Farewell London

My last week in London was filled to the brim with seeing everyone that had grown dear to me, unfortunately I didn’t manage to say goodbye to everyone but I still think I did pretty well. I also managed to squeeze in some sightseeing too.

Last Monday a couchsurfer had very kindly offered to drive me around on the back of his motorbike. We drove through a town called Stratford then shortly after we passed by Shakespeare. We stopped in St Jacobs and had a look around a museum. They had a Scottish tourist shop for some unknown reason; I freaked out as I saw things like Hobnobs, Irn Bru and Polo mints. I didn’t buy anything, the prices were expectedly ridiculous. Then came Fergus and the last covered bridge in Canada. As you have probably gathered, the Canadians aren’t very original when it comes to place names, but when they do try and come up with their own names, they end up with something like Orangeville. I was rather baffled, for there was nothing orange about Orangeville. We briefly visited a national park and had to pay entrance, I don’t know whether to be pleased or enraged about the fact that I was charged as a child. Creemore was a cute little town, consisting of literally one street and a brewery. We went on a tour and tasted some samples. Upon reaching Lake Huron, we saw the peninsula from Wasaga Beach, which was empty of people, and the water felt surprisingly warm. We passed by the Blue Mountains, which were neither blue nor mountainous; having seen the Blue Mountains in Australia, they really had no chance of impressing me. My favourite place was Walters Falls, a lovely waterfall which was serene and tranquil, much more enjoyable than Niagara Falls. It then started to get cold, and I wasn’t really wearing the appropriate gear so we headed back, passing through Durham and Exeter, with a stunning sunset in view. All in all, it was a trip of epic proportions, lasting 13 hours and travelling 625km. Which is practically like travelling the length of the UK, equivalent to a tiny area of a Province. Canada is massive. (This was the route: https://maps.google.ca/maps?saddr=london&daddr=stratford+to:Shakespeare,+ON+to:St.+Jacobs,+ON+to:Fergus,+ON+to:Orangeville,+ON+to:Creemore,+ON+to:Wasaga+Beach,+ON+to:Blue+Mountains,+ON+to:Meaford,+ON+to:Walters+Falls,+ON+to:Flesherton,+ON+to:Durham,+ON+to:Wingham,+ON+to:Exeter,+ON+to:London,+ON&hl=en&ll=43.822638,-80.809937&spn=1.941983,4.927368&sll=43.802288,-80.777732&sspn=1.942627,4.927368&geocode=FcbtjwId11Mo-ykLm42oDvIuiDGVawWaadfHKA%3BFRHGlQIdK08s-ymzl7SR-a0uiDHQHSPHKHsDBQ%3BFZfElQIdYYYu-ymND13elasuiDGLsItkXSGp_g%3BFbhSmAId8tcy-yntJVn7aYsriDHm9L09Dp2Cqw%3BFWDmmgIdFog1-ymTnldFT74riDHl9Ap7GH5rSw%3BFWsqngIdmds5-yn5I72QcqoriDEcXsTxA_Ywgg%3BFUZhpAIdNq05-ymbf8xI3GEqiDGubd_iY0HLjg%3BFSZVpwIdPQ07-yklv4KCV4AqiDE5RqwQGcvjVg%3BFQXDpgIdm3I1-ynxmD29MTQrTTFZCCWWJJ1nOw%3BFfihqAId6Twy-ylX6eqNKwgqiDE1qXpOIWN2aQ%3BFRlPpgIdwqkt-ynjXvihKvEpiDE5ItQGBtd3bw%3BFdthowId8OUy-yklI90vGTwqiDEMtQBKBrSd5g%3BFboTogIdA88u-yl7RE3ZBogpiDFWpyxx4mhCDA%3BFUytnQIdVEgn-ynV_U0XWxApiDFYq_Hh7yA0FA%3BFVdnlQIdCbck-yl55O8iqdcuiDE6dDx-UY93bQ%3BFcbtjwId11Mo-ykLm42oDvIuiDGVawWaadfHKA&oq=flesh&mra=ps&t=m&z=8)

On Tuesday I went to the largest antique warehouse in Canada with a different couchsurfer. It can be found in a town called Woodstock. This place was unbelievably gigantic, three enormous floors filled with everything from barber’s chairs to barbie dolls. We only managed to look around two of the floors, and felt completely blind by the end, unable to look upon any more inanimate objects. I found the perfect souvenir, an old brass Zippo with an engraving of a Loonie (1 dollar coin).

Straight afterwards I had dinner at yet another couchsurfers, she made this amazing Korean dish and we ate it outside on her balcony, with an incredible view over London. We then went to the weekly couchsurfing meetup afterwards which took place in a bar that we had to ourselves. This black woman from Trinidad came with a guitar and sang to us, she had the most raw voice I have ever heard, it was tremendous. We all joined in with singing and dancing, clapping spoons and blowing on harmonicas.

Wednesday was a bit more chilled, enjoyed a Turkish apple tea at the Tea Haus with another couchsurfer. Thursday I spent the morning with a friend and bought three loaves of the most delightful bread from an Artisan Bakery: spelt, rye and sourdough. Enjoyed some pitchers, including some delicious white sangria, in the afternoon and then went to dinner at a friend’s place.

Friday involved watching The Great Gatsby which I thought was perfect, although I am slightly biased because I want Leo’s babies. Afterwards I had some utterly delicious crepes, savoury chicken and then hazelnut chocolate fruity goodness. We discussed the intricacies of Canadians and my opinions of them. Having spoken to quite a few people about this, including Canadians, I have come to the conclusion that although Canadians are all lovely and nice, they are almost too nice. Mostly, since one cannot generalise, they are comfortable with a very high standard of living, many material possessions and a great work ethic. This might seem a slightly strange thing to complain about, but I can’t help but think that they like to live inside their little cardboard box without ever feeling the need to take a peek outside. This is why I have found myself latching onto the couchsurfers so much.
In the evening I enjoyed a lovely concert at the Aeolian Hall, where one of the bands would be couchsurfing at the place I was staying at since my lease expired at the end of April. I always enjoy hearing a fellow British accent, since despite being a band from Montreal, one of them was English and born in the same hospital as I!

Saturday was immense. The band left, and I danced around with a friend to the Thrift Shop song which has been captured on video and I have yet to upload… A bunch of us had breakfast at the Root Cellar and played dirty bananagrams. We explored a couple of thrift stores and I headed to yet another dinner, this time homemade dandelion Chinese dumplings which I helped to make. Really tasty. We chilled and played guitar, bongos and sang some.

Then came the highlight of the week, Whiskey tasting! I actually don’t like whiskey, so I enjoyed some Pimms instead. We all dressed up fancy and everyone looked so dapper and dashing. There was a cheesecake which had magical powers (which I have realised may sound suspicious, but I am certain it was made entirely of innocent ingredients). At some point the spontaneous dancing began and I got to pick most of the music, a rare luxury I do not normally get to enjoy. I got really worried at about 2am because most people seemed to be leaving, the dancing was dying and I thought it would be one of those parties which ends far too early when I’m not even feeling remotely tired yet. But suddenly people reappeared and it picked back up again, until two of us were left at 5am and it was time to go outside, lay in the hammock, listen to the birds sing and watch the stars grow fainter as the sun came up.

Looking back over the year I only have one regret. Not going to see Electric Six. I can live with that.

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