Tag Archives: Vacation

Some Photos of Me Not Running and then Me Complaining about Running

I don’t know how to use technology and accidentally published this post before I was done writing it. Sorry to my email subscribers that got an incoherent mess of a post. Here’s the incoherent mess I meant for you to read:

Ok, last talk about this vacation because it was a month and a half ago. Time is flying and I’m not sure I like that. Anyway, besides the port stops, we had our usual shenanigans on the ship. We leisured, we ate, we drank, wash, repeat.

We also went to see a comedy show while we were at sea that had a Russian tango opening act which 1) was a super weird combo and 2) we much preferred to the comedy. The actual comedy show was so bad that we left after 10 minutes and at least a dozen others were filing out of the theatre too. We also saw Passengers one night but that’s about all we did that didn’t involve eating and drinking. You get it, it’s a ship. So here’s a photo drop of some of the fun and we can move on.

The day we left – sunny and perfect.

What most of our days at sea looked like – relaxing with drinks while watching the ocean.

What most of our nights looked like and one of the few times that Cheyanne and Ricky decided to be seen with us.

What most of our post-dinner snacks looked like. (Keke could not handle how that pizza was placed on my plate.)

Happiness just before the sadness of the terrible comedy show.

One day I mentioned to Keke that I was bummed we didn’t have any towel animals for the first three days of the cruise. I guess our room attendant was nearby and heard me. I came back to my room later that night to find an adorable towel animal zoo!

We found a sad moose in full costume with his head in his hands which had hubs and I laughing hard, but he spotted us, quickly jumped up, and became happy moose again.

We took advantage of happy moose.

Hubs’s appetizer order of scallops. Two. minuscule. scallops. Why even serve that?

The one dress up night that I participated in before I couldn’t fit in my dress anymore.

The day Keke and I decided to be twinsies and reactions were either hard, cold staring at us like we’re idiots or people laughing and wishing they remembered to bring their camera with them from the room. Pink fluffly leg warmers = apparently crazy in Alaska.

And finally our one sunny day at sea. We sat outside for hours in the sun (at a bar, duh) watching the mountains. It was glorious and chilly!

Running. Ugh.

Over vacation plus the month following, my running stopped completely. I decided to get back into it seeing as how I have a race in 6 months, but my body was not having it. Usually, even with time off, I can run a good 3-4 miles. This time, I couldn’t run more than a quarter mile at a time without my ankles hurting so much that I had to walk. After I walked for about a minute or two, the pain would go away. I blamed this my weight gain, but I’ve gained weight before, ran, and never felt pain in my ankles. I thought maybe I just needed to ease back into it, so I ran short spurts for a few days in a row thinking my mileage would slowly increase. It didn’t. I finally decided to get the sport’s massage I’ve been putting off. I’ve had my calves raked before when I couldn’t run during training for the Chicago Marathon and it helped immensely, but it’s expensive.

I got the massage two weeks ago and it was so painful that when my massage guy was working on my feet, I was actively trying to get away from him. My feet felt bruised for at least a few days after. They felt better but just really worked over from all the knots and tight muscles. After the bruised feeling went away, I tried running again. One ankle definitely felt better but the other was still hurting so I haven’t been running since. I have appointment this Saturday for another massage and I’m not looking forward. I’m hoping the ankle problem is just tightness in my calves and feet and a few sport’s massages will work that out.

In the meantime, I joined a fancy-pantsy spin place in town called Cyclebar. I haven’t been to a spin class in over six years so I’m glad to get back to it. I’m also hoping it will help get some of my endurance back until I can run again.

Has anyone else had problems with ankle pain while running? For me, it’s not in one particular place. It’s just the circumference of my ankle feeling like I just can’t take another step without my ankle giving out.

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Last stop, Victoria, B.C.

We finally made it to the last stop on our cruise, Victoria, British Columbia.

You may notice that thing in the sky that’s been missing our whole trip. I believe the locals call it “the sun.”

We were definitely overdressed as it was 75 degrees F and sunny, but that worked out for me since I forgot to put on sunscreen. My scarf stayed on since I *hate* getting sun on my chest. No future old lady chest for this girl.

First, we walked from the port to this cute little dock area with private boat house residences and boat restaurants. Keke loves Mexican food more than most things. Below you can see her b-lining past all of us to her homeland. Unfortunately, she was unimpressed that she found the one Mexican place ever to not serve margaritas.

The boat houses were super cute but I would hate boatloads (literally) of people walking around and creeping on my house every day.

After creeping on all those boat houses (I’m not beneath doing it to someone else), we stopped for some 10:00 in the morning ice cream. I got the best birthday cake flavor ever (that flavor is usually 50/50 with me) while hubs channeled his inner Canadian with moose tracks.

Or maybe he’s just channeling his inner Lindsey who loves her moose tracks.

They also had a flavor called Tiger Tail that is orange-flavored ice cream with black licorice swirl. Gross. We did not have that but Keke (who is Canadian) insisted it’s delicious. I’ll take her word for it. Those are two of my least favorite flavors and I hope Tiger Tail stays in Canada forever.

