Sunday, July 13, 2014

Home Sweet Toronto

Front of Complex
Wow, I am having a hard time coming to grips with the realization we are over seven months into our trek- Time flies when you are having fun! Tom and I were talking the other day about how we might be a tad addicted to the excitement each new city brings, all the treasure troves waiting for us to uncover while we are there; the idea of going back to reality now seems so mundane. It has been said that most people suffer post vacation depression after being thrust back into the real world; I’m not looking forward to the harsh awakening we might experience when we decide to permanently land again, a lot of vacations may need to be in the cards or maybe “nomads for life” is our calling. Who knows, we go where the stars align!

Fitness Facility
This month we can officially add international road trip to the journey, we've crossed over into Canada! We had a few stresses and concerns getting everything set up for our month here; from making sure Tom had been cleared for Global Entry, and his ability to fly, no pun intended, through customs for his return flights state side, to making sure Miss Ethel had all her paperwork in order to cross with us without having to undergo any quarantine issues. Traveling with a dog across the border can be a bit tricky; but luckily Canada and the US have pretty good reciprocity, we needed to show her vaccinations, requiring her last rabies shot prior to the last thirty days or we would've need a veterinary wellness exam for international travel. Plus Canada has higher standards for food quality than America (most countries do), so I was slightly concerned they might confiscate her food, but they didn't even ask about it! Whew! In fact the entire process was pretty simple, the conversation went like this:

Tom hands over passports and Ethel’s records.
Custom Agent: “How long will you be staying and where?"
Tom: “Four weeks and in Toronto.”
Custom Agent:  Eye lift
Tom: “Well we won’t just be in Toronto, we will be traveling to other areas in Canada as well.”
Custom Agent: “Just the one dog?”
Tom: “Yes”
Custom Agent: “Any firearms?”
Tom: “No”
Custom Agent:  Eyeing our loaded vehicle, “What all do you have in your car?”
Tom: “Mostly my wife’s clothes and shoes”
Custom Agent: “Have a good holiday,” as she handed back our documents and sent us on our way.

Welcome Gift
Besides dealing with customs with a dog, Toronto also offered us another first, we officially met our first Airbnb host after seven stays. The adorable Garine, or Verginia as she likes to be called, met us as we arrived and gave us a tour of the condo complex. She had left us with some ice cold local beer in the fridge, a nice and welcome present after loading the car in Philly, then spending nine hours on the road, and then all the unloading that needed to be done here in Toronto. Verginia is adorably sweet, and I knew she had an art show going on, so of course my inquisitive side required me googling her, because A) I was curious,  B) I am nosy and C) I wanted to see her photography.  And what do I find? That she works for the Canadian Travel Channel and has interviewed none other than Anthony Bourdain, whom I have a huge married girl crush on! So yeah, you can say I can now be connected to Anthony Bourdain via one connection if we were playing the “Back to Bacon” game!

Ethel Chilling Deck Side
Toronto has its gems and its drawbacks. What I love, the produce, it is divine! Fresh is an understatement, you go to the market and it is literally like you are purchasing strawberries minutes after they were picked. For a vegetarian and organic health nut like me, this is seriously heaven. Canada, especially Ontario, is exceptionally clean, even the trash bins on the streets open by foot so nobody has to touch the gross things, it’s like living in a version of OCD heaven! The drawbacks, Canada has a lot of rules and rules and I don’t get along so well; I hear to the word rule and I am automatically thinking of ways I can get around it. Yeah, conformity and living inside the box isn't for me, the very word “rule” causes me to get a little claustrophobic, yeah, my poor, poor parents!

Also, we have discovered Canada, Ontario specifically, isn't dog friendly. Taking Ethel out to dinner with us, even if they have patio dining, has proved to be a bit of a challenge; apparently the idea that a pet is a also a family member hasn't caught on here yet like it has in the America’s, or we have been spoiled state side and visited a bunch of pet friendly cities. Although we have found if we put Ethel in her stroller, more places are willing to cave and let her eat with us, plus, have you seen our dog? She is pretty hard to say no to!

Sunset View From Deck
As far as the condo, it is clean, modern and perfectly fits all of our needs! My favorite, I have a functional kitchen; so the dining out with the dog hasn't posed too many issues, because I am over the moon to cook with good pans, knives and appliances! Ah, it is the simple things and not being able to cook a full proper meal since DC  has been a bit hard on me; those of you that know me, know I love to cook, so being deprived of this, is a challenge and it does make me appreciate the times I do have an operational kitchen. The condo complex also boasts a fitness facility, so I get to sneak out while the dog takes her morning nap and hit the gym, a fully equipped gym; for a personal trainer, this is heaven and not having one for over seven months, truly makes you take advantage of having one a stone throw away.

The view of downtown is to die for, we have an underground parking stall, so the large deck is also

home to the roof rack, damn height limits on parking garages, but we do still have plenty of space for the outdoor table and lounging with a glass of cold white wine. Which makes for a great escape, especially since our A/C unit has been on the fritz; it suffers a bit of schizophrenia and sometimes likes to quit working, so we have to reset the system and while it cools down inside, the deck makes for a great option. Plus we are in Toronto, so the high since we've been here has been 85, so it’s not like we are living in an inferno or anything.

Here she is, our Luxury Toronto Condo with a door man/concierge and all, again rented via Airbnb:
View of Downtown From Deck


  1. Several times we have thought about moving to Canada but we never wanted to be that far away from the family. It is a lovely place with really nice, friendly people for the most part.

    Your adventure is just beyond belief. You guys should be filming your way across the country and have Dave and Darrin make a documentary from your trips. It is amazing.

    I love your picture and especially your blog and elf pictures. Thanks so much for sharing your adventure with us all. Love and Hugs

    1. Canada is great, but cold! :) Plus if you decided to go there, you're only a flight away... I don't know about a movie, the blog seems ample, then we can share it with those we care about and those close to them. :)