Archive for the 'Travel' Category
On Thursday night Leah and I made the trek down the QEW to Niagara Falls. New York. It’s a different world on the US side of the Niagara River. More on this later…
The concert took place at the Hard Rock CafÃ©, and much to our surprise, the restaurant was closed during the afternoon to prepare for the show. This meant that our plan of eating dinner at the CafÃ© before the show was bust. Into “Little Italy” we went and settled on McDonald’s. (Was it just the location we went to, or do they not have McChicken’s in the US?)
After dinner we returned to the Hard Rock to take in the musical extravaganza that was The Hutch and Matty Nay.
Matt Nathanson – setlist
t01 – To The Beat Of Our Noisy Hearts
t02 – Car Crash
t03 – Still
t04 – Princess > Jessie’s Girl
t05 – Lost Myself In Search Of You
t06 – Starfish & Coffee > Stayin’Alive > Miss Lucy Had A Steamboat > Starfish *& Coffee
t07 – Laid
t08 – Falling Apart
t09 – Church Clothes
t10 – Wedding Dress
t11 – Come On Get Higher
t12 – Livin’ On A Prayer > Heaven Is A Place On Earth (with Eric Hutchinson)
Aside from the FACT that we had the dumbest human being standing next to us, the event was a lot of fun. And I got to try out my new recording gear!!
Here’s my recording of Eric Hutchinson. Nathanson is coming…
On our return journeys from Kingston, Leah and I routinely detour through Prince Edward County. It’s by no means a short cut, but theÂ sceneryÂ is nice, and the wine and hospitality are even better. We’ve commented that we’d like to go back for an overnight and stay at one of the numerous inns – so for New Year’s Eve we booked a room at the lovely Devonshire Inn On The Lake in Wellington. The Inn is situated right on the shore of Lake Ontario, flanked by a river and small waterfall.
It’s described as an Inn but it felt much more like a B&B. The relaxed atmosphere provided welcome relief from the harried pace of life in the city.
For dinner their chef prepared a four course meal, paired with wine. It was terrific from start to finish, and unlike many big city restos, they were in no hurry to shuffle us out the door so they could seat more guests. Just the way we like it.
Breakfast the following morning was also perfect – and the time nicely adjusted to a little later in the morning, letting the guestsÂ sleep in just a little more in consideration of the late night before…
We’ll definitely return to the Devonshire this summer, however I’ll have my bicycle with me. The roads in Prince Edward County, although a little rough, are too enticing not to ride.
Leah and I cashed in some travel points and took a trip down to Boston this weekend.
On our first night in Boston we checked out the Matt Nathanson concert at the Berklee Performance Center. We scored front row center seats in the balcony, giving us an incredible view of the stage, and spectacular sound. I borrowed Steve’s recording gear and taped the show – save the linked FLAC files from setlist below.
Here’s what was performed:
03: Car Crash
04: Sad Songs
06: Princess (Jessie’s Girl interlude)
07: Pretty The World (In Between Days intro)
08: Curve Of The Earth
10: Falling Apart (In A Big Country intro)
11: Sing Me Sweet
13: Loud (duet with Jessie Baylin)
14: Somewhere To Hide
15: To The Beat of Our Noisy Hearts
16: Take On Me – A Ha cover
17: Wedding Dress
19: I Saw
20: Detroit Waves (Kids In America interlude)
21: Come On Get Higher
22: Answering Machine
The next day we started with breakfast at Trident Booksellers on Newbury Street. It’s a book store and cafÃ© all-in-one, and Leah was in heaven! After breakfast we boarded and Old Town Trolley for a tour of the city. This is a hop-on, hop-off tour, and we did just that – getting off in Beacon Hill where we wandered the streets, climbed the hill, and stopped by the exterior of Cheers. We got back on the trolley and despite the fact that we had the greatest tour guide ever in Nate, we hopped off near Faneuil Hall Marketplace to grab some lunch.
Lunch was some great pizza from Regina Pizzeria which we enjoyed in the sun outside of the main market hall. Although the calender tells me that it is October, it felt like July it was so hot.
By this point our feet were getting tired so we hopped back on the trolley and returned to our hotel for a rest before heading out for dinner.
