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1
16 Bentleigh Ct, Robina QLD 4226, Australia

The beginning.

Christmas 2017 and our niece Elly Parker and her now fiancé, Canadian Matt visited Australia to spend the holiday with family. The conversation turned to the possibility of visiting them in Toronto, Canada sometime in 2018 and the idea was born.

The decision was made for myself, my wife Janeane, and Ella’s nanny, Beryl Parker to visit Canada for a month at the end of October 2018 and the planning began.

Flights were booked with Qantas and we would arrive in Toronto at 9pm local time on Saturday 27 October 2018.

Janeane and I have never been to Canada or the US before (Hong Kong was about the furthest we had been) so we decided to make the most of our month.

We made an itinerary that would take in some of the eastern side of Canada including Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec driving a rental car. We will then fly to Boston for a few days and then on to New York, staying in Times Square. Back to Toronto to spend time with Elly and Matt, taking in Niagara Falls area for a weekend and the Amish Country.

With a little bit of time left up our sleeves we decided another location in the US could be slotted in and New Orleans was chosen for it’s fun and quirkiness.

This is trip is the culmination of a big 2018 for us with the sale of our business and the pending sale of our house of 17 years on the Gold Coast that will allow both of us to relocate to Victoria after 33 years to be closer to family and friends.

It is an exciting time for us and we look forward to our trip and putting this journal together as a lasting legacy of what should be a fantastic time.

Let the fun begin!

Bob and Janeane.

Day one.

Dogs dropped off with Lee McCaskill in Brisbane yesterday.

Uber from Robina to Gold Coast Airport this morning, $63.00. Bit over an hour and a half at the airport before boarding Virgin A736 for Melbourne.

Heaps of luggage. 3 x suitcases, 2 x carry on bags, 2 x handbags, 2 x winter jackets and the CPAP machine. Lucky we are only going for a month!

Lumpy flight to Melbourne. Left Gold Coast at 35 degrees Celsius, arrived Melbourne 19 degrees Celsius.

Quick pick up from baggage with our cases coming off almost first. Cab from airport to Ciloms Hotel at Tullamarine. Taxi driver not a patch on Uber - arrogant.

Met Beryl and Trevor at Ciloms. Headed down to the bar and had a few drinks and a huge meal before retiring for an early night. 4 alarms set for 5.00am with a 6.30am bus booked for trip to International Terminal Tullamarine to board our 10.00am flight to Los Angeles.

Bottoms Up!

Weather forecast Toronto, 5 degrees and snow. Was cold got snow did not eventuate.

Got up about 9.00am. Nobody else up yet so Janeane and I went for walk around the block to have a look at some of the houses.

This is our accommodation at 304 Queens Drive, Toronto. Four levels owned by Matt’s Mum and Dad, Tim and Cindy.

Our en-suite room in the basement for two nights. Very comfortable.

Government Units at the end of Queens Drive. Don’t go there!

An example of the local architecture on Queens Drive.

Beautiful colours in the trees still.

Saw a heap of squirrels on our walk around the block.

Went up to Matt and Elly’s on return from our walk and had a nice hot cup of tea. Had a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, Canadian bacon and jams. Matt, being a Chef, cooked everything perfectly.

After breakfast Matt prepared the smoker for tonight’s BBQ dinner. Long process in Canada, going on for hours to infuse the flavour of the wood chips and smoke in to the meat.

Whilst all this was happening, Elly took us for a drive to see a couple of local attractions. Rain stayed away which was great.

Very brisk but lovely walk around High Park including a photo of Beryl the great white squirrel hunter and a squirrel. The fort looking thing is a children’s playground.

The we visited Casa Loma, a real live castle in Toronto!

Put it on the list to return to visit the inside of the museum on a full day in Toronto.

Halloween event set up at the rear of Casa Loma. Could not get entry but would be spooky at night!

Beautiful traditional smoked BBQ prepared by Matt and Elly and a fantastic dinner with them both and Matts Mum and Dad, Cindy and Tim, sister Candice and Johannes and Jocelyn and ?.

Few local beers and wines followed by Iced Tea with Borboun and mixed berry pie, apple pie and ice cream with cheddar cheese would you believe! What a great night!

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204 Queens Dr

Day behind entries due to big flight day 27 October. Arrived Tullamarine 6.45am after restless sleep. Breezed through check in and QF93 our Qantas A380 took off a few minutes after 10am. Fantastic flight of almost 14 hours duration with great service and meals. A380 is super quiet and very smooth. No sleep for any of us though.

Mango Weiss bars in flight. Sorry Elly!

