Posts Tagged ‘sunset’

5 Things to Do in Toronto Before You Die

I lived in Toronto for 6 years and have recently just moved to Vancouver. I was thinking back to all the awesome things I did in Toronto over the years and a few stuck out in my head. I wanted to have a link to send to people that are new to Toronto to introduce them to things that I really loved about the city. These are necessarily things like CNE, Leafs games or a trip up the CN Tower. These are things off the beaten track that are mostly known by locals if you talk to enough people. Hopefully you can experience a few of them during your time in Toronto. Let me know what you think!

Pumpkin Parade

Pumpkin parade

Lots of pumpkins

We heard that there was a spot in Toronto where everyone brings their pumpkins on the day after Halloween. I thought this sounded like a neat concept so we went to check it out. It is truly amazing to see everyone in the neighbourhood walking down the street, pumpkin in hard, heading to the park to display their unique jack o lantern. Apparently they get over 1,000 pumpkins lined up on Nov.1st every year. The pumpkins are picked up the next morning by the city and taken to be composted.

See Blog TO for more info on Pumpkin Parade

Outdoor Ice Skating

One of many outdoor rinks

I have never been a huge hockey player or even that good of an ice skater. The one thing I do love is getting outside on an outdoor rink. Many rinks have high costs for rentals or 100’s of 6 year olds falling in front of you after every turn. The great part about Toronto is there are tons of outdoor rinks all over the city offering free skating and shinny.  We would turn up for the night free skate and usually end up having the whole rink to ourselves. We could bring sticks, pass the puck around and really enjoy the outdoors.

Full list of rinks in Toronto

Saturday afternoon at Grossmans Tavern

Saturday afternoon at Grossmans

I had never heard of this pub up until December last year. My roommate told me that we were going to have an afternoon of drinking at Grossmans that would begin at 2pm. This was a little strange to me since I usually don’t go to pubs before 8pm… But I went anyway.  When we arrived, I found the place mostly filled with people over the age of 70 and rest were his friends at the back table. Here’s the deal – every Saturday Grossmans has a 12 piece Dixieland Jazz Band playing all afternoon. They are great and really get into the music. The best part of the show is the conga line of musicians and drunk patrons for the last song of the night (well, more like afternoon).

Info on Grossman’s Tavern

Ferry from the Island at Sunset

View of skyline coming back from Toronto Island

A few times when coming home from the island, I got to experience the Toronto skyline at sunset. It is really an amazing sight and I would recommend this to anyone who is sick of the hustle and bustle of the Toronto streets.

Full Ferry Schedule

Sunday brunch at Dakota Tavern

Sunday brunch at Dakota Tavern

If you are sick of eating over priced Eggs Benedict then this place is for you. Dakota Tavern hosts a Sunday brunch with a live Bluegrass band each week. The brunch is served ‘family style’ which means there are big bowls of food brought to your table. We had eggs, sausages, potatoes, fruit and pancakes. It was a decent meal but the atmosphere was great. I would suggest going right before they open at 11am. After they seat everyone waiting outside, the line starts…

Dakota Tavern website

Tanah Lot Temple at Sunset

Before my 12 day trip to Bali, I did some research online to see where I wanted to visit. I love photography, so I really wanted to check out some interesting spots so I could get some really cool shots. The one place that kept coming up in blogs and travel books was Tanah Lot Temple. The biggest tip was to not visit the temple at sunset. This is due to the face that bus loads of tourist descend on the temple each day at sunset to capture the incredible sight. I didn’t take that advice and VERY happy with the results.

According to Wikipedia, Tanah Lot means “Land in the Sea”. It also says that Tanah Lot is claimed to be the work of the 15th century priest Nirartha. During his travels along the south coast he saw the rock-island’s beautiful setting and rested there. Some fishermen saw him, and bought him gifts. Nirartha then spent the night on the little island. Later he spoke to the fishermen and told them to build a shrine on the rock for he felt it to be a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanah_Lot)

Motorbike adventure to Tanah Lot

We decided to skip the tourist bus and rent a motorbike for the night and drive there. We were staying in Legian which is about 10 minutes from Kuta. The rental was about 40,000R which works out to about $5 US. Not a bad deal! We were concerned about getting there before sunset and getting lost. It turns out there are tons of signs along the way so it was easy to find.

Sunset Terrace

When you arrive at Tanah Lot, you park in a huge parking lot and walk past tons of little market stalls before you get to the great temple. You can choose to take a view up high and sip a Bintang while you watch the sunset below. You can also choose to stay below (low tide nights only) and watch the sunset as you stand by the ocean and watch the waves crash in front of you. We chose to watch from above and then walk down for some closer shots. I am so glad I put up with the tourists and came at sunset. It was absolutely beautiful and something I will never forget.

Walk up to the watch from above

Amazing sunset views

Tourists getting front row as waves crash

The pink sky was unreal

For full Bali photo album on Flickr CLICK HERE

Fiji – A week of island hopping

I booked a trip to Australia for a year and decided to take a week in Fiji on my way home. The travel agency was really trying to push stop overs in Fiji so I went with it. I’m not sure why they were but it sounded like an awesome idea. I would fly in to Nadi and have 7 days and 6 nights to hang out. I was going alone so I went with a backpacker travel company called Awesome Adventures. (http://www.awesomefiji.com/)

I chose to visit 4 islands over 7 days. A huge yellow boat comes and picks you up and goes for hours before arriving at the Yasawa Islands. You exit the boat in the morning after breakfast at the island you choose for that day. This is usually an interesting process since the huge yellow boat can’t get close to the island since they are so remote. You are put on a tiny boat and then have to walk through the water a bit to get to land.

Each island has only a few people staying there, anywhere from 10 to 30 for each given night. When you arrive, they stand at the edge of the beach and sing a welcome to you. You stay in small huts and sleep on bunks like at camp. The locals make you all three meals and they definately aren’t the best meals but each island makes something different and it’s local food. They also offer simple activities during the day like bracelet making from the local women. Each island is staffed my Fijian families who have lived there for years.

Most of the days are spent sitting on the beach, lying in a hammock, snorkelling and just hanging out. Each island as something different. One of them has a long hike over the island and you end up at the stop where they shot the movie, The Blue Lagoon. On the hike back, we ran into one of the locals who had climbed a tree to get a coconut. He cut it open with a machete and we enjoyed some fresh coconut. We did the hike back at midnight and we saw the most amazing sunset from the middle of the island on a huge hill.

My favourite island was called South Sea Island. The entire island was the size of a baseball diamond. It had one large hut that everyone slept in. There was also an outdoor eating area and a pool in the middle of the island. There was sand all around it and you could snorkel all around and see amazing fish. They had a great fresh outdoor buffet and the staff sang and played guitar as you ate. They had a small bar inside and play music at night as well. There were amazing sunsets and the best thing was the beach side massages.

Click here for more Fiji photos

Arrival and Departure song by the locals

The hike to the Blue Lagoon

Beach side massage. Aka heaven.

Tiny little South Sea Island

Sunset from South Sea Island