Again, we didn’t have anything planned excursion-wise in Victoria and thought we’d just wing it once we got off the ship. Cheyanne and Ricky decided to do their own thing while Ken, Keke, hubs, and I found a whale watching tour at the dock area that we really liked and booked. We had an hour and a half before our tour so we walked from the dock area to downtown to catch the sights before our tour – like the B.C. Parliament building.

Victoria is the capitol of B.C. and is more populated than Toronto. So how about that for some trivia, aye?

We also saw boats in a harbor.

And a mirror on a wall.

Ok, so looking back on my pictures, we didn’t walk around that much. I think we were all done souvenir shopping by that point and just wanted to do something fun. I will say Victoria is really lush and pretty. There are flowers galore everywhere and one of Victoria’s main attractions is a botanical garden. But as Cheyanne said, “we’re seeing all the flowers for free by walking around. We don’t need to pay to see more flowers.”

After a short walk around the harbor and a quick beer stop, we walked back to the dock area to meet up for our excursion. Our excursion was with Eagle Wing tours. I mention their name because I thought they were great and again, we had a great tour guide. Our guide loooooved to talk and I believe he had just gotten a Marine Biology degree, so he knew his stuff and we learned a lot about marine life and Victoria that I absolutely don’t remember.

Ken’s face in the picture above makes me giggle.

The tour supplied us all with pants, coats, hats, glasses, and sunscreen. It was HOT in those jackets when we were on land but it was freakin’ freezing out on the water. Still nice. But freezing. I do love me some cold weather.

First we watched some whales. We saw one do a deep dive and followed another one for awhile that was just swimming. Not a lot of whale action but still nice to see what we did and to be out on the water. Then we made our way over to Race Rocks ecological reserve to see the poor, male sea lions that didn’t get a mate for the season.

That is the life right there. The stinky life, but the life nonetheless. Still, they are literally the losers. The entire reserve is all male because the ladies picked their hunks already and were off procreating somewhere. Maybe a nice hotel room. But these dudes have to wait for their chance again next mating season.

And finally my personal fave, we got to see Ollie the otter.

He’s hard to spot among all that kelp but holy crap if that isn’t the cutest animal in existence, I don’t know what is. He rolled around to get his belly wet and waved his little otter paws. Dawww. I love otters so much. I wanted to take him home with me. I guess Ollie has been hanging out there by himself for several years now. He’s an independent man, that one. I gotta respect that.

After our whale watching tour that turned into a sea lion and Ollie fest, we didn’t have much time left so we had to get back to the ship. Still we had a great time on the water all day. There were some really crowded whale watching boats out on the water and it was nice to be in one that held about 12 people total where everyone respected each other’s space.

So back to the ship we went for our last night where we managed to close down a bar. It was fun but a terrible idea because we had to be up early the next day to get off the ship. Keke requested Kesha for me because that is the only way you can get me to dance, and it was all downhill from there. I did have over 20k steps on my Fitbit so at least there’s that.

I have a few pictures left to share next post so we can get this vacation business over with and move on to me complaining about stuff.

 

 

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Skagway and Dyea

After our day in Juneau, we took it easy that night since we were arriving in Skagway the next morning. We didn’t have anything planned in Skagway and after our Juneau disappointment, I really wanted to find something fun to do. Instead of booking an excursion on the ship, we decided to see what they had to offer off the boat. We found a little excursion hut run by M&M Excursions. That was the same company that ran our cancelled excursion from Juneau. They already had great intial contact with us, notified us of our refunded Juneau excursion immediately, and were overall pleasant, so I felt pretty good going with them.

Our first choice excursion wasn’t available (train ride then bike ride) so we went with our second choice which was just a bike ride through the rainforest and the ghost town of Dyea (pronounced DYE-e). The timing gave us a couple hours to walk around town beforehand, so it worked out perfectly.

We also visited a lot of the local stores.

It took me more time to get that than it ever should have.

If you go on a cruise to Alaska and  Juneau and Skagway are two of your ports, I recommend waiting to buy souvenirs in Skagway. We noticed Juneau was far more expensive and had the same stuff (but less of options). We were annoyed that we bought a few things in Juneau that we found cheaper and better in Skagway.

Before leaving, I had read that Blockbuster Video was still a thing in Alaska and several stores were still thriving. I think it has something to do with spotty internet up there, but I can’t quite remember. Anyway, I was excited to visit a Blockbuster and relive my youth. Unfortunately, we did not see one but we did run across a surviving Radio Shack. The most diverse Radio Shack in the land at that. Not only did they rent videos there (and have new inventory)!

But they also sold mattresses.

(You did not read that incorrectly.)

(I’ll let that sink in for a second.)

If a Radio Shack sells mattresses in Alaska, does it make a sound?

After touristing a bit, we stopped at the Skagway Brewing Company for lunch and a drink.

I can’t remember what anyone had, but we all liked it a lot and it was later recommended to us by a local, so we felt like we made a pretty good decision in picking it.

