Armchair traveller

The past couple of days haven’t been all that rivetting. I’m slowly trying to get into a routine so the hours, days and weeks don’t rush past, leaving me feeling like I haven’t achieved anything. Glen and I have been to the gym in the morning and this is set to continue. My legs hurt (worked on them yesterday) and tomorrow my triceps should be feeling tender. We think there mustn’t be many people in the building yet as the lifts at rush hour aren’t busy and the gym is empty between 6 and 7 (which is a good thing).

As well as the exercise, I’m trying my best to eat better during the week and have so far been succeeding. It’s the usual porridge and eggs in the morning, and a salad at lunch, with chicken, veg and brown rice in the evening. Finding snacks inbetween meals has been the hardest, particularly as this is when I find myself in the supermarkets surrounded by such delicacies as chocolate, chips and bread (oh god, I just want to eat bread all the time). Getting through to the check-out without picking any of these things up is a challenge worthy of Survivor.

But so far I have abstained. It better be doing me some good.

Glen and I have been discussing travel plans for the next couple of months. There are just so many places to see and things to do that every time I find something new, I exclaimed about it. Glen gets a bit frustrated with that as of course there is only so much money to go around. Still, it’s nice to dream.

Nunavut - May 2008
Nunavut – May 2008 (Photo credit: courosa)

For example, you can be flown up to the northernmost point of Canada, a place called Quttinirpaaq in Nunavut, for $23,500. One-way. I can’t imagine there’s a lot to see up there but who cares. Just to go would be an experience.

Thanks to Richard, we also have another few options for checking out good deals for travel. We’ve been using Expedia mainly as we get more points on the Canadian credit card we have, but there are also fare errors and cheap deals and whatnot. The most exciting recent one was a cheapish flight to Alaska in September or October. That’s about $500 return. And, hello? Alaska!

Unfortunately, timing is a bit of an issue and I’ve looked into it a bit more and the flights are about 13 to 16 hours all up, which means that you could go on a Saturday morning but have to leave at midnight Sunday to get back late on Monday. Not quite convenient for a quick trip. I’m itching to get there though, mainly for the Northern Lights.

However, I’ve been doing a bit of digging and there’s a place called Torrance Barrens Night Sky Preserve, which is about two and a half hours drive from Toronto. It’s the closest place to Toronto where you can (possibly) see the aurora borealis. I’ve now bookmarked a few aurora websites to find out when the auroral zone is “stormy”. Hopefully we can take the “short” drive up and see a spectacular display. There are of course other options, like Thunder Bay, where Porter Airlines flies, or else Prince Edward Island (might be going there in October) and Newfoundland/Labrador. September 2013 “promises to be a once-in-a-decade opportunity to experience the sun’s magnetic power at its height.” Not going to miss that, no sir.

We’ve booked a five-day trip to Quebec for August/September. The Canada Parks pass Glen and I received from my cousin and aunt lists a number of historical/cultural sites within Quebec where the pass is accepted so we’ll make good use of that. I also checked out details of a national park a couple of hours out of Quebec City, called La Mauricie, which looks wonderful. Plenty of wildlife and lots of nature. You can also hire these tent things but I think we’ll have to book them in advance, which means locking down our movements in Quebec a bit more. Of course, we’ll have to hire a car too. And I wanted to stay in Chateau Frontenac but it’s a bit expensive at the moment. Will look for special deals next time around. Perhaps we can honeymoon there.

What else?

We’ve hired a car to go to the Peach Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake in August. Peaches!

Organising a weekend in Windsor. Like Detroit, which is just across the water from Windsor, it is an old automotive town, hit hard by the failing industry. Lonely Planet says there’s very little reason to go there and from what I’ve seen that’s about right. However, what is nearby is Point Pelee National Park and the fall migration. According to the Parks Canada website, “more than 370 species of birds have been recorded in Point Pelee and the surrounding area, making this one of the premiere birdwatching locations in North America.”  Though not in the fall/autumn, mid-August should be a good time to witness a lot of migration. I think we’ll drive there from Toronto, rather than fly. It seems to work out cheaper.

That’s about all the travel that’s locked in for the coming month. I keep looking though, seeing what else we can squeeze in when. Prince Edward Island needs to be booked for October and prices aren’t looking too bad. It’s dangerous to spend too long on travel websites though as you start to think how you can afford to do more.

Apart from drooling over travel websites, I’ve been out to the shops a few times, mostly just to get out of the building but also to buy a few things for around the house. Today I returned a frying pan we didn’t need (yay for refunds) and bought a compost bin and a Canadian flag towel.

Back home, I would never be seen dead buying an Australian flag anything but here, it feels perfectly acceptable to buy a Canadian flag towel. Maybe it’s because I’m not Canadian. Glen is keen for me to get him one too.

The past two nights have been quiet. Glen’s at a fellows’ welcome dinner tonight and I’m at home alone. Which isn’t so bad, I suppose. I’ve been able to read a bit, catch up on this. There’s a bit more happening the rest of the week. I’m back to editing my novel again and hope to have that done in the next week so I can send it off for submission. Haven’t written anything new for a while so that’s something I’ll have to get on to.

But for now, I’m going back to reading my book.

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4 Replies to “Armchair traveller”

  1. I hope you get to Prince Edward Island! It has always been a dream of mine to go there, but I could not afford it when I was a grad student.

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  2. Hi Dan,
    Prince Edward Island is very pretty. The earth is red just like Australia, so you will feel at home. You will have to catch up on your Anne of Green Gables books tho’ we went in October and it was getting a bit nippy.

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    1. Anne of Green Gables was one of my mum’s favourite books/movies so I’m looking forward to checking it out.

      I think everywhere in Canada is going to start getting nippy shortly but will just have to push through as best we can or else we’ll be stuck not doing anything for six months.

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