Crid's 1999 Grand Tour of Canada

3 weeks travelling by train from Toronto to Vancouver

Toronto - Winnipeg - Edmonton - Jasper - Kamloops - Vancouver

Day 1 (Saturday) - England to Toronto (Mayfair B&B)

1pm (British time)

Well I've made it to Gatwick.  A friend of my mum's drove me to the airport.  She's the mother of an old school friend called Paul, who now lives in Toronto and will be picking me up from the airport there.  I arrived about 3 hours before my flight was due to leave.  This gave me plenty of time to find something to eat (having not had any breakfast).  Found a Burger King and then sat down to eat my burger in the area overlooking the arrivals area.

I'm flying with an airline called Air Transat, who I've never heard of before.

A couple of funny things caught my attention while I was wandering about...

The man patiently trying to queue at the KFC, despite the fact that the lights in the shop were out and there was no food laid out.

The graffiti in the toilets.  Do people really bring a marker pen on holiday with them in case they get the chance to deface a wall somewhere?

So here I am, waiting to board the plane.  We've just been told we're running 30 minutes late, and then we were told we're not.  They are currently loading groups with children.  I really hope I don't have to endure screaming children during this 8 hour flight.

9.25pm (Toronto time)

Well I needn't have worried about the children.  They weren't a problem.  However, the people around me were.  The woman to the left of me seemed to want the whole of the armrest.  Consequently I was leaning towards the aisle for the whole flight, and kept getting clobbered by everybody walking down the aisle.

The man to my right sounded like he had bronchitis.  Fortunately I couldn't hear him when I was wearing my headphones.

The woman in front of me seemed to want her seat fully reclined for the entire journey.  No, that's OK, I'm only six foot one, I don't want any legroom.

Still, the flight itself was good.  The films were Notting Hill (good) and Entrapment (crap).  At one point my alarm clock (which was in my hand luggage in the overhead compartment) went off.  I don't think anybody else noticed it though.

Toronto airport caused some fun.  Firstly the ground crew had trouble finding the door(!).  Eventually they managed to get the bridge attached.

Then at immigration I discovered that British customs hadn't stamped my passport (although subsequent inspection of my passport revealed that they've never stamped it, which makes me wonder why it got queried).  Fortunately that's not a major problem and it was fixed fairly quickly.

It is so hot in Toronto.  I was a bit worried when we were told on the plane that it was 30ºC in Toronto.  And it's very humid too.

No sign of Paul at the airport, but a quick call to his mobile phone found him.  Dropped my belongings off at the B&B, called Mayfair B&B.  This gave me a chance to change into some cooler clothes.  My rucksack full of clothes had been in the hold of the plane which meant my T-shirt was lovely and cold.  Luxury!

Paul and I then went out for a drive around Toronto, eventually ending up at Swiss Chalet where we had some food.  I had their intriguingly named "hot sandwich", covered with gravy.  Very nice, although it could have done with being a bit hotter.

Paul then dropped me back at the B&B and headed off home.

The B&B is pretty nice.  I have the whole of the top floor of this house to myself.  Bedroom, bathroom, kitchen (should I need it) and a lounge with TV and another bed.  All for around £40 a night.

I think I should head off to bed now (hot though it is).  Thank heavens for air conditioning.

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