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Published: October 12th 2015
It took me 14 hours to get from the hostel in Reykjavik to The Planet Traveler hostel in Toronto. As I was checking in I was invited out for a drink with the guys checking in behind me. This sort of set the scene for my stay in Toronto. Firstly I can't recommend the Planet Traveler hostel enough. It's only £16/night and that includes a huge breakfast and as much popcorn, rice and hot drinks as you like. The layout of the place seems to intentionally make people sit together so you inevitably end up talking with each other.
It wasn't long before I was sat on the roof terrace bar drinking cider and playing giant jenga with a German named Matthew and a Portuguese guy called Nuna. Despite the jetlag kicking in I managed to stay up until midnight and also took Nuna up on his kind offer to drive us down to Niagara Falls the following day. I hadn't planned on going but I couldn't pass up the offer of a free lift.
I was wide awake by 4:30am, partly due to the jetlag but mostly because of the most horrendous snoring/coughing/wheezing coming from the bunk opposite
mine. It was so bad I could feel the bed vibrating and got a bit worried about the guy as he started gasping as if he was about to die. But then the snoring started again and I went back to trying to drown out the noise by listening to podcasts. I eventually got up at 6:30 and had to step over one guy who couldn't take it any more and had taken refuge from Snory McSnorison in the corridor.
I stuffed my face with the free breakfast and met up with Nuna and his French roommate Karine for the two hour drive down to Niagara Falls. The falls themselves were stunning, but I struggled with all the tourists with their selfie sticks. I'm not sure why I get annoyed and I guess it's a bit irrational but I just feel so uncomfortable in places like that. The town of Niagara is a cross between Vegas and Blackpool, full of tacky souvenir shops, themed plastic restaurants and terrible waxwork museums.
The following day I just wondered around the downtown area and got a ferry over to Toronto Island which is a great set of parks, beaches and an
airport to the south of Toronto on Lake Ontario. I walked along all the beaches and was a little surprised to see a naked jogger swinging his way towards me. It turns out one of the beaches is clothing optional. I passed another two jiggling joggers on the beach, it seems that naked running is a real thing here. Maybe it's something we could consider doing in Spa Striders on the 5th Wednesday.
Talking of running I managed to get out with the Toronto Running Club for a really nice 10k run round some really posh neighbourhoods in North Toronto. It was a small group but they were all super friendly and invited me for a beer afterwards where they made me feel incredibly welcome. If you're going to be in Toronto and fancy a nice social run, look them up.
The rest of my time in Toronto was just spent wondering around and getting a bit lost. I stumbled across a TV show called Beauty and the Beast being filmed and got lost in the huge High Park.
On my way to Detroit now, which a lot of people have questioned due to the high crime
rate. But I've spoken to others who have actually been and they've said it's not as bad as it's reputation suggests, as long as I'm sensible about it. Highlights:
• Meeting so many cool people in the hostel.
• Hanging out in a bar with the guys from Toronto Running Club after the run.
• Watching Back to the Future on the roof terrace of the hostel. Lowlights:
• Getting lost in the airport trying to find the public bus to the city.
• Snory McSnorison, who turned out to be a nice guy from Somerset, God did I want to murder him at 4am most mornings.
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