After lunch, we met at a nearby bicycle shop for our excursion. We had a short van ride up to the excursion area and were briefed on what to do for traffic (slow down and pull to the side) and what to do for horses (slow down and pull to the side) and what to do if we saw a bear (sing loudly together, but what song to sing was not covered in the brief unfortunately). We all picked up our bikes after that and were off. I will tell you, there is nothing like getting on a mountain bike to tell you that you need to stretch your hips. Sweet mercy, who has that leg span?

We followed our guide on some pretty rough terrain. There was a lot of uneven dirt road and gravel so staying on the bike and off my face was a challenge. We stopped in a bunch of areas and our guide told us about the history of Skagway and Dyea, which was really interesting.

Long story short, back in the day Dyea and Skagway were in competition with each other because they were the closest cities to salt water ports and catered to miners and traders. On April 3, 1898, Dyea has a massive snow avalanche that killed over 70 people. This is today’s view of the landslide site and the cemetery where most of the people killed in the avalanche were buried.

The landslide gave Dyea a worldwide negative view that started to keep traders and travelers away which basically led to Dyea’s downfall and let Skagway step in as the new leader instead of sharing the trading limelight, which Skagway did not want to do. This is the last standing building in Dyea – the front facade of an old real estate business.

We continued our bike ride to what was the Dyea waterfront area during the Klondike Gold Rush. This is what it looked like in the late 1800’s.

This is what it looked like while we were there.

Still a beauty.

Finally, we made it back to our starting point – the Chilkoot Trailhead which was one of the routes to the Klondike gold fields.

The bike ride took about two hours and we all loved it and our tour guide. Our guide was super into the history of Alaska and you could not tell that he was telling these stories to people several times a day. I appreciated that. It’s always nice when people seem to enjoy their work. Also something randomly interesting to me is that the locals called the continental U.S. the “lower 48” while Hawaii calls it the “mainland.” #themoreyouknow

After our bike ride, we rode back into town and stopped at the Red Onion Saloon for drinks and a pre-windjamming snack of a giant plate of nachos.

See us in there?

The saloon used to be a brothel and the upstairs has since been turned into a brothel museum. All the servers were dressed the part, which was fun, and they had brothel tours for $10 pp.

Another long story short, back in the day when a miner came into the brothel and wanted to go upstairs with one of the girls, the miner picked the girl he wanted in an interesting way. Behind the bar, there were 10 dolls that resembled and represented the 10 girls working upstairs. The guy would choose the girl by picking the doll behind the bar. The guy would pay his money, go upstairs, and then the bartender would lay the doll on its back to show that the girl was busy. Once the guy came back downstairs, the doll was put back upright to let everyone know that girl was available again.

The museum was pretty neat and filled with a lot of original antiques from the gold rush days. Again, our tour guide was awesome and I highly recommend checking it out. The tour was only 20 minutes long and worth the $10.

I tipped our guide at the end and she insisted I put the money in her boobs, so there’s also that to look forward to.

After the Red Onion Saloon, we moseyed back to the ship and enjoyed our general shenanigans.

We also learned you could eat the little flowers from the spruce trees during our bike ride, so we tried that out.

I recommend sticking with the nachos.

And that was the end of Skagway. We loved it there and were sad to leave.

The next stop on the trip was Victoria, BC. But I’ll save that for the next post otherwise this thing will never be published. Until then!

 

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Alaska Things

Last time we left off, we made it to cruise day. We checked out of our hotel and Ubered over to the port to meet up with Ken and Keke so we could get some early “windjammin” in. The buffet on Royal Caribbean ships is called Windjammer, and we have henceforth made it a verb. So our inside joke since our RC cruise to Mexico is that we windjam. We invite each other to windjam if we know we’ll be eating a lot and if our pants don’t fit, we windjammed too hard. But when we are on the ship, the windjamming is strong in all of us.

Ok, got off track there. I’m glad we got to the port early, because even as a Gold member, the lines to check in were crazy. Our friends, Cheyanne and her husband Ricky, were also cruising with us, but they arrived a bit later, just in time for the computers to shut down. It took them two hours to get through the line and the ship left over an hour late because of the back up. Thank goodness we missed that. I would not have been a happy camper. This was the line when we were there and that was already poking at my newly discovered claustrophobia.

While Cheyanne and Ricky were waiting in line, Ken, Keke, hubs, and I were already eating, drinking, exploring the ship, and checking out the port views.

Our cruise was 7 nights and it stopped in Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, British Columbia. The first couple days of the cruise were at sea. I’d love to tell you that I spent my time seeing shows and being active, but we just windjammed and bar-hopped for two days straight. It was pretty gloomy and wet for half of the trip, so we used our imagination and drank champagne while taking in the “scenery.”

I did walk by the gym so that was pretty active of me. I also managed to climb the stairs instead of take the elevator for three days and ended up getting a stair badge I didn’t even know existed on my Fitbit. #fitbunnymom

Our first stop was in Juneau.

Stole the pic above straight from Cheyanne. I swear she was on the trip with us with her mom and her uncle. They all managed to allude my camera most of the trip. I do not understand how this happened as the girl loves a camera on her!