Arrived Los Angeles on time at 6.15am. Breezed thought Customs again with assistance given for Beryl so we got priority with everything.

LAX is a bit of a mad house! We had nearly 7 hours to kill as it turned out so checked out the terminal and listened to the madness of reps trying to sort flight to Shanghai, Mexico and other exotic places. Total chaos.

Finally boarded our Westjet flight at around 1.30pm and had an uneventful flight to Toronto arrived arriving around 10pm local time.

Raining and 6 degrees! Picked up at airport by Elly, Matt and Matt’s mate Essen. Arrived home and had a few drinks and a huge pizza for dinner! Matt and Elly are great. So good to be here!

5 degrees and snow forecast for today!

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Kingston

Up at around 8.45am to sort out suitcases and a lovely breakfast with Cindy and Tim.

Tim took us to the airport to pick up our Hertz rental car and we headed north to Kingston Ontario for a nights stay at the Hotel Belverdere.

Lovely drive up north - pretty cold though. Still lots of colour in the trees.

Arrived Kingston at around 5.30pm, dropped our bags in the room and headed off for a feed and a few drinks. Found a lovely restaurant called Olivea which had great food, great drinks and great service. Janeane had the chicken al Mattone cooked under a brick and I had BC Halibut stew...just beautiful.

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Kingston

Up for a light breakfast at Hotel Belvedere in the lovely dining room.

Beautiful hotel with a bit of history below.

After breakfast headed out for a walk to take in the local sights. Gorgeous town with a lot of history. Would have like to have had more time here than just one day.

Drove up to Fort Henry on one of the last open days this season. So happy it was open. Well worth the visit.

Looking from Fort Henry across to Kingston.

Departed Fort Henry for Ottawa.

Found a pumpkin sale just outside Ottawa.

Onward to our hotel, Cartier Place Suites in Cooper Street, Ottawa for two nights. Checked in and went for a bit of a walk around the local area.

Went to Deacon Brodies on Elgin Street for dinner. Had poutines, a club sandwich and haggis! Wee dram with the haggis was very very potent!

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Ottawa

Late start today. Raining and 5 degrees outside.

Had breakfast in our room and drove over to the Canadian War Museum. What a magnificent memorial to the brave men and women who fought in so many conflicts.

Had an afternoon rest back in our room and then venture out for dinner at the Sir John A pub in Elgin Street. Fairly busy place with a good beer list and menu reasonably priced.

Had chicken bites, deep fried pickles, chicken parmigiana and a burger. Too much to eat so left a bit on the plates. Had a special Halloween beer based on pumpkin....most unusual.

Hotel across the road from the St John A lost all power earlier in the day and had to be evacuated.

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Montreal

Departed our Ottawa Hotel around 10.00am and drove up to Gatineau Park which was closed for the season.

Lots of construction going on in Ottawa so got the Cook’s tour of the place. Lovely old buildings.

Departed Ottawa and drove north east up the Trans Canada Highway. Lots of open fields and some corn growing.

Arrived at our beautiful little Hotel, Le Relais. On the third floor overlooking the Latin Quarter. Had a lovely walk around. Late lunch at the recommended pizza place, some live music at Bistro and Blues followed by dinner at 3 Brewers. Neane had a burger and I had Sauerkraut.

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Montreal

Countinuing our religious experience we visited the Notre-Dame-de-Bob-Secours Chapel/Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum at 400 Saint Paul Stree East. Certainly should be on the must visit list.

This church is known as the ‘sailors church’ as sailors of old came here to receive blessing for their upcoming trips across the Atlantic or give thanks for their safe passage.

69 Steps up takes you to a lookout on the spire with view over Old Montreal.

12 more steps take you up to the bell tower.

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Montreal

Not an early start here in Montreal today. Most retails shops don’t open till 10am but there are heaps of coffee and food shops open early.

6 degrees and showers today but never really stopped us from doing anything. Just need to dress in layers. Cold outside but everywhere inside is hot so you will be opening or taking your jacket off quite a bit.

Old Montreal is a very beautiful area but there is so much construction going on. Hard to get good photos without signs of activity in the scene.

Found a very cute Christmas shop!

A must see is the Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal on Notre Dame Street West. Absolutely breathtaking and not a huge entry fee.

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Montreal

Underneath the Church is the crypt which now contains archaeological relics of excavations undertaken in 2006. This is a very interesting part of the visit.

There is also a locked section off the crypt that you can ask to see. It is a section of the archaeological excavation showing foundations of the original church, post holes and fire pits from early Indian times.

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Montreal

Some more photos of old Montreal.

