Well lots has happened since I last wrote so I have a bit of catching up...
I've checked out of my hostel and I'm now staying with Michael my couchsurfing friend. I met up with him and his lovely friend Victoria on Friday night. They took me out for my first taste of Toronto nightlife. Michael has been so incredibly hospitable. He has a great place and we have lots in common.
While I was in the hostel I booked myself on a couple of trips. Sunday I went to a farm about two hours out of the city and went for a husky ride! The dogs, mostly siberian huskies, are a bit crazy but totally lovely. After riding on their largest sled, pulled by 8 dogs, we got a chance to drive a sled of our own. It was a lot of fun but we had to finish early 'cause the temperature dropped to about -30 with wind chill!!! That's a whole new kind of cold to me! When I got back it was about an hour before I could feel my toes again!
Monday I took a trip to Niagara. The tour was only $5 more than getting the public bus and it was totally worth it. There were only 3 of us, all brits, and our guide Jose, a very chatty Mexican! First he took us to a vineyard where we tasted Niagara wine. We tried their award winning ice wine which has apparently made the region famous in the world of wine. This meant little to me but it tasted so good! Ice wine is made from grapes harvested in the winter when they are still frozen. They are picked at night to ensure that they haven't thawed and the juice is extracted from them whilst frozen. It makes a very sweet wine which smells like mangos and tastes like honey! Mmmmm!
After that we stopped at a few points along the river to see the whirlpools. There wasn't a whole lot of whirling going on seeing as the surface of the river was frozen! It was more like an ice soup. When we finally got to the falls I realised how lucky I was to have gone in the winter. Despite the crippling cold the whole area looked so beautiful and there were virtually no other tourists. The mist that rises from the falls freezes on everything around it and creates beautiful ice sculptures. We took the trip behind the falls which was pretty thunderous as you can imagine.
I was exhausted by the time we got back. It was the sort of tired you get when you're little and you've had too much excitement! I dumped my bags and openned my email. I had a message from Mack who I met on the Subway. I think I mentioned before that someone had given me their email when they saw me struggling through the Subway with my rucksack. Well anyway, I had emailed him to say thanks 'cause it really brightened me up when he stopped me and he seemed genuine and not a creep... he'd replied to my email inviting me out. It was about 9pm and the message suggested a place to meet at 9.30... I was pretty knackered and had thought about just curling up in the warm and having an early night... then I thought b***** that!!! I'm gonna make some new friends! So I went straight back out again and met Mack who introduced me to his friends Ben and Ted. They were sooooo nice. We had a few drinks and danced like idiots... I got back to my hostel about 5 only to be ribbed by the nightshift receptionist for being a dirty stop out!!! Anyway, will definitely meet up with them again before I leave...
Tonight I'm meeting a girl I met on couchsurfing. She's got me in on some free movie night so that should be nice...
Haven't seen as much of the city as I would have liked. I keep going out thinking great I'm going to see this or that... then coming back about 5 minutes later thinking b***** that it's freezing! I've made some nice friends though which has made for a great start and has eased any feelings of 'what the bloody hell am I doing going half way round the world on my ownsome!'
Thanks for all the messages by the way. They make me smile. Keep 'em coming.