Back to Juneau. Juneau is an extremely small town and it’s Alaska’s capital. It was also the only port where we had an excursion planned. We booked a Mendenhall Glacier Trek which was an hour kayak to an ice cave that you can explore and then afterwards, you’re able to walk on top of the glacier. We were all really excited about this excursion, but…it was cancelled because the water was too choppy. Whomp, whomp. We were all really bummed.

Another tour guide tried to get us to book a helicopter ride and told us his excursion was the only one still running and all the other helicopters had been cancelled. I don’t know how he thought that was an enticing offer as I could barely see the mountains in front of my face from the ground. I was not about to pay to not see them from the sky too.

Instead, we all took a bus over to the Mendenhall Glacier because that’s what we really wanted to see. We hiked about a mile up to it and the weather cooperated for the most part.

Mendenhall Glacier is in the middle and on the right is Nugget Falls. Even in the gloom, it was still beautiful in person. I don’t think the pictures can do it justice. We spent some time getting close to the falls and taking pictures. I’m glad we had the experience, but it wasn’t what we had been looking forward to for 6 months so we were all a little meh about the day.

One thing that was really cool was seeing large chunks of blue ice floating in the water during the cruise and around the glacier.

We spent a couple hours at the glacier and falls and finally made our way back to the bus, just in time for it to start raining again. So we didn’t get lucky with our excursion but at least we did get lucky to not get caught in the rain.

Once we were back in town, we stopped at a tavern to have a drink and some dinner. I can’t remember the name of the place but it was the only tavern in town, they were insanely crowded, and had very entertaining liquor pricing.

Hubs and I split the reindeer sausage (delicious) and the crab cakes (super meh). We walked back to the shuttle to the ship afterwards because it was a little crowded in the restaurant for our taste. We were also pretty annoyed that we had to pay for the shuttle but no one ever took our ticket both ways.

So overall, Juneau is a really small town and there’s not much to do there so we didn’t love it. The whole excursion cancellation really put a damper on the area for us too because we were all *so* looking forward to seeing an ice cave and walking on a glacier, but what can you do? We made the most of our day, got back to the ship, and resumed our nightly activities of excessive drinking and windjamming.

Our next stop was Skagway which was infinitely better. More on that next post. 🙂

 

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Seattle Things

Two weeks ago, I returned from a nice, long, and probably my most deserved vacation. We flew out to Seattle for a couple days, then went on a 7-night Alaskan cruise with friends. Vacationing with friends is the best. Not the best on my liver or pant’s buttons, but it’s still the best.

We flew to Seattle on Wednesday and checked into this super cute boutique hotel called The Maxwell. They are part of Staypineapple hotels and have a pineapple theme (with pineapple cupcakes each night!). The room had wood floors and was super modern, clean, and comfy. I know I took several pictures of the cuteness that was our room, but for some reason they are not on my phone. Which means I must have taken it with my GoPro that was fully charged and ready to go but hadn’t been used in three years, so I think the battery died from lack of use. Of course, I didn’t realize this until I was on the cruise. I guess if you don’t use it, you really do lose it. Anyway, I have only cell phone pictures for the whole trip, and sadly none of the hotel except this one of hubs about five minutes after we entered the room.

Our good friends, Ken and Keke, flew out on the same flight as us but were staying with other friends that lived near our hotel. So they Ubered with us from the airport to the hotel so we could do some exploring before meeting up with their other friends.

We were starving for food and adult beverages after the long flight, so our first stop was a pub next to our hotel called McMenamin’s. McMenamin’s has only OK Yelp reviews but awesome food and service in our opinion. I had fish and chips, hubs had a fish sandwich with some amazing spicy tater tots, and Ken and Keke had a burger. All delicious.  Again, no pictures except for this one I got of the ceiling.

oh hai, dapper, juggling merman.

From there, we started exploring the area a bit. I’ve been to Seattle once before but it was hub’s first time, so we walked over to the Space Needle and got our tourist gold star for the day.

That day ended with a few beers at a local pub and an 8:30pm bed time because we took a nap that turned into a sleep.

The next morning, we walked to breakfast at a place called Citizen.

Man, we loved it there. We went back a second time we liked it so much. The atmosphere was chill, they were playing good music, the food was awesome. Just an all around good vibe. Hubs ordered a turkey, raspberry crepe that sounded terrible to me, but was surprisingly delicious. I ordered it the second time.

I also got a mimosa and a spiked iced coffee because when you can’t decide, you get both.

We walked around after breakfast for awhile and played Pokemon (Oh yeah. Someone out there still plays that game – and it’s me!) and did a little sight-seeing on our own. This was also the day that news broke about Chris Cornell and, as he was from Seattle, it was big news there. The local news stopped us and asked if we wanted to talk on camera about him but I was wearing no makeup and did nothing with my hair so that was not going to happen. But it was still kinda cool to be asked.

We met back up with Ken and Keke at our hotel around noon where we were waiting like special snowflakes in our special chairs. I prepared my face and hair accordingly in case someone wanted to put me on camera again. (They didn’t.)

We walked from the hotel down to Pike Place Market.

By the time we got there, we were starving and ended up eating at some place we just picked so we could all still be friends instead of what might have happened had we continued to go hungry. I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was overpriced and mediocre. I didn’t take any pictures, but I ordered a cornbread salad which literally had no lettuce. It had cornbread – with salad toppings. I guess I should have seen that one coming.

