Review of our (Harren family in Canada, Jessica, Diego and Carla) journey in May
Thursday, May 5 from Amsterdam to Reykjavik and onwards to Toronto Airport.
Jessica’s boyfriend Antal brought us to the airport.
We first flew from Amsterdam to Reykjavik (Iceland) where there we waited 1,5 hours for our connecting flight to Toronto. It was okay weather in Holland but once we landed in Reykjavik and walked down the ladder of the airplane it was about 4 degrees Celsius. A bit of a shock in such a barren area there.
We arrived at Toronto Airport at 18:30 hours and there was Trevor welcoming us.
We drove to Markham to meet the rest of the family Maggie, Leo and Bella.
It was wonderful to see them all after 10 years. They have a lovely, huge home enough space for everyone. We had a wonderful room to sleep in. After unpacking the gifts Trevor made us a light dinner. We all sat at the table enjoying the conversation with each other.
Leo wanted to play soccer with Diego in the garden/yard. On the porch Diego showed Leo some tricks in how to handle the ball. Both of them had lots of fun. Bella also joined into the fun a little later on.
Friday, May 6
After a great breakfast we drove from Markham to Toronto (Trevor, Maggie, Leo, Diego, Jessica and I). Very busy on the street there with lots of traffic.
We went by boat to Toronto Island. Unfortunately, the children’s fair was not open. We did however walk partially through the park enjoying our visit there. Whilst entering there was a special gift from King Alexander and Maxima – tulip chairs donated to Toronto. You can also see the skyline of Toronto on the photograph.
This is a wonderful Island to visit with the family. Lots of space to picnic, playgrounds and also a great beach area.
With the ferry on the way back we also passed by another island. Sorry cannot remember the name of it.
We than went to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame. A nice memory seeing that when I lived in Canada we usually watched the Hockey games and some of the famous names and their photographs were placed here. Also Leo, Diego and Trevor enjoyed being a shooter and goalie there.
Leo was the winner at both of these games. Trevor did good as well. For Diego this was the first experience at holding a Hockey stick with a glove etc. Diego also did well. We all enjoyed the fun.
We also went through an underneath shopping mall and had some lunch there.
In the evening Trevor prepared a wonderful dinner at home for all of us.
Saturday, May 7
Today Bella also joined in the fun with us. We drove with two cars into downtown Toronto. The traffic was really heavy this time so it took awhile to get there.
We walked to the Aquarium whilst also there were Blue Jay Baseball supporters walking with us.
Amazing Aquarium to visit with the whole family. Lots to see and enjoy there.
Bella and Leo really enjoyed the adventure along with the rest of us.
We also went to a market Distillery District in Toronto.
Went to visit a special shop of Chocolate. Jessica and I had a special Mayan Hot Chocolate at Soma. Flavour: A traditionally rich bittersweet cacao flavour, but with a layer of spice that’s wholly unique. With chili peppers, orange peel, ginger, cinnamon, Madagascar vanilla, and Soma’s secret spices, be ready for that kick to the back of your throat when the hotness hits. Perfect to warm up your body and soul.
Consistency: Velvety and smooth.
Toppings: A free-poured artful heart created with cream..
and Trevor, Maggie, Bella and Leo had a chocolate treat.
Maggie, Bella and I drove back to Markham.
Trevor, Diego and Jessica went to a soccer game in the evening the first game of the season FC Toronto. They really enjoyed the game.
Sunday, May 8
After breakfast (a great one with eggs, pancakes etc.) made by Trevor. It was Mother’s Day we drove to Kitchener to meet up with Ben to drive onwards to London, Ontario.
It was great seeing my brother with his great humor and pleasant company. Upon arrival there was Dixie with her smile and the dog “Bailey”. Great to catch up on all the news and hugs. We had a wonderful bedroom to sleep in and for me it felt like being home.
That evening we had dinner with Jenn, Matthew, Ben, Dixie, Matthew’s mother, Jessica, Diego and I at a Thai Restaurant great food and wonderful company.
Monday, May 9
We woke up refreshed and had a wonderful breakfast. Today Jenn and Matt had organized a BBQ for the family. Along with this it also was an early birthday surprise for Ben as well.
Diego gave us some tips in how to play Yahtzee with him. Ben, Dixie and I joined in with him.
Great to see the younger generation mingle with each other such as Jenn, Matt, Crystal, Jason and Sam, Meredith and Ron. The food was fantastic and the company such a delight. Thank you so much Jenn and Matt you are great hosts.
After the BBQ Jason and Crystal invited us to their house to listen to a recital of Sam. A very talented boy who plays jazz and classical piano along with singing some songs with it as well. It touched me deeply in the heart how Sam is able to bring over the music. Onwards Sam with your talent we really appreciated that you shared this with us.
Tuesday, May 10
Jessica and I went to the shopping mall in the morning.
