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Sunday, 31 August 2014

New York State Fair

On the drive back to Connecticut we dropped in on the New York State Fair which was near Syracuse, it started off pretty cloudy but ended up hot. The state fair was a little bit like the Norfolk Fair (for those of you from East Anglia) if it was bigger and run by cowboys.

There were lots of agricultural things like livestock and shows and displays.  

Including butter sculptures? For some unknown reason. 
Nahhow.... How does I say thais... Summer thaim folks wurr a lidl reyad neyck. And iffin I pleeased I cudda done gots me mai vurra own cunfederrat flayag bearin hayat! Ahem... So yeah... That was a thing. There were lots of cowboy hat wearing people shall we say. 

I decided I'd try some of the Fair food, there was SO MUCH FOOD. This is Hawaiian shaved ice which I had never even heard of, it was so tasty! They literally shaved ice off a block and moulded it into a little tower then you could pick syrup flavours which they poured on. It was delicious.

I liked going into the animal barns, they had signs up everywhere saying don't touch in case they bite but they were so cute you could help but pet the ones that came up to you. 

Some of the animals were a little unusual...

They had cloudy lemonade slushies, they also had wine slushies and cider and beer. I really wanted a wine slushy but it was just so hot I already had one of those headaches you can get in the sun so I avoided it.

This is a funnel cake I tried, it was tasty, it's like a mess of fried dough that you can get coated in icing sugar or cinnamon.

Look how cute!

The funniest thing I thought was the pig races, they all had been given names like Jennifer Lopig and Lindsay Loham. The audience had to call out 'sooie' and the pigs dashed out into their starting pens. They were so sweet and I thought it was funny to watch them race to be the first to get to eat an oreo biscuit. But on one race the pigs were so excited to be first back that it was the last pig that got the prize, the others ran straight past it.

Then it was time for some State Fair mac'n'cheese (don't you just hate how so many Americanisms look like they were written by dyslexic people then not spellchecked? I'm not saying there's anything wrong with dyslexics, only putting them in charge of writing signs).

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Toronto - Wonderland & Medieval Times

Our second full day in Toronto was not exactly very classy or cultured. We spent the day at Canada's Wonderland - a big theme park which was really great. One ride closed temporarily because it hit a Canadian goose (yes, really!). 

And then we raced through traffic to Medieval Times, a medieval themed jousting restaurant (yes, really!!). 

You go in and get assigned to a knight, we got the blue knight and matching blue cardboard crowns (stylish). Then we went into the jousting arena and got introduced to our 'serving wench', our napkins had the menu on. I wimped out and got the vegetarian option because i don't want to eat meat off the bone! You guys... I don't want to touch a bone with my mouth. Ew. 

All the plates and tankards were ye olde style and there was no cutlery. 

There was all sorts of horse tricks and fancy footwork and galloping about 

And of course jousting, and our knight was doing really good. We were sat next to someone who apparently goes all the time because his friends work there and they get him in for next to nothing. He said it wasn't fixed but there are certain knights that are better than others and they mix up the colours they are; it was very theatrical. He said the horses were really pampered and afterwards on the way out there was a little window you could see into the horses stables which I think is good to know they're treated well. 

In the end the yellow knight and the blue knight (sworn enemies!!!) were locked in a sword fight which was very cheesy and choreographed but it was very funny and the family sitting to one side of us had their little girl crowned princess which she was thrilled about. Cheesy as the entire night was, it was really entertaining and I suppose that's all the counts isn't it? 

Road Trip - Back to Syracuse

On the drive back to Syracuse where we stayed we stopped off at the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara to break up the journey. 

I don't know how to say this without sounding obvious but there were butterflies EVERYWHERE. Huge ones, weeny ones, ones that landed on you, ones that just ate the entire time. They were everywhere. You had to check where you walked so you didn't step on any that had flown to the ground for a rest. 

They seemed to like the people with hats best but I wore a shirt with butterflies on it (in an attempt to confuse the butterflies) and they landed on it! So exciting. 

Then we went to a sports bar before we rested up, you could tell they meant business because they had entire rolls of paper towels on the table as well as napkins. Needless to say I couldn't finish my meal but it was insanely cheap. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Toronto Adventures

So we set off into Toronto on our first full day in the city, and we started with the CN Tower... It was ok but it wasn't all that great. I think it looks nicer from outside as part of the view than as somewhere to view from. 

