Chase writes about free time in Toronto last week….
Waking up early always seems to be easier when you know you have a fun day ahead of you, and today was one of those days. The bustling breakfast got the day going, and my group set out for Niagara Falls. Traveling is a new activity for me, and going anywhere really gets me excited to see the new things. After a quick nap on the bus I woke up in?Niagara Falls, Ontario, where you could smell the tourism in the air. The cold hit us hard as we walked out of the warm bus, but thankfully I had bought an insulated baseball cap with ear covers the day before (great impulse buy, I know). Immediately, the cameras and phones were pulled out and pictures were snapped of friends, the river, the hill and city, and, of course, the falls. Tons and tons of water poured over the edge and shot up in the air and created large hills of snow on the ice below the falls. After a bit, the frigid air forced most of us into the visitor’s center?and the restaurants and gift shops inside,?and forced a few people to do a bit of impulse buying.
The way back to Toronto was slowed down by quite the big city traffic, but the time was filled with card games, naps, and same antsy moving around waiting to get out on the town. On arrival a few of us had no idea what we planned on doing, and I was completely okay with that. Some groups went on a big walk to the mall, some went to a show at a theater, and a few of my friends and I walked around with almost no aim at all. Most times this would bother me, but the pure size of Toronto was enough to keep this kid from Green Bay, Wisconsin entertained. Being with a group of girls, we were?kept busy by all the stores on the few main streets around our hotel. We went to a highly recommended bar and grill and enjoyed some delicious food. My meal was the new glimpse of Canadian heaven, ?poutine,? [fries covered with gravy and cheese curds] which I had never heard of before, but I am going to miss it even more than hearing people telling me to ?Have a nice day, eh.? (That is saying a lot.)
After our meal, we wanted to possibly get on the subway and head over to the mall for a little bit. We walked downstairs, but?the throng of the busy people, the confusing signs, and the issue of not having the exact change scared us away from the subway and back to the hotel where we relaxed for a bit. The rest of the night was filled with a few card games, a movie, and a late night trip to the convenient store across the way to get some cookies and snacks. There was also an awesome jazz/rock band in the bar connected to the hotel where we got to listen to some fantastic live music, and watch some elderly people get their groove on out on the dance floor.
This full free day was wonderful. Spending time with friends, getting closer to new friends, and discovering more about this amazing world are just a few of the things that came from this amazing opportunity. I loved being able to tell the waitress that we were from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and we were in town as part of the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir’s performance tour. We were just bringing a little more diversity to the spectacular city of Toronto, and I have a feeling most of us will be bringing some great stories back home, eh?