodbyes. We crossed the road to the station gave in our bags (Mine weighed 57lb in total, Buffy’s 70lb) and it was hugs all round to everyone. The lads then left leaving me and Buffy a chance to say final goodbyes to Jon and Susan – her mum and dad. Then we went through and sat waiting for the train........only to run into Jon and Susan a few more times on visits to the bathroom as they looked around the old station building!

The goodbye dinner!

Huh?! What time?

We are in front of the skycar - which isnt a car in the sky!
The train was late as normal and finally arrived just after 11pm (The screen showing the timing of the train was a bit messed up as it showed the train leaving before it arrived!) but we didn’t load on board till just after midnight and didn’t leave the station till 0038! This was still two hours earlier than last time I took the same journey though. A last look at Winnipeg as we left the city and we headed to our top bunk beds just after 1am. I don’t think either of us slept very well though. The beds are really comfortable, but with the emotions around leaving and the squeaks and buffeting of the train we both had a fairly poor sleep before waking for breakfast at around 8.

Buffy in Sioux Lookout
We have now eaten and are currently waiting for our lunch – we are motoring through Ontario – through over and past the lakes that surround us on either side. Buffy is knitting her never ending scarf and we are both enjoying the journey as we pass by strange little houses and huts –seemingly in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by forests and water.  

The train
After the tiring night we had had, we decided to break the rules of the train and open the bed again during the day, so after a little struggle with the mechanism, we snuggled up with two borrowed (Stealing isn’t stealing if you plan to put them back later!) pillows and grabbed ourselves a well deserved hour long siesta.

Later on all refreshed we moved back in to the dome car and watched afternoon roll by. I caught the accent of a fellow English northerner sitting across from me and spent a good while enjoying a chat about cricket and The Ashes, which England had won over the last weekend.

 We have also had the pleasure to get to know ‘Curtis’, our Via Rail employee who looks after our carriage. He is a lovely man – a big gentle old fellow, who has just spent a while chatting to me about Margaret Thatcher and The Queen Mother. He loved them both and seems to be a really genuine and humorous gentleman. It was a wonderful conversation that I absolutely loved with a gem of a man and was the highlight of the journey for me so far.
Curtis  -our friend of the train, enjoying his break!

After a mellow evening watching the sun go down in the Dome car, we decided on a shower before bed – now I have never had a shower on a train and didn’t know what to expect – but it was better than a lot of showers in houses and the soap supplied on the train was lovely and brought the end to a great day aboard The Canadian.

Finally, just over an hour late, we left the train in Toronto and headed on through town with our 120lb’s of baggage plus our carry on backpacks, towards Ian’s apartment. One of Buffy’s closest friends ‘Ian’, whom I have met on a number of occasions lives just outside Toronto city centre and when he heard we were passing through for a night, he put his foot down and told us with no uncertainty that we were to stay with him. Thanks Ian, you have been a godsend and it was great to stay with you for the night – even though I discovered that apparently I am allergic to at least one of your cats if not both! I ended up spending a while in the evening on the balcony trying to stop sneezing and my nose from running whilst Ian and Buffy sat watching telly inside.I am now also high as a kite as it seems that when a tablet says 'May cause drowsiness' - in me it should say make the world spin like being on a waltzer! I have the same problem with Night Nurse and have promised myself never to take it again! Its hard to type at the moment

It was a cool day in Toronto though, with a wander around during the afternoon and a stop at a cool little cafe in Little Italy for a spot of coffee and lunch. In the evening before my allergy attack, we had had huge Burritos from a local place, which were not only big but tasty too!

Buffy in the dome car - doing a bit of knitting!
At the moment I am just re-packing my stuff for the plane tomorrow to Boston and then onwards out of North America into Europe and Iceland. It’s been a good journey so far with the train, Curtis, great food and a great host in Ian at his apartment here in Toronto. 

Next week we are expecting rain and cool weather in Iceland though and I can’t wait to wake up in the middle of the night in a big storm, whilst we are kipping in our tent! Bring it on!!

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