Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Day 8 - It's all gone Abercrombie mad!

Today we hit the shops! But beforehand we started the day with our customary starbucks!

Believe it or not there is only ONE Abercrombie and Fitch Store in Manhattan! Well we found it down around the south port ferry area. The store was limited, but had a great selection of men’s goods, which we won’t complain about. I think we bought half the store, between us we spent over $600 on clothes!!!

After this we made our way to Century 21 for some discount hunting. We ended up buying a coffee maker – you ask why, well the hotel doesn’t supply tea making facilities, and as Vinnie LOVES his herbals, we simply had to buy something.

Oh again today it was very hot. We caught one temperature gauge reading 31c.

We made it back to the hotel in time for a quick freshen up before heading over to the taping of the Late Show with David Letterman. This show is very popular, and is aired at 11:30pm on CBS. We used to get it on Sky One, but I believe it’s now only available on ITV2. The audience where warmed up outside the studio. We where seated on the balcony, so we won’t be seen on TV. It was great seeing the studio set, in fact the show is recorded as live, so one take only. But there was very little audience interaction. The headline guest was Rachael Weiss, the second guest was some comedian who was boring. The music guest was a new band called Mars 31.

Anyhow, we’re back in the hotel nows, getting re-freshened up before we go explore the night scene here.

Vinnie and Pat

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Day 7 - There's no business like show business

We started off today with a wonderful Starbucks, followed by a leisurely stroll along 5th avenue. We stumbled across a fab “as seen on tv” store, which basically stocks all of these items you’d see on TV infomercials. Everything was so cheap.

We made our way to Broadway to queue up at the TKTS booth to get tickets for an evening musical. The TKTS booth basically sells tickets at 50% discount for musicals on the same day. We got tickets for that evening’s performance of “The Producers”. In line we where approached by a CBS Television employee asking if we would like tickets for the following days David Letterman taping. I jumped at this, so we’re off to be on TV tomorrow!

With the tickets secured for the musical that evening (7pm), we headed off to the AMC Cinema on 42nd Street. Here we saw “The Brothers Grimm”. We’d been to the AMC a few times last year, and it’s something else. It has 25 massive screens, rising about 7 stories above Broadway. We picked up a large combo of popcorn and coke, it was very yummy. The film wasn’t as good unfortunately.

After we picked up a quick slice of pizza from the local Sbarro, we headed over to the St. James Theatre on 44th Street for the musical. It was brilliant. It told the story of two producers trying to swindle money by producing a flop musical, destined to close on its opening night. It was so funny and very very camp!

Oh the weather here in NYC is great, although the sun light doesn’t really get down to street level, it is very very hot, all of the time!!

Until tomorrow.

Vinnie and Pat

Monday, August 29, 2005

Day 6 - Boarder Hopping

After a very early start, we caught the airport express bus at 6:35 and where in the Airport about an hour later. The check in procedure was a little unusual, our bags weren’t taken from us –On the plane! instead we needed to take them with us passed customs and immigration, have them x-rayed and then they where taken from us. Strange, but it’s how they do it here.

The plane to Newark was a little bigger then the one we had taken out to Toronto last week. The flight lasted a little over an hour.

Newark Airport is situated in New Jersey, a little over 15 miles from New York City. The airport is well connected, so we took the airtrain to Penn Station. From there it was only a couple of blocks to our hotel on Madison Avenue.

After check in we had some time trying to find a laundrette. As we couldn’t pick up wireless internet in the hotel bedroom, we moved to the Moonstruck Café, across the road from the hotel to grab some lunch and look up the web.

We both had massive burgers and homemade iced tea. We looked up MSN and got the location of a laundrette, but when we tried to find it, the block had been transformed into a massive new Citibank. We took shelter in the closest Starbucks and looked up some more. We eventually managed to get one on 29th and Lexington.

That evening we took a stroll up to Broadway and Times Square. We picked up the listings for the local AMC (Cinema) on 42nd and visited the massive Virgin on Times Square itself.

We retired to bed around 11:30pm, both totally shattered.

Vinnie and Pat

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Day 5 - Welcome to Wonderland

Pancakes!!This morning we started the day with a great big heaping of Canadian pancakes drenched with maple syrup. The restaurant (The Golden Griddle) was situated directly across from our hotel. We only opted for pancakes (5 each), but we could have chosen an all-you-eat buffet for less the €8, amazing price. Anyhow we where totally stuffed with the pancakes, they where so light and fluffy. We also had some wiped butter to dress them.

With breakfast over we headed out to Paramount’s Canada Wonderland. This is a theme park, on par with anything Disney. The theme park was about an hour outside of Toronto, but was easily accessible via subway and connecting GO bus public transport.

As it was “Portugal” day, we managed to get reduced admission into the park for about €21, usually it’s about €15 more. Thank you Portugal! With over 60 rides and a 20 acre water park, Paramount’s Canada Wonderland certainly had too much to keep us entertained for the day. We arrived just before 2pm and left around 9pm.

The 4 loop roller coster!

Highlights of the park included:

  • Our first rollercoaster, featuring not 1, but 4 loops!
  • The waterpark with wave pool and slides.
  • 3D Spongebob squarepants movie ride!

The Mine rollercoaster, Canada’s longest and highest wooden rollercoaster. This was AMAZING, we’ve both never screamed as much in all our lives. The ride lasted about 4 minutes.