After lunch, we were ready to actually see more sights now that we were on friendly terms again. We walked over to the gum wall.

Six months earlier, all the gum was removed for some renovation of the area. So that is fresh-from-the-mouth goodness.

We also walked through the market and quickly found the baby kidnapping area.

And took my favorite picture of the whole trip in front of the fish throwing area.

That was not intentional. Hubs was taking a picture of us on the left while a stranger took the one above. I laughed so hard at that picture when I first saw it, I almost needed to run to the baby kidnapping area.

As the market was closing for the day, we found this awesome little comic shop. Ken, hubs, and I each bought a mystery box. If you’re not familiar, they are little boxes where you can get one of 12 to 15 characters, and each character has a different ratio of being able to get it. We all got exactly the character we wanted, which never happens. Seattle luck, perhaps? All I know is we were three excited, high-fiving nerds. I got the Rick and Morty mystery box and got my little Mr. Meeseeks!

After our sight-seeing, we met up with Ken and Keke’s friend Tom for a few beers at an Irish pub that was just off the main market street.

Then Ken and Keke went back to Tom’s house while hubs and I walked back over to the Space Needle to get some dinner.

I know dinner in the Space Needle is the touristy thing to do, but I did it last time I was in Seattle and quite enjoyed it. So I wanted hubs to check it out too. We both had a great time. An expensive time but a great time – with an amazing view.

By the way, our other friends that were in town could not get a reservation for dinner there. Both times I’ve been to the Space Needle for dinner, I have not had a reservation. I just ask the host for a table. The host pretends they’re crazy busy, calls someone, and magically, they have space. So if you can’t get a reservation or don’t have one, I recommend that approach.

We ordered a bottle of wine with dinner and finished it, which basically meant I was finished for the night. We walked back to the hotel (or so I’m told) and I pretty much passed out. The next day, we boarded the ship. So more travel fun in the next post!

 

 

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Quick Weekend Trip

I’ve been meaning to blog lately but I’ve been busy and when I’m busy, two things take a backseat: blogging and personal hygiene. So please excuse me while I blog about outdated stuff.

A couple weekends ago, I flew out to Colorado to visit my niece.  She goes to college at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which goes by the initials CU. So confusing. Why?!

My brother bought a CU hat for my nephew and I thought it was “California University” for half the day.

It was family weekend at CU, so my brother, SIL, twinsie nephews, and I all flew into Denver. I  immediately noticed I had flown far enough to reach a different type of natural disaster.

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I will take a hurricane over a tornado any day.

I Uber’ed it to the hotel in Boulder and met up with my family. We chatted for a bit and then everyone but my brother and I went to bed early because they are lame. My brother and I went to the hotel bar because we both picked up the really-good-at-drinking gene in the family.

Saturday morning, we went out for breakfast at The Egg and I. It’s a chain breakfast restaurant, but none of us had been there before and we all really liked it. Run, do not walk to try their Pumpkin Pecan Waffle. It was so good that I instantly regretted the decision to share with everyone.

After breakfast, we toured my niece’s sorority which was surprisingly nice.

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I’m not sure why I had the idea that sororities are like run down tenements where girls have to bare-knuckle fight over the last piece of bread, but it was not like that at all. It was more like a small Gryffindor with spunky females that have fast metabolisms and can’t do any magic.

After the sorority tour, all of us but my SIL (bad knee) and nephew next to me in the pic above (broken foot) headed over to the Flatirons for some all uphill hiking.

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There is no filter on that picture.

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In the Flatirons, there is a climbing trail and a hiking trail. We ended up taking the climbing trail on accident and we only know this because we saw the signs on the way down. On our way up, we saw people coming down with full climbing gear, which in retrospect, was probably our first clue.

We reached the first flatiron in about 45 minutes.

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But then we made our way back down from there since we were ill-prepared for climbing.

Saturday night, we went to dinner at Zolo Southwestern Grill and then walked along Pearl Street for a bit. It was rainy so there weren’t a lot of people out, but I saw one woman standing on a park bench, with one arm to the sky, humming loudly to no one in particular. I have a feeling the people watching there is magnificent and I must go back.

I left Sunday morning. *sad face* The trip was really short but I had fun hanging out with the family, getting to see a little bit of Boulder, and wearing my one long-sleeved piece of clothing.

 

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Paula does Toronto

All good things must come to an end, which means I had to bid farewell to the cabin. I mentioned that at the end of my third day, we went to a comedy club. We met up with a bunch of Lindsey’s friends at Yuk Yuk’s for Emily’s birthday. Let me just say, it’s kind of weird seeing some of Lindsey’s friends in person after reading about and seeing pictures of them for years. I basically wanted to stare at Emily and Dawn all night.

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Anyway, there were several comedians. One of them was so terrible that I felt sorry for him. But, there was one comedian that was amazing. He made me laugh hard. He mentioned during his routine that he wanted to be picked up and carted off in to the street with people chanting his name. So at the end of the show (after chanting his name of course), we had to go say hi to him. And pick him up. At first he was like, “no, no, that would make me so uncomfortable.” But Lindsey was all, “you asked for it!” So this is him saying “no” but our arms are already out saying “yes.”

