German Visitors

This week we’ve had visitors. Monika, Christian and their two kids, Jan and Leo, arrived on Monday night, shortly after we landed from our trip to the Galapagos Islands. They stayed the first night in our small apartment because the guest suite wasn’t available that night. It was very cosy.

Glen, Jan and MonikaBecause the kids are small and struggling with jet lag, we haven’t done much sightseeing. Tuesday was spent checking out the waterfront and taking a ferry over to the Toronto Islands and walking around. Glen was working so it was just the five of us.

The weather was pretty good and Glen and I have been quite shocked to see that spring sprang while we were away. The trees are covered in green leaves. There are even flowers in bloom. Flowers! I never thought I’d see them again.

We had a bit of wander around the islands, though unfortunately it’s too early for the amusement park to be open. We headed back to town shortly after. Glen had a work function in the evening so he didn’t get to hang out with us at home.

Wednesday was a shopping day, checking out the Eaton Centre to get a SIM card, some lunch and some kids’ book in English. I found this awesome kid’s book called I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. Very simple but it reads more like it’s written for adults. It borders on the absurd. I’m tempted to go buy it as it had me in stitches.

After shopping we went in search of a playground. I thought there was one at the corner of Carlton and Jarvis at Allen Gardens. Turns out it’s a dog playground. And then I tried to remember if I’d ever seen a playground in Toronto. High Park was the only one I’d seen, once I’d been reminded of it. The things you don’t notice as a person who doesn’t have kids. Luckily Jan had fallen asleep so he wasn’t upset when we didn’t find a playground.

I wonder if it’s fear of litigation that has limited the proliferation of playgrounds downtown. That and lack of green spaces.

In the evening we had Indian buffet at our favourite place over the road. We ate way too much, as always.

Thursday was a trip to Toronto Zoo. I was a bit excited to see what the place was like. It took us over an hour to get there. It’s in the Greater Toronto Area, which means it’s miles out of the city. We took a train to Kennedy and then a bus, that seemed to go on forever. We eventually arrived and set off to see what we could see.

Giant Pandas was first. Tick. Polar bears and the cub was second. Tick. A few monkeys, a few birds. Some Canadian Otters (which were huge!) and prairie dogs. We saw wild Canadian Geese with their goslings wandering around too.

(Did you know that a panda that doesn’t want to fight will cover its eyes? I think that’s cute.)

 

It was a perfect day, weather-wise to visit the Zoo. Unfortunately, all of our energy levels drained pretty quickly and Jan was getting cranky. We picked a few more animals towards the end as we again went in search of a playground. We couldn’t find one and I don’t think they even have one.

We left at about 2:30 or 3 as there was little chance of seeing much else. The place is huge though and I think we only covered about a quarter of it. The grounds are pretty nice, particularly as there are some natural forests there. I’ll head back at some point to have a bit more of a look.

Thursday evening, Glen, Christian, Anna (a radiology fellow) and I went to the movies to see the filmed performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which was being screened as part of NTLive. When it was announced they were going to screen the play months ago, I booked tickets quick, thinking they’d sell out. Luckily it didn’t because Christian and Anna could come.

It was an excellent adaptation. It had a lot of production value with lights and shifting stages, great use of sound and movement, and I think it held a lot of faith with the book. There were also a couple of well known actors in it including Nicola Walker (who plays Ruth in Spooks) and Una Stubbs (who plays Mrs Hudson in Sherlock). Thoroughly enjoyable play so if you get the chance to see it, go!

Today the Germans set off in their camper van to check out a bit of Ontario. We’re going to meet them tomorrow and camp. We bought a tent on Wednesday night after dinner. It’s big and will hopefully do the trick. We’re taking the blow up mattress too and a whole bunch of other stuff. I think Glen is very excited about camping as he and I have never been together (but he did it as a scout). I made snacks in the Thermomix today and have packed everything up, ready to go tomorrow. Should be fun.

 

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