Other attractions which we didn’t make included the Italian Job, a roller coaster taking you across the set of the film in replica minis. A tomb raider roller coaster in which you travel lying flat on your chest. There was also a roller coaster which is ridden standing up!

There was far too much for us to fit into one day. We spent a great deal of time in the water world to take full advantage of the sun and good weather. They do sell two day passes, so time permitting and if you do like trill rides, this is certainly a recommended day out.The Slides!

We made it back to the hotel by 10pm, had a quick nibble and popped out for one last drink in crews. By accident we got Bacardi Breezer Tropical Orange Smoodie, which is out of this world. We’ve found our new drink!

We’ve an early start in the morning as we’ve to catch the 9:29 flight to Newark, New Jersey, where we will make our onward journey to New York City.

Vinnie and Pat

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Day 4 - Bring on the rain

Today Vinnie and I more or less parted company for morning. I went swimming first then shopped in GAP and FCUK. Vinnie went shopping.

The afternoon, we went touring some of the neighborhoods, including:
  • Cabbagetown - called after the original Irish community who settle here, growing cabbages in their front lawns.
  • Chinatown - which was absolutely massive!
  • Little Italy - which we never really found as it started to rain.
And oh my days did it rain. We where both drowned. We eventually managed to make our way back to a subway back to the hotel.

We ate in a Thai restaurant, went to woodys for one drink and where in bed around 11:45pm.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Day 3 - Getting soaked out in Niagara

Today we headed out on our tour to Niagara Falls! It was an early start as the tour bus picked us up at 8:45am outside our hotel. We opted to go for a tour not-afflicated with the hotel as it was cheaper and included alot more activities such as a full guided commentary, visit to a winery and made of the mist boat trip tickets.

Highlights included:

  • Sesner plane in Niagara District Airport
  • Wine tasting (ice wine - yummy!!)
  • Helicopter ride
  • Whirlpool
  • Maid of the Mist
  • Niagara Town
  • Wendys
  • Casino

(We need to update all of the above with more info when we get some more time!!)

With all of this under our belt, we finished off the early evening with visit to the hotel sauna and swimming pool, followed by a lime vodka or two. Plans for this evening include a trip to a club nite (liquid dreams) where we've managed to get ourselves on the guest list! Will update tomorrow letting you know how our heads are in the morning.

Until then,

Vinnie and Pat

Update: only made it to crews around 1am.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Day 2 - 1/2 km into the air

Downtown TorontoWe started today in a very healthy fashion, with a sauna and a few lengths in the hotel swimming pool! It all went down hill after that when we moved onto our first Starbucks of the day!

Our plan today was to see the CN tower and do some shopping. Both where accomplished. The CN tower is the world’s tallest building (so they say). On the top is officially the world’s highest sited revolving restaurant. When we made it down, we decided to book lunch, meaning we didn’t have to queue with the rest of the crowd nor pay admission. The CN Tower in the distanceInstead we got an express elevator, taking us up the 115 stories to the restaurant. The food was wonderful and the sites where amazing. It was so worth it, being able to see the whole or Toronto pass by our window from a comfort of our window seats.

We also visited the Eaton Shopping mall, which was situated on Younge Street, not far from the hotel.
At the top of the CN Tower
Later on this evening we’re heading out on the town, which should be great!

Tomorrow we're up early as we're off to see Nigera Falls!

Until tomorrow, Vinnie and Pat

Update: Just back – ended up meeting Vinnies mate Stevie in Crews and Tango!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Day 1 - the 23 hour adventure

View from the planeWell it's the end of day one of our Holiday 2005. As I type this we've both been up an incredible 23 hours. Unfortunately I only got 2 hours sleep last nite, so I'm totally shattered. It's 11:20pm local time here in Toronto, so I'm going to hit the sack soon. Vinnie is already fast asleep.

The journey to Canada was eventful. It started at 5am in Dublin. As I was getting dressed, I was actually stung by a wasp! Yes in my own bedroom! Horrible! I was left with a swollen lump for some hours. We arrived at the airport around 6am, got checked in a progressed through security, which now includes finger scanning and facial photographing.

Tazo Green Tea Frap from Starbucks in Newark Airport!Due to a computer problem with air traffic control, our Continential Airlines flight was a little delayed in taking off, but by 10am we where in the air. The plane was amazing, we'd our own entertainment units on our seats! Movies included the wizard of oz and Madagascar.

We arrived in Newark 7 hours later, waited another 3 hours (which involved more security and customs), before boarding the smallest plane in the world to Toronto. This aircraft only had three seats to a row, two on the right and one on the left. It was certainly the smallest craft we've ever flown. This last flight lasted a little over an hour.

 Vinnie in NewarkOur first impressions of Toronto weren't great. Security obviously didn't like the idea of two Irish men flying from Ireland via the US to visit Canada. We where singled out for questioning, which involved us providing some detailed knowledge of our plans for the holiday, what exactly we where doing, some facts about Toronto. Thankfully our bags where only x-rayed and not searched. But none-the-less this pointless exercise made us a little annoyed, and added more time to our journey.

Toronto from the airAnyhows another 90 minute bus journey, and we had arrived at our hotel. The Days Inn. It only took up 19 hours to get here! Not bad! NOT!

We had dinner this evening in Hard Rock Cafe, not very Canadian I know! Also ended up getting a free Srarbucks! Also got some tim hortons donuts, yummy!

Anyhows, off to bed here, it's almost 11:40pm!


Vinnie and Pat