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And then we just went for it without his permission.

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Guys, if two lovely ladies want to pick you up after they’ve been drinking, you let them do it.

So that was a good time. Oh, and a weird thing about Canada: when you pay for food or drinks at a restaurant, you get asked “do you need the machine?” It took me two days to figure out what the hell that meant. Servers bring a machine to you if you want to pay with credit. In America, the server takes your card to their computer and brings it back after it’s charged. I gotta say, I like the way it’s done in Canada better. Your card is never out of your sight.

On our fourth and last day (sniff), it was my birthday so Evan made me a birthday pancake.

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Then their roommate spilled orange juice on it but I’m sure he did it out excitement for my birthday.

After breakfast, we took the subway downtown for a little sightseeing.

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We walked around China town and shopped for some “tang” tops.

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We stopped for a $6 mimosa (because that’s a bargain in Toronto) at a roof top bar.

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We went to an underground store that sold the best t-shirt ever created.

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And eventually, we made our way on the ferry to Toronto Island.

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Toronto Island is this weird mixture of half tourism/ half locals enjoying their day and it’s really easy to tell which is which. We were pretty hungry once we got there, so we enjoyed some of Lindsey’s least favorite pizza in the city.

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That was pretty much the only food on the island because the main restaurant was closed. To be fair, she told us it was her least favorite after we had eaten it. (Thanks?) I thought it was pretty good and made better by the best view from our picnic table, even though the weather overcast and chilly.

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After pizza, we walked around and checked out all the sights. Lindsey was super excited about a scrambler ride on the island that was featured in the movie Take this Waltz. So the boys hung out while Lindsey and I got our ride on.

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Lindsey also made sure they played Video Killed the Radio Star just like in the movie and then proceeded to serenade me the whole ride. So that was a treat.

A random American/Canadian difference I noticed: In Canada, public bathrooms are called washrooms. In America, they are restrooms. I’m sure one of you can use that information at some point, so you’re welcome.

After the ride, we found a petting zoo. With GIANT FLEMISH RABBITS. And BUNNIES. And GUINEA PIGS. And BABY PIGS. And LLAMAS. And GIANT CHAIRS. Basically my dream petting zoo.

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After the island, we hit up a German restaurant for dinner and drinks. The food was great and I was really happy to be off my feet because the puppies were barkin’. We did a little more exploring after that and ended up at El Catrin, a super fun and trendy Mexican restaurant, for MOAR drinks.

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Where’s Alan?

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Hubs and I both looooved this place and thought it was one of the highlights of our trip. I had a great time and it was fun exploring a new city on my birthday. At the end of the day, I had 23k steps on my Fitbit, so we were all dead tired and ready for bed.

One more picture or it didn’t happen.

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Toronto is literally the most diverse city I have ever seen. I was really surprised. I feel like there’s no way to see it all in just a few days but we covered a lot of ground in the short time we were there. Also, a BIG thanks to Lindsey and Evan for letting hubs and I invade their home and for being awesome tour guides for four days, even though it wasn’t their idea and they probably couldn’t have gotten out of it if they wanted to.

**Here is Lindsey’s post on the day if you’re so inclined.**

 

 

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Warsaw Caves

Yeah, I’m still talking about Canada. I was only there for four days, but man, we packed in a lot of good stuff. I have one more post after this and you’ll be free of my Canada talk until the next trip. Because I will totally go back.

On the third day, we drove from the cottage to the Warsaw Caves to do a little spelunking. I remember Lindsey posting about the caves awhile ago and thought it sounded interesting in a poop-your-pants-as-an-adult kind of way. When I told hubs about it, he was seriously down and it was the only thing he asked specifically to do the whole vacation. So creepy, dark, spidery, confined caves it was.

On the way there, we stopped at a store for headlamps which just happened to be near a very small sidewalk market. While Evan was on headlamp duty, Lindsey, hubs, and I walked over to the market to hunt down the infamous butter tart. All I have to say is holy crap, because butter tarts are legit and probably the best thing from the list that I got to try.

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So buttery. So tarty. My teeth hurt while eating it but it was totally worth it. My first baby shall be named Butter Tart.

We arrived at the caves, which are located at a conservation area about 45 minutes from the cottage. We checked in quickly had a short walk to the first cave where hubs had no problem being the first one in.

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I went last since I didn’t have a headlamp and also because CAVES. I got in there and was crouching to try to get into a larger open area. There were a lot of people in the cave and I could hear a lot of voices in the distance but it was really tight and confined so I immediately chickened out. I never knew I had claustrophobia but apparently I do. Also, I’ve seen the movies and I know what happens so I GTFO and waited outside the cave while the three crazies were inside smiling and taking pictures like you couldn’t die at any minute in there.

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While I was waiting, I read the brochure and found out that the fifth cave was a cave for wussies and that sounded good to me. So we skipped caves 2-4 for a more Paula friendly cave that wouldn’t freak me out except that it kinda did because you had to sit on a ledge and then drop down into it.