Then we took a look round St Lawrence's food market, there was so many different things there! Including (sob) live lobsters... I just hate to see them there waiting to be boiled alive. 

I got a crepe which I then spilt down myself (cuz I'm so cooool), then we browsed tacky Canadian souvenirs. 

After that we took a ferry to Torontos Islands, which were just lovely, it was $7 for a return trip and they're basically a huge island park. 

We hired this funny two seater bike and went for a spin, I ended up driving because Kim was terrible which is worrying as she drove us everywhere in the car. 

The island had a nice sandy beach down one side too so we got ice creams and paddled. 

By the way, check this out - Toronto has black squirrels. There were tons of them! 

After the Islands we went to the Castle board game cafe, where you pay a fee for an hour ($2.50) and you can play any of their games. 

And have a coffee and food if you want as well. We played Candyland, Guess Who, Jenga.

Does anyone even know how to play mousetrap? Seriously, everyone had that game... Even after reading the instructions I was stumped. 

Road Trip - Niagara Falls & Toronto

Well hello fine readers, let me tell you a tale of a road trip which began with pumpkin pie and ended dining in the dark. 

By the way, pumpkin pie is delish. My dear travel companion and I decided to make the drive from Connecticut to Toronto, and what a long drive it was. We broke up our journey at Syracuse in New York State and stopped at many toll booths (boo), and service stations that looked like this. 

Aw... A bear. Also guess what... I saw groundhogs! Tons of them! Anyway we finally made it to the falls (yay). And it only took like 410 miles!

We got cool plastic ponchos and rode maid of the mist. We got right up close, I got a couple photos in but it was more than mist, we got drenched. 

But that was nothing compared to cave of the winds, a walk way that gets up close and personal with the American side of the falls, you get another poncho AND, very cool sandals (exhibit A, my feet are the fat little stubby ones). Guys, I don't even have photos of cave of the winds, that's how wet it was. At the top of the walk way it had a 'hurricane deck', I went to touch the back railings of it and it really was like walking into an insane hurricane. My clothes stayed nice and dry under the poncho but I was not risking the phone. Apparently in the winter when the falls get icy they have to dismantle it for safety reasons as massive chunks of ice fall down.

And then we made our way over the border... Eventually, it took ages. I don't know if it's cuz the Canadians are kinda slow eh? But all I know is that I was stuck on a bridge for bloody ages. 

And then we got to Toronto juuuust in time (literally minutes before our booking) for our dinner reservations at O Noir, a restaurant where you dine in the dark and your waiters are blind. They lead you to your seat and tell you where your drink is, bring you your pre ordered food, everything! It was so good, I kept waiting for my eyes to adjust but they never did. There was not the tiniest slither of light. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the blind. Also the food tasted so good, I didn't even spill any - a miracle!

That's a photo of the lobby, if you want to see a photo of inside the actual restaurant just close your eyes and you'll have an exact likeness. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Boston - Day Two

Day two was a bit manic, we got the subway (no rats sadly) to downtown Boston. 

Then we went to take a historical freedom trail tour through parts of the freedom trail for an hour and a half. 

It was really good, the guide was dressed up in period costume (he must have been so hot in the sun!) and was very funny.

As the only English person on the tour I was the enemy of course but it was all in good fun. 

Then we took a really quick trip to Salem, we'd planned to spend the afternoon there and left our luggage at the train station but the left luggage place closed at 5 (lame) so we only got to spend an hour and a half looking round. 

And buying tat... And watching witches get dragged through the street. 

The graveyard was interesting and sad, there were lots of children and young people that had died.

Then it was time for ice cream (this was a small).

And a walk back to the train station where we had to wait for five long hours

The Melting Pot

I thought this post deserved to be separate, this is where we ate in boston - The Melting Pot. It's a fondue restaurant and each table has a hot plate on it per two people.

And the waiter brings ingredients to your table and makes the fondue in front of you. 

And you get things to dip like veggies and bread. 

Next they brought us like this stock and you had things like prawn and chicken and potatoes and you added them in then took them out to eat a few minutes later. 

Here's some of the stuff we had to cook.

Lastly the chocolate fondue... I was so full but I powered through just for this.

Milk chocolate and peanut butter fondue... Then I had to be rolled down the street back to our hotel. Yum.