Toronto, Canada.

If we were in North America, there was no way we would miss out on a trip to Toronto, where our dearest friends Soph and Andrew are living. A catch up with these lovebirds was long overdue!

Soph and I feat. Moose

Soph and I feat. Moose

We rented an apartment for our week-long stay close to Yonge Street, the main thoroughfare for the city (and apparently the longest street in the world!). We were treated to a baseball game, a trip to the CN tower overlooking the city and lots of amazing food! There are caf├ęs and restaurants galore in Toronto and we were able to try quite a cross section. One night we dined at a famous Japanese restaurant where U2’s Bono, Pierce Brosnan and Elizabeth Taylor had declared the food worthy of a signature.

Lots of food and drink. But mostly drink.

Lots of food and drink. But mostly drink.

Even though we did a lot of eating, we did a bit of sightseeing too. We took a ferry to the Toronto Islands and spent an afternoon walking along the shore of the lake, taking photos of the skyline with the clear blue sky as a backdrop.

Toronto Skyline

Toronto Skyline

Jez and I did a day trip to Niagra Falls which included a stopover in the quaint town of Niagara-on-the-lake. Our voyage to the falls on the trusty decks of ‘The Maid of the Mist’ was wonderful, even if we came away soaking wet! There is no denying the beauty and awe that the falls evoke as water tumbles over the edge.

Maid of the Mist.

Maid of the Mist.

Toronto is a lovely city, made even more wonderful by our friends. There is nothing quite like the company of loved ones!

Washington DC, USA

We left New York for Washington DC, ready to see the nation’s capital. In hindsight, we probably should have caught a bus to get there, however we did get to see some amazing things from the air. The flight path into Washington’s airport follows the famous Potomac River and we were able to see straight down the National Mall to the Capitol building from our seats.

The Capitol Building.

The Capitol Building.

There are lots of very grand buildings in Washington. Even government buildings have an impressive aura surrounding them, solidified by the guards stationed at every entrance. It was exceptionally hot and humid when we visited so we tried not to think about the huge distances between buildings that we wanted to see.

The National Mall with the obelisk undergoing some renovations after an earthquake last year.

The National Mall with the obelisk undergoing some renovations after an earthquake last year.

We saw the White House and walked (for what felt like a very long time) to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The original Wright Brother’s plane was tucked away safely inside, as were a number of items from the decades of the US space programs.

Jez amongst the planes at the Air and Space Museum.

Jez amongst the planes at the Air and Space Museum.

Our long walk down the Mall took us to the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflection Pool where we were joined by lots of other tourists. It was a very impressive sight and my understanding of US history has certainly improved from seeing these monuments in person. Afterwards, we continued to Arlington National Cemetery. I didn’t recall ever having visited a cemetery to see important historical figures but this seemed like as a good a place as any to start.

It is situated high upon a hill overlooking the District and the city of Washington, complete with a number of lush and beautifully maintained gardens. We saw the tombstones of The Kennedy Family, a memorial to those who perished in the Lockerbie Bombings and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. By pure chance, we were also lucky enough to see the changing of the guard. While we stood there silently overlooking the ceremony and the city of Washington, we saw the president’s helicopter fly past.
We saw President Obama’s address to the nation about the issue of Syria and chemical warfare. It was interesting to be in Washington during such a tense period as the debate and discussion surrounding Syria was animated to say the least.

The few days we had in Washington wasn’t enough to see all the wonderful museums and monuments that are housed there, but what we did see was definitely impressive.