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Of course, I slipped and it hurt but once I got in there, it wasn’t so bad. I felt like I had to keep moving though because there were some really tight areas that I did not want to loiter in. At one point, hubs was waiting for a family to get out of the cave in front of him and I was sandwiched between two giant rocks behind him and I just needed to get into a more open area. He was able to move forward a bit for me but I don’t think it would have been pretty if he couldn’t. Eventually, I put on my big girl pants and was even able to smile for some pictures in the tiny little death cave.

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By the way, it’s all fun and games until you have to get out of the cave. Dropping into a cave means climbing back out. Or belly crawling 10 meters to another opening and NOPE. I’ll climb, thank you.

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I think this is me trying to get out. It doesn’t look that hard from above but let me tell you, that was not the case. Lindsey went first and got out of that cave like she was Canada’s Ninja of Parkour. Then, hubs is behind me saying, “Once you start, you have to commit” and Lindsey is outside the cave yelling, “Come on! you do Crossfit!” So yeah. Helpful. But I got out and we lived to explore another scary cave.

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Well, scary just for me because hubs was LOVING it. No fear with that one.

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After we were done with the caves, we went for a hike in the conservation area to find the giant kettle. Kettles are like big potholes that were formed when granite stones trapped in the river current spun around in place, grinding their way into the limestone. We saw a few smaller ones on the way to the big one. I had never heard of a kettle before so I thought it was pretty interesting to learn about.

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After the caves, we went back to the cottage to soak up some sun because the day was PERFECT. It was seriously like Florida winter. Sunny, cool breeze, 70°F.

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Or 21°C for you Canadians. Seriously, I never knew what the weather was there because everyone be all, “Fahrenheit what?”

I also got to enjoy the Evan’s famous cooking and it was a delight for sure.

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We had pork skewers and full disclosure, I do not like pork, but I liked those skewers enough to have two.

You would think this was the end of our day, but it was not. We ended up going to a comedy club that night that had one of the better and the worst comedians I’ve ever seen. So Canada representing both sides of the spectrum there. I’ll save that one for next time.

And of course, Lindsey already posted about the day so you can read her post here.

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Cottage in the Woods

The last we left off on my great Canadian adventure, we were in Niagara Falls. We left Niagara in the morning for Evan’s family’s cottage. If you read Lindsey’s blog, you know she’s all “Cottage! Cottage! Cottage! I love cottage!” so she was very excited to take us there. But first, we made a pit stop at Tim Horton’s. Tim Horton’s is the Dunkin Donuts of Canada and Timbits (their donut holes) were on my list of Canadian delicacies to try. In the great American/Canadian donut hole challenge, Tim Horton’s wins. By a lot. I also ordered an iced coffee and apparently that comes with a “sugar base.” In the U.S., you only get sugar in your coffee if you ask for it. I just took this as Canada’s first of many attempts to fatten me up.

We also stopped to pick up some booze along the way because cottages are for drinking. I thought I might actually die when I saw a bottle of Absolute is $27. That is madness! The same size bottle in Orlando is $14. Now I see how Canada can offer free health care, cuz you guys are paying out the ass for everything else.

We dropped off our things at the cottage and made a B-line for lunch at the Golden Beach Resort.

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The Golden Beach Resort is a cottage resort and it is kind of in the middle of nowhere so it is very quaint and…woodsy? I liked it. The restaurant there is small and homey and has a patio, and patios are important.

The shrimp flatbread sounded good so I ordered that for the table. And man, it was delicious. I could have eaten that for my meal. It was also served on a fish plate which is adorable.

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We also got (authentic!) poutine for the table. Lindsey was not going to let me leave Canada with our last poutine experience in my memory. It looks like a giant cow patty but it was delicious, and I’m not even a fan of gravy. Now I know what she has been talking about all these years. Poutine. It’s what dreams are made of.

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Those cheese curds melt and get all stringy and delightful.

I also got the fish and chips because Lindsey said it was the, “best fish and chips of her life” the week before on her blog. So, that had to happen.

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Very good. The best of my life? Probably not. But close.

After lunch, we went back to the cabin. The weather was a bit chilly and it started to rain, so we all took a nap on the couch. Not one couch. There were three, lest you think we just piled up. That’s when I knew Lindsey and Evan were our soul mates because I love a good rainy day nap. When the rain stopped, we hung out on the dock and drank while watching Evan try to unsuccessfully fix a boat motor. There’s nothing like drinking and watching someone else do manual labor.

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Once the sun went down, it got pretty chilly so Lindsey made us all look like lumberjacks.

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The most exciting part of the night was getting to see lightning bugs again! I haven’t seen those since I lived in Illinois. Also exciting: ketchup chips.

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These were on the list and Lindsey bought them before we knew the list existed, so she gets some extra Canadian points for that. I don’t really eat chips much and I took that bag out. I thought they sounded gross at first, but they have a little kick to them and are amazing. Why don’t we have them in America?

