01 Aug - 29 Aug 2010 Toronto

People's Republic of Canada
Golden Horseshoe
Family’s/friends’ safe houses and apartments
Many thanks to Ulrike & Chris, Francoise & Zach, Brenda, Brix & Chris.

Visiting our two awesome grandsons Raoni and Tien (and their wonderful parents Ulrike & Chris; many thanks for being the most perfect hosts) in Toronto/Ontario (“Yours to Discover”), exploring together the well-maintained playgrounds (our bilateral favourites: Hillcrest Park, Wychwood Barns and Wells Hill Park) and well-stocked ice-cream parlours (our bilateral favourites: the cool Big Chill in Little Italy, the cozy Dutch Dreams Cafe +14166566959 and the dead reliable McDonalds) in their Hillcrest Village neighbourhood and having a great time together, thus refreshing, re-energising and revitalising ourselves with the help of the coming generations and with Tim Hortons' cheappuccinos.

Exploring downtown Toronto (“The City within a Park”), discovering how parks, gardens and streetscapes link downtown’s historic, commercial and entertainment districts and ticking off Toronto’s famous landmarks: (i) Toronto City Hall and Old Toronto City Hall, (ii) St. James Cathedral, (iii) St. Lawrence Market, (iv) Union Station and (v) the tall CN Tower.

Celebrating our number-one grandson Raoni’s 4th birthday with a family trip to Ward’s Island, the most Eastern of the jewel-like Toronto Islands which were once an immense sandbar, stretching 9km out into Lake Ontario, and teaching our bold number-two grandson Tien how to explore Canada's waterworld.

Hiking, together with number-one grandson Raoni, the signposted and well-organised self-guided Discovery Walks of Toronto: (i) Western Ravines and Beaches with High Park, Grenadier Pond and the new Humber River Bridge, (ii) Garrison Creek with Christie Pits, Trinity Bellwoods Park and the 1793 CE Fort York, (iii) Eastern Ravines and Beaches with Glen Stewart Park, Kew Gardens and Woodbine Beach Park, (iv) Northern Ravines and Gardens with Burke Brook, Alexander Muir Memorial Gardens and Sherwood Park and (v) Belt Line Linear Park along the route of the 1890s Belt Line commuter steam railway which once circled the City.

Enjoying, together with number-one grandson Raoni, the most spectacular views of Toronto and Lake Ontario from the 447m-high sky pod of the Canadian National Tower (admission: C$ 31.60 per adult, children under four [!] free of charge), the world’s tallest tower (553 m high), and getting goose-bumps on the famous glass floor at 342 m above the ground.

Joining the crowds of good-natured, mostly overweight ("Americanized bodies") and always politically-correct Torontonians at the Toronto Busker Fest and enjoying spectacular performances by jugglers, escapologists, songsters and many others in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood.

Bidding farewell to our dear family, travelling with the help of the Toronto Transit Commission (for only C$ 2.- per senior citizen) to the airport and then flying uneventfully with Icelandair in modern Boeings 757-200 from Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport via Reykjavik (a short stopover at Keflavik International Airport) to London’s Heathrow Airport for all inclusive US$ 449.-, one-way, per person (and “losing” one day of our lives).

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29 Jul - 01 Aug 2010 London

City of Westminster
Basic dorm beds for GBP 16.70.- or US$ 26.10 per person per night, including continental breakfast and wifi in the lobby.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Smart Hyde Park Inn in London and for directions:

Touring wonderful and enormous London extensively by means of underground (“Tube”), riverboat (“Thames Clipper”) and hiking sandals (“Adda”) thus visiting the city's famous landmarks: (i) Buckingham Palace, one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today, with the traditional Changing-the-Guard ceremony, (ii) Westminster Abbey, founded over a thousand years ago as a Benedictine monastery and known to millions throughout the world from televised coverage of coronations and royal weddings, and the Palace of Westminster (including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament), (iii) the Tower of London with the Tower Bridge, (iv) Trafalgar Square (obligingly noticing Canada House and South Africa House) with Nelson’s Column, and last but not least, (v) the well-maintained Hyde Park with the adjoining Kensington Gardens, and recuperating thereafter in the infamous London pubs with “fish ‘n’ chips” and quite a few pints of draft (... and finding out that food in England really is as bad as people say it is).

“London on your own actually seems more exotic than Egypt on a tour.”

Crossing the vast Atlantic Ocean and flying with Air Transat (8 hours flying time) in an Airbus A 310-300 from London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 4 to Toronto/Ontario (Lester B. Pearson International Airport) for all inclusive GBP 274.- or US$ 425.- per person, one way, changing in mid-air our watches from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT/UTC + 00:00 hours) to Eastern Daylight Saving Time (GMT/UTC - 04:00 hours), and being issued with a 6-month visit permit to Canada on arrival, free of charge; welcome to Canada!

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

Visit the Konni & Matt Online Albums and order high-res travel photos
Konni & Matt Travel Photos

Recommended gear - click below for your Amazon order from the United Kingdom:

For Amazon schnaeppchens from Germany, please click here
For Amazon bargains from the United States, please click here
For Amazon bargains from Canada, please click here