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Montreal

Awoken by a very loud bang on the street outside our Hotel at 5.00am this morning. Waited for yelling and sirens but none eventuated. Went back to sleep but it took a while.

Spoke to Joseph, our Hotel Manager on our way out and he said it was probably a shooting. Oh joy....nothing in the news and we are still in the land of the living.

Montreal has really turned it on today considering what we are used to on the Gold Coast....about 6 degrees with rain and penetrating wind.

Not wishing to waste a day sitting in our Hotel room we rugged up and ventured out.

Given the prevailing conditions we decided to seek entertainment in doors as much as we could.

First visit was to the Port of Montreal Cruise Terminal to check out the History of Ships exhibition. Small, but interesting display on shipping in Montreal. Was warm inside and gave us a chance to dry off a bit.

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Montreal

Venturing back out in to the cold and rain again we walked across the road to Pointe-a-Calliere, Montreal Archaeology and History Complex.

This is the only Museum in North America that is built on top of an authentic archaeological site.

Saturday on the final day of an Egyptian exhibition and it was packed. We did, however, manage to check out the Montreal area exhibits which was very interesting. The complex is built underground from the entrance and the exhibits are amongst the structures of the old buildings.

Remains of the old cemetery located deep underground.

Old fireplace.

Part of the old plumbing system.

The old sewers.

Timber piers.

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Montreal

We passed on the Egyptian exhibition purely for the amount of time we would have had to wait in line.

By now we were getting cold and hungry so we had a beautiful lunch at a pasta restaurant along with a nice bottle of red.

There was a very long queue opposite our restaurant that never seemed to get any smaller. Turns out all these people were queuing for an exhibit on sustainable living - not recycling but the abolition of waste altogether. A noble cause for sure but glad we didn’t queue out of curiosity.

Early day for us. Went back to our Hotel to warm up. Takeaway pizza and lasagne for dinner from the same place we had lunch at on the day we arrived. Won’t be long out of bed.

Off to Quebec tomorrow.

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655a Rue Principale, Sainte-Hélène-de-Bagot, QC J0H 1M0, Canada

Up reasonably early to pack and get ready for our trip to Quebec. Easy drive out of Montreal on a Sunday morning.

Stopped at a little place called St Helens on the way.

Took a bit of a detour to off the highway to check out some of the scenery.

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Sainte-Eulalie

Found an antique shop on the way, dropped in for a look and bought 4 marbles for Matt.

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Autoroute Jean-Lesage, Sainte-Eulalie, QC G0Z 1E0, Canada

Quebec...what a beautiful city. No wonder it is a top destination.

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20 Rue Port Dauphin, QuΓ©bec, QC G1R 5N3, Canada

More photos of the beautiful Quebec.

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117 Rue Sainte-Anne, QuΓ©bec, QC G1R 3X6, Canada

Can’t get enough of this city!

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117 Rue Sainte-Anne, QuΓ©bec, QC G1R 3X6, Canada

Old Quebec is reasonably small but you really need to allow a few days to have a good look around. Showers are forecast for tomorrow so we decided to do outdoors stuff today and hit the museums tomorrow.

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117 Rue Sainte-Anne, QuΓ©bec, QC G1R 3X6, Canada

Nice day in Quebec today. Bit cloudy and cool but no rain. Top of about 6 degrees and windy in some areas. Certainly need warm hat, gloves and scarves today.

Up around 7.30am and had breakfast out our hotel. Little omelettes, toast, chat potatoes, a version of savoury baked beans, jam and juice. Very nice.

There are no other words for it...Quebec is a breathtaking city...beauty at every turn. We did around 12km walking today and it was absolutely magic.

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42a Rue Notre Dame, QuΓ©bec, QC G1K 4G1, Canada

Just so beautiful here!

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50 Rue Sous le Fort, QuΓ©bec, QC G1K 4G8, Canada
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70 Boulevard Champlain, QuΓ©bec, QC G1K 4H7, Canada

View going up in the Funicular.

Small ‘bowl’ of coffee at Hotel 1640.

Long board of local produce for one at 1640. Absolutely delicious!

New hats!

How to dress for touring Quebec in early November!

Renovation works! All manual here. Guy at bottom left is hoisting material up by rope.

Construction to far left of photo is the refurbishment of a toboggan run.

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22 Rue du TrΓ©sor, QuΓ©bec, QC G1R, Canada

Part of the ‘Plains of Abraham’ battlefield park. Fascinating!

