Sunday, December 29, 2013

Raptors vs New York


I had a good time with Derek Yesterday. We had planned to see the Raptors vs Knicks for a couple months. He was visiting from England. We met up at Earls for Pre game Dinner and drinks and it was fun catching up. Next we go to the ACC for the game and before the game I couldn't resist challenging a kid to some hoops. I lost with my 19 points to his 20 :). Derek then showed me how it's really done by scoring 32 points. He's such a show off! But also a really good basketball player!


Next we go the arena and Derek teases me with my bragging I could get really cheap Rogers discounted tickets from the 300 level. He asks me to say how close I want to get to the floor, telling me to say when. And we keep going almost all the way to the floor! It was the best seats i've ever been to at the ACC. Great time!


 Raptors win!!!!



Thank you Derek and Megan.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On to Burlington Vermont

Got up and realized that 30 cm of snow had dropped on Montreal. i was not sure whether we would be able to leave to Vermont becuase the road conditions were so bad. Listening to the news didn't help because there were tons of reports of accidents and advisory to not drive. I was nervous that my rental Toyota camry didn't have snow tires (in Quebec it's the law to have snow tires in the winter) but since I got the car in Ontario that didn't apply.  I decided to try the drive for breakfast. I heard about Yagel Bagel which was a few streets away and i went to the car. I was really surprised to see the car buried under snow, I had to clean the car for about 5 mintues before I could drive..not looking good!

Montreal snow storm

The drive to Yagel bagel was slippery but i was able to manage with the car; it had electronic traction control and good anit locking brakes, once I figured out how to use that to my advantage, the drive was good. Yagel Bagel had amazing bagels, highly recommend it when you go to Montreal.  Came back to our host's place, had breakfast, helped cover a window with plastic and then set off on our trip. One little caveat, when I tried to back out from the driver, I realized the car was trapped with over a foot of snow at the entrance to the driveway. time to shovel!  Well this is part of the quebec experience. I put my back into the shovel and 10 minutes later we were able to leave.  

Once we left the montreal roads the drive was easy. We spent about an hour on the Quebec rural rodes on the way to the border crossing in Vermont. It was really picturesque and I was graeteful to leave Quebec. The US cusotms officer was very friendly, the wait time was 10 minutes and we crossed the border incident free...Bonus!

The drive through Vermont is very beautiful during winter: lots of Trees covered in snow; it looked very Christmasy.  We stopped at St. Alban, where I found a nice coffee shop and we had a delicious hot chocolate with a blueberry scone.. yum. 


My mom in front of the awesome coffee heaven in st. Alban.

Another half hour of driving and we reached Burlington. I didn't have a hotel booked but found a beautiful hotel at the city center, called Hotel Vermont. it was really modern and the room was spacious and luxurious. We had a great dinner there, the salad and gnocchi dinner was superb. My mom and i shared the meals and the portions were generous. (makes you wonder how a person is supposed to eat the whole serving). Prior to having dinner, I went to the gym at the hotel and did some running on the treadmill, it was good to workout after many days.  
After the meal, my mom and I walked through Church street in Burlington, it's one of the prettiest streets I've seen. It's quaint with interesting stores and beautiful to look at. It was very cold, about minus 18 so we only walked for half hour.  We returned to the hotel and had an awesome sleep.


Church street in Burlington,VT. One of the prettiest walking streets for shopping I've seen.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

awsome day in Montreal - december roadtrip vacation with mom


yesterday we started at the biodome. It was -18 degrees and I froze my butt off. I forgot what -18 felt like back in my saskatoon days. It's really bloody cold! a minute without gloves and my hands were frozen.  Enough about the cold. The trip to the Biodome was about a half hour from where we stayed at in DDO.  Here is a pic of the Biodome, it's a great way to spend 2 hours in your day. The highlights for me was the recreation of a tropical rainforest and feeling like you're in a teeming with life and animal/insects diversity.  I also really enjoyed the different species of fish they had and watching the penguins do their thing in a cold environment was entertaining.


After the Biodome, I set the GPS for Shwartz's Deli, the food absolutely did not dissapoint. I chose the medium cut not the lean because I wanted the meat to melt in my mouth which it did! Beware though if you're going there at lunch time because there are long line ups. I went to the take-out place which took about 10 mins and then took the sandwich and ate a Thai restaurant that my mom went to down the street.  The service at the Thai restaurant was incredible and my mom convinced the staff to let me eat the smoked meat sandwich in the restaurant. Wish I had known that and I wouldn't have hid and eaten the sandwhich.  


After Schwart's it was time for a nap. I decided to go shopping at the Bay instead. I had to call my friend Anoop because I didn't know where there was a shopping mall in Montreal. We found a 5 story Bay on st.cAtherines street and it was a good time shopping and finding winter wear for our upcoming ski trip.  I took a snooze at the second cup in the mall attached to the Bay, while my mom went to buy gifts for her South African friends. She came back so excited, she found scarfs and winter hats for $5 each!  here is the pic of the Bay: (gotta love Google street view)


At 5pm we ventured to Old montreal. It was already dark and I drove around for about 45 minutes before I found the perfect spot.  Old montreal is filled with restaurants, very fine dining and I was really hoping to find a cafe.  I asked a local walking his dog and he said the area has gotten very touristy and he pointed me to the cafe which was a couple meters from us. It's called Muru Crepe and it was a fantastic place with nice ambience, great savoury crepe and fries and fantastic service. I supposed it helped there were only a few people in the place but the staff of one was a great guy who was very courteous and professional. I loved the moccacino and latte he made to perfection.  here is a pic of the restaurant:


the only downside to the day's experience was the ticket that was waiting for me after we left the restaurant!  I thought i would get away with it, who would want to ticket in -18 degrees :)
A great memorable day!