I’m not even sure what we did after that. I think there were games but we ended up just chatting all night and hanging on the dock for awhile to check out the stars. It was a really fun second day in Canada even though the weather wasn’t that (says Lindsey because I’ll take 55 degree weather any day).

You can also check out Lindsey’s post about the day and see what pictures I stole from her.

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Niagara Falls Fun

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to go on vacation to Toronto and decided that since Lindsey lived there, she should entertain me on that vacation for four days straight. When I told her about my plans, she said yes which was very exciting since I had only met her once before. Back in the blonde and black and white days.

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I’d like to think we took a shine to each other and knew it was a matter of time before me met again.

One thing hubs and I really wanted to do on our Toronto adventures was see Niagara Falls since I knew it was pretty close. I told Lindsey that we were thinking of renting a car and driving over one day when she was like, “hell no, we’ll take you!” So instead of flying into Toronto, we flew into Buffalo, NY so we could hit up Niagara first thing. We got a pretty good deal on a Southwest flight. We were in boarding group C but still managed to score a sweet window seat.

Enjoying that view.

Lindsey and her lover, Evan, picked us up at the airport. Hubs spotted them first, which was lucky, since they were enamored with an American snack machine instead of finding us. Once we got to the car, Evan leveled up our friendship by instantly offering us delicious maple cookies. I should have taken a picture of them, because they were part of my (very important) Canadian culinary adventure. But alas, I did not. Just know that they were delicious and maple and when you are in Canada, you eat maple dammit.

We drove maybe an hour to Niagara, where Lindsey had booked a sweet hotel room for us. This was our view from the room.

I really have to stop using my  phone to take pictures because that is some blurry crap. Also, this trip make me realize that I am just awful at photography so I have stolen many of Lindsey’s pictures because she is better than me and needs to teach me her ways.

Anyway, none of us had eaten lunch, so we dropped off our bags in the room and walked to place called The Secret Garden. This isn’t it, but this was along the way.

You’ll notice a stuffed parrot in the picture above. His name is Alan Barkin (because he’s a boy and we couldn’t name him Ellen, duh). He was rescued from a crane game and now he’s out living life. You’ll be seeing a lot of him from now on and probably a post dedicated to his exciting new life.

Ok back to lunch. We chose the Secret Garden because it had a patio and we all agreed we likey patios. My first order of business was to try a Canadian beer so I ordered a Steam Whistle, which was good.

I didn’t get a picture of my food, but I had a burger. When I ordered it cooked medium, the girl was like, “we only cook those one way.” And then Lindsey was all, “you get to choose how your burger is cooked in America?” Yes. Yes we do. I’m sorry to all you Canadians who only get to experience well done burgers. It makes me sad for you. Please come to America and have a burger that is cooked medium and thank me later. The burger was good but in a overly cooked kind of way. I also tried some of Lindsey’s poutine (also on my list of Canadian things to put in my mouth) and it was just ok.

Poutine is fries with gravy and cheese curds. This one had shredded cheese instead, and what tasted like canned gravy. No bueno. Lindsey assured me that it was a bad example of poutine and that I had to try it again. Fine, fine. If I must. While were on the food subject, I am completely convinced that Heinz ketchup tastes different in Canada. I feel like their version is more vinegary and America’s is more sweet. Hubs thinks I’m crazy but if I like the taste in America but not in Canada, there’s gotta be something different, right? Who’s with me?

After lunch, we walked over to the Hornblower, a boat that takes you up close to the American and Canadian falls.

Let me tell you, it is windy and wet down there but also beautiful and amazing to experience. Definitely a must do if you’re visiting the area. I think it’s only $20 which is like $1.50 in Canadian money or something.

After the boat, we walked around and checked out the falls for awhile. It was especially cool to see the water flowing over the edge of the falls. We tried to find a barrel so we could ride over, but no luck.

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Since Niagara is a tourist area, there are a bunch of gift stores everywhere. Hubs was especially excited to find Kinder eggs. They are illegal in the U.S. (you read that right) because the small toys inside are a choking hazard. Canada all be like, “let our children choke!” Hubs used to love these when he lived in Germany and he always talks about how he misses them, so once he saw them he was like a kid in a candy store. Except he was an adult in a candy store because we were actually in a candy store.

“Nutrition facts. Please contact us by mail.” I’m tempted.

After walking around all day, we needed to freshen up a bit at the hotel before we went out for dinner. And by freshen up, I mean we put on some perfume and called it good. We went out for drinks first and then to a place called Coco’s (also with a patio) and had some really good pizza and more drinks until we shut the place down. I’m absolutely certain I took more pictures at this point but I can’t find them so I guess it didn’t happen. #bloggerlogic

More walking happened after dinner and we checked out the falls at night, which are lit up with different, changing colors. Very pretty. I wanted to go on the nighttime illumination boat tour to see the lights up close but they didn’t run that tour on Thursday, which was a bummer but also a blessing. It was super chilly outside and being on the wet, cold boat probably would have sucked. At the end of the night, we checked out the casino where I proceeded to lose money that Lindsey handed me because I am gambling poison.

It was a really fun and busy first day in Canada.

You can also check out Lindsey’s post about our first day. She remembers things better than I do and takes more pictures. Smile

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