Today Dixie and I went in the afternoon to meet my cousin Cathy Vermue. She told me that she had bathed me when I was a baby. She also told her story about her husband Ed who had passed over some years ago. She had some information about Parkinson and passed this on to us for Meredith and maybe also for my brother Gerard and Beverly.
In the evening we watched some television with Ben and Dixie.
Wednesday, May 11
This morning we (Jessica, Diego and I) went with Ben to Sarnia to have lunch with Gerard and Beverly. It was great to meet up with my brother Gerard and Beverly we had a nice lunch together. We handed over some Dutch gifts (mostly Dutch food) and Gerard enjoyed unpacking the treats.
Gerard also gave us some spending money for our further trip. Thank you so much Gerard we really appreciated your gift.
Dixie had made us a very nice dinner with fabulous soup, sandwiches etc. Adorable!!
Thursday, May 12
After a very nice breakfast we awaited the arrival of Jason, Sam, Jennifer and Matt. Meredith joined us in the evening for dinner and stayed at the same Hotel. We all travelled to Niagara Falls, Ontario to have a great day, evening and a morning together.
Jenn assisted Jessica in picking up a rental car in Niagara Falls, USA which did not seem an easy journey for them.
We all stayed at the Clifton Victoria Inn there. Enjoyed walking around Niagara Falls and a great dinner at The Steg (this was paid for by Gerard Harren). Another one of the surprises Gerard had planned for everyone.
Friday, May 13
After breakfast in the Hotel we said our goodbyes to Meredith, Jenn, Matt, Jason and Sam. It is not easy for me to do this. So some tears flowed in the car whilst we drove to Niagara Falls, USA.
The customs in the USA are not easy to pass by. We (Jessica, Diego and I) had to wait in a office building for quite awhile before we were allowed to travel further.
We were heading for Shenandoah National Park a small town just on the outskirts of it where Jessica had booked a motel for us. That evening we were going to watch some stars in the National Park but by the time we had arrived at the Motel it was already quite late so we decided to rest for the night.
Saturday, May 14
Diego decided he wanted to stay in the Motel today so Jessica and I left to drive and take a walk through Shenandoah National Park. A wonderful journey with special views welcomed us.
Jessica and I both enjoyed the journey. Whilst on the road we also saw twice 2 small Black Bear Cubs.
We also had a lovely lunch together in a cabin restaurant.
When we returned to Diego we went out to have supper at an Italian restaurant.
Sunday, May 15
Today we travelled to Washington DC together. It was very busy especially because there was a special memorial service for all those that have served the country. It was a touching area that was reserved for this.
We stayed there for awhile and than continued onwards to walk to various monuments.
All the museums in Washington are free of entrance. We went to the Smithsonian Gem and Mineral Museum.
On our way back to the Motel we went to shop at the Ross.
This is one of Jessica’s favorite stores. After awhile Diego and I were finished at the Ross and went to a restaurant to have something to eat.
Monday, May 16
Today we travelled first to Seaside Heights. This is where the television program Jersey Shore was filmed. This was one of the wishes from Diego to go there.
From there we travelled to Atlantic City. The gamble city on the east coast. Quite a Tropicana hotel where we stayed. To me it was a shock when I first walked through the main floor. I was immediately disorientated but once in the room was okay again.
We went to walk along the boulevard which was quite nice along the Atlantic Ocean. Very peaceful and not that busy.
We did not do any gambling because Diego was not allowed there along with that it is something that really does not interest me.
Tuesday, May 17
Woke up and had a nice walk along the seaside.
After breakfast Jessica, Diego and I went to the outlet stores there. We all bought some clothes and enjoyed the afternoon.
In the evening we had a special dinner at the Cuba Libre Restaurant within the Tropicana Hotel.
Wednesday, May 18
Today we are travelling to New York City. First we will leave the rented car at the Airport. From their we took a taxi to our Howard Johnston Hotel in New York City.
In the evening Jessica and Diego went downtown to enjoy a movie there. I stayed in the Hotel room to rest out a bit.
Thursday, May 19
Today we went by metro to go on a boat trip. Jessica first took me to see various areas in New York City. Fantastic to see the Statue of Liberty and the various locations such as harbours of New York from the boat.
In case you ever are in New York you can go on a free ferry from Staten Island.
When we returned we went with a touring bus and than with the Metro back to the Hotel.
In the evening Jessica and Diego went into town to enjoy the sight and scenes there.
Friday, May 20
Our flight is later on in the day. It is beautiful weather so we went to Central Park New York first to enjoy the view and relaxation.
In the afternoon we went by metro and rail to New York City Airport to fly to Reykjavik, Iceland through the night.
Saturday, May 21
Early in the morning we arrived at Reykjavik, Iceland Airport to fly onwards to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
Jessica’s boyfriend Antal was there to take us home.
It was a wonderful journey. One that will remain in my heart.