Albert comes to visit

We collected Albert from the airport on Sunday evening. His flight was half an hour delayed but that gave us time to buy pink Blue Jays baby clothes for Glen’s stepsister’s baby. Albert came through the arrival gates shortly after looking incredibly well made up and refreshed, considering the flight from JFK and the one from Frankfurt prior to that. I never look that good getting off a plane.

We had an hour’s bus and train journey back to our place to begin the catch-up on various things. After we dropped our stuff off back home we headed down Church St in search of food, settling on The Vic for Pimms and pub food. Glen and Albert shared spaghetti bolognaise, and southern deep fried chicken with a mountain of mashed potato. I had a chicken sandwich thing with a salad. The waitress was friendly. We asked her if she knew what the word ‘knackered’ meant and she said she did but she’d worked in England.

After dinner we went home, watched TV and Albert fell asleep on the couch.


Monday morning, Glen went off to work while Albert and I walked around Yorkville for a bit and had breakfast at a place called Flo’s Diner. We then walked through Holt Renfrew, looking at (but not buying) expensive clothes, and then I bought some ties in Hudson’s Bay Company that I liked. The style came in four colours but I only bought two. Afterwards, Albert went to meet a friend at Finch Station (right at the end of the line) while I stayed at home doing bits and pieces.

In the evening, after Glen got home, we went for dinner at a restaurant called Yours Truly, at the corner of Ossington and Dundas. It was a degustation, 25 pieces all up. Timing was a bit off, flavours were generally more on the salty side, the cocktail I had was delicious (so yummy I had three). Didn’t leave absolutely bursting but was satisfied enough. Not sure I’d go again though.

Afterwards we walked off the food and drink by walking from Dundas St, up Ossington to a train station on Bloor St. It was absolutely freezing and I only had a jacket on that was open at the chest. But we made it and, despite the chill, it was a nice night to be out.

Albert at breakfast - waffles with syrup, chocolate and bananas.
Albert at breakfast – waffles with syrup, chocolate and bananas.

Today Albert and I ran a few errands in the morning before going for breakfast and then to the Bata Shoe Museum. YAY for free entry with the ROM card. Who knew you could devote a whole museum to shoes? Figures though, especially considering the importance put on shoes in current culture. The exhibitions featured replicas of the first-known shoes and then actual specimens through time. They were also divided into place and religion. The tiny shoes Chinese Han women wore, when they bound their feet, made my bones ache just looking at them.

There was also a display of shoes worn by famous people, and then there were other galleries including special shoemaking techniques from around the world, and an exhibition about the sneaker. Started to get museum fatigue after the first floor though so I skimmed a lot of the signs.

Some interesting things I learnt:

For the first 500 years of Buddhism, the Buddha was not depicted; instead, images of his footprints were revered.

In Rome, only the Pope is allowed to wear footwear embellished with a cross.

The Cinderella story can be found all over the world, including Korea and ancient Egypt. Each story includes an enchanted shoe that transforms a deserved, underprivileged beauty into a princess.

After the Bata Shoe Museum, we went to the Art Gallery of Ontario to check out the David Bowie Is exhibition. Today was the first day it was open and we got to go to a special members’ preview. Yay again for memberships. The exhibition charted Bowie’s early years and then through his many incarnations up to today.

Like the Paris exhibition in Quebec City, we were given headsets and an audio guide which played ambient music and the audio of the video on the many screens about the place. Lots of pieces of paper with song lyrics written on them, lots of costumes and posters, some video displays with iconic interviews and music videos. I’d like to see it again because after halfway I was a bit worn out.

The thing that’s really stuck in my head is that when David Bowie was a young boy, he was punched in the left eye. As a result, he has one permanently dilated pupil. Freaky but so cool!

Downsides to the exhibition were the many bottlenecks. You’d go into a room with one entrance/exit and have to crowd in with a lot of people. Bad flow and people get in the way. And generally people got in the way and had no awareness of their surroundings or that people were trying to get around or look at this (but that’s not the AGO’s fault). But will go again, maybe during the week after the excitement has worn down a bit and there are fewer people there.

After the gallery, we walked up to Women’s College Hospital to collect Glen from work. We then went for all-you-can-eat Japanese at our usual place on Church St, then home for Albert to pack and then we played a couple of games of Dominion.

Albert leaves our place about 6:30 tomorrow morning and then we’ll see him in Chicago a day later. Travelling again. YAY!

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