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14 Avenue St Denis, QuΓ©bec, QC G1R 4B5, Canada
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117 Rue Sainte-Anne, QuΓ©bec, QC G1R 3X6, Canada

Finished off the day with a few drinks and a feed. Back to our room to sort photos, post on social media, drink the cheap bottle of red we bought from the South Korean gentleman in the little store in Old Montreal and off to bed for an early night.

The cheap red turned out to be pretty good!

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Quebec

Wet and windy here today in Quebec. So glad we did our outdoors walk yesterday. Decided to hit the indoor attractions.

Went to the Noel Christmas shop first up to buy a few more things.

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Rue Dalhousie

More from the Quebec Museum.

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Rue Dalhousie

After the Santa shop we went for anther trip down the Funicular down to the lower area to visit the Musee de la civilisation museum at 85 Rue Dalhousie.

Very interesting museum with fantastic exhibits on Quebec.

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Rue Dalhousie
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Rue Dalhousie

One of the exhibits was a project that is using facial recognition of ordinary people to match the faces of famous statues. Fascinating and very interesting project.

Early night again with a nice dinner at D’Orsay Pub and a wine back in our hotel. Off to Boston tomorrow!

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MontrΓ©al International

Coming in to Montreal.

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QuΓ©bec City Jean Lesage International Airport

Up early to pack our cases, check out and drive to Quebec International Airport for our the first leg of our Boston trip from Quebec to Montreal.

Airport was very quiet and very clean and the flight was less then an hour with inflight service of pretzels and juice or water.

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Chelsea Station Restaurant Bar & Lounge

The flight from Quebec to Montreal was delayed slightly due to construction works at Montreal Airport. Our window of one hour to catch our connecting flight was therefore reduced quite a bit.

It was no less than a race to get from one end of a huge Montreal International Airport to the other end through security and customs but we made it with a few minutes to spare. No time to check out the airport before boarding our one hour flight to Boston.

Caught a cab to our Hotel Envision at Everett, Boston. Checked in and went for a walk to The Chelsea Firehouse to have a few local beers, cheese plate, lamb lollies (lamb chops done in maple syrup), ragu and strip loin. Delicious meal and well worth a visit.

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Freedom Trail

Lazy start to the day. Booked a full day tour of Boston for tomorrow and Uber’d in to Boston to walk The Freedom Trail today.

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile long line of red bricks set in the Boston Pavement that takes you past 16 significant historic sites including museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds and historic markers that tell the story of the American Revolution.

Was a busy trail even for off season.

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Freedom Trail

A very nice lunch at Bencotto Italian Restaurant in the North District. Paul Revere Pizza for me and Spaghetti Bolognese for Neane. Both delicious.

Back on The Freedom Trail after lunch.

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Freedom Trail

More of The Freedom Trail.

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Freedom Trail
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Freedom Trail
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Freedom Trail
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Freedom Trail
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1834 Revere Beach Pkwy

Uber’d back to our Hotel in Everett and visited the supermarket to pick up stuff for cheese and bickies and bread rolls in our room. Also visited the bottle shop for a fe cleansing ales and wines before an early night ready for our big day tomorrow.

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Harvard University

Full day tour of Boston, Lexington and Concord today. Big day.

First up was a drive past Cambridge and Harvard Universities.

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Lexington

More at Lexington and along Battle Road that runs between Lexington an Concord.

Home of Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women.

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Lexington

Then out to the historic town of Lexington where the first ordered battle of the American Revolution took place. An English force was despatched from Boston to locate and seize caches of weapons at Concord that were being stockpiled by the Minutemen.

The British were also looking for leaders of the Patriots, John Hancock and Samuel Adams.

All houses here are fully protected - no changes are allowed to me made to structure or even colour.

Captain John Parker, a Minuteman was wounded in the skirmish at Lexington dying sometime later.

8 Americans were killed and 1 Englishman was wounded on this very park on April 19th 1775.

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Concord

On to Concord where the Minutemen retreated to followed by the British with skirmishes all along Battle Road linking Concord to Lexington.

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Concord

More at Concord.

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Boston

From Concord we were driven back to Boston where we spent time having lunch.

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Charlestown

After lunch it was off to Charlestown Naval Yard to have a look at USS Constitution. Got there at 3.30pm so not much time as it closes at 4pm during the off season.

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Charlestown

More from Charlestown Naval Yard.

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1834 Revere Beach Pkwy

Back home after a long but fantastic day. Would need a few weeks to explore Lexington and Concorde properly.

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Chelsea Station Restaurant Bar & Lounge

Dinner at Chelsea Station again. Lovely food and cleansing ales and wines again.

Off to New York at 3.11pm tomorrow.