Our extremely helpful concierge John made reservations for us at Cantina Italiana where we enjoyed homemade pasta, great wine, and wonderful deserts. The North End of Boston has the market cornered on Italian restaurants as they line both sides of Hanover Street. And every one of them was packed, most with patrons lined up onto the street waiting to get a seat. If it weren’t for our reservations we would have been in for a wait of more than an hour!! And lots of people were willing to wait.
After dinner Leah and I walked up Hanover, explored the touching Holocaust Memorial and then cut through Beacon Hill before catching a cab back to our hotel.
On Sunday we returned to Trident for breakfast before walking out to Fenway park for a tour. We got the last two tickets for the 11am tour – there were 130 people on the tour, and the tours run every hour.
Much like Nate, our tour guide was awesome, full of quick facts and one-liners that burned any Yankee fan within earshot. It’s hard not to get caught up in the emotion of being a Red Sox fan, as it flows from the pores of every Bostonian.
After the tour we hopped on The T and headed across the Charles River to explore Harvard. When we emerged at Harvard Square we were greeted with a sea of people, live bands and a parade! The campus, at least the part we explored, is gated and free of cars. It’s very nice, but not as “impressive” as I thought it would be. Lots of columns and big buildings, but something was missing.
Before getting back on The T, we stopped at JP Licks for some “Maple Walnut Buttah” ice cream. Bostonians seem more than willing to poke fun at their accent – we also saw “The Connah Store” in our travels.
By this point we had to make our way back to the hotel to collect our bags. But along with way we stopped at The Upper Crust to try another of Boston’s favourite pizzas. I preferred this one to Regina, but Leah liked Regina more.
A final stroll along Boylston and through the Prudential Centre before we gathered our bags and boarded The T for the return journey to Logan. It’s so nice to be able to take the subway to the airport. Such a novel concept that the decision makers in Toronto sadly don’t understand.
Our weekend in Boston was a great getaway – it is an amazing city.
As a rest day for the Tour riders we took the opportunity to check out Alpe d’Huez. The bus took the riders to the top of the Col du Lauteret, and the non-riders right to the top in the village of Huez.
The descent down Lauteret was 40 of the fastest downhill kilometres I’ve ever ridden! Coasting downhill at blazing speeds for the better part of the hour is quite a thrill… but nothing compared to the climb up Alpe d’Huez. (When I get home I’ll post pictures and video.)
The Tour passes through in two days but already the route is packed with caravans and fans… all who were in full support mode – cheering all of us as we made the ascent. After noticingÂ my CANADA jersey, a trio of Dutchmen even sang the opening line of “O Canada” to me as encouragement.
It was a complete thrill that will stay with me forever!
We boarded the bus and were on our way at 8am for the nearly 10 hour trek to Serre Chevalier.
By the time we made it to Alpe d’Huez I couldÂ barely musterÂ a smile as I was sick and tired of being on the bus!!
But we passed cyclings mecca and continued to our hotel. After a good meal – including Beef Carpaccio – we went for a walk around this small ski town and were amazed by the tranquility.
After an ontime departure, we “enjoyed” a turbulence filled flight to Paris.
Getting through the airport requiredÂ a lot of patience but we finally found the Sports Tours bus… Where we waited for nearly an hour as one of our tour members arrived but their bike didn’t.
Mine survived the flight and is ready for a ride!
Once we checked in – to a hotel with tiny rooms – Leah and I checked out the Eiffel Tower and wandered by the Arc de Triomphe.
It’s time for a snack and then sleep.
This summer Leah and I are heading to France to follow, and challange, Le Tour. (The subject of this post is a joke for cycling fans familiar with Bob Roll and his butchery of French words). Our excitement is growing with each passing day. I can’t hardly stand it.
To make matters worse (or better?) I got a new ride at the Spring Bike Show.
This summer I’ll be climbing the worlds most famous cycling climbs on a Specialized Tarmac Expert SL Team Quick Step. I’m hoping that I can catch up with Tom Boonen and Bobke for a picture or two.
… at least parts of various stages as part of our summer vacation!!! We just booked the tour and I’m already counting the days until July 17. Our tour allows me to ride a number of famous climbs including the Col du Restefond (Europes highest Col), Izoard, Vars, Lauteret,Â Galibier,Â andÂ Alpe d’Huez!!! I’ve started my training as I’m going to need to be in the best shape of my life to complete any of these climbs. And I’ve also started shopping… I can’t ride my current bike in the Tour, can I???