2 August 2023

On the move again.

After our two week sea side holiday with our Worms Family on Borkum our BBF had just four days to adjust and pack for our next adventure. We are off to visit our BFs Pat and Dan, and Glenn and Gwen in Canada. Some of you readers will remember that Pat made Jamie Bear a Confederate Cap when we first visited in 2015 and Alan had participated with Dan in the re-enactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia. 

                                                                           Me in my Confederate Cap

So we Bears are greatly looking forward to this visit too.

Pat had sent Alan a detailed packing list which helped decision making. In Canada we are all going Canoeing and Camping for four days in Algonquin National Park. Pat and Dan have been on at Alan since they first met to come with them on such an adventure. The idea is that Alan will have to help portage the canoe on the various stages of the trip. Now in proper English English, to carry an awkward load is to hump it as every good soldier also knows. However in Canadian and US Speak “to hump” is to engage in sexual intercourse. Well it means that to soldiers too, but we English don’t get mixed up or confused by the definition.

All the kit was laid out on the bed and so that Alan could see what was involved and decide whether it was all needed. 

Later that night he threw it all into the suitcase so he could go to bed. Needless to say it didn’t all fit.

The next day it was laid out again and he finally packed it properly and yes it did all go in. Our BBF weighed it all and said it was 26 kilos, about three more than we are allowed.

On the Monday Alan opened the suitcase and checked he had everything he needed, took out a couple of items and added two shirts, one white one which Brec had forgotten when he and Sandy visited last year! So we were all set now.

On 1 August our day of departure Sigrid had kindly offered to take us to the airport. She has a smart BMW 3 Series Cabriolet. The suitcase would not fit in the boot so she opened up the roof so Alan could heave it onto the back seat and we in the back pack now went in the boot. The reverse happened when we got out at the airport. 

When we eventually found the Aer Lingus Check-in Desk, needless to say it was closed and there was a queue already at around 0730hrs in the morning. We had to wait some 30 minutes till we got to the desk and some Germans behind us were constantly muttering not quite under their breath and finding fault in every thing.

Our check in now took some time too. The attendant did her best to print out the Boarding pass for the flight from Dublin, but she could not and told us to ask in Dublin for one.
Our BBF was hungry now and once we had passed through the Security he started to look for coffee and a sandwich. Here we had to queue again but then we were able to sit quietly and refresh ourselves. The Gate on the Boarding pass was changed and the flight was delayed by at least an hour by the time we took off. All refreshments on this flight had to be paid for so our BBF who had a window seat and was the only occupant of the row shut his eyes and slept most of the way.

The walk from the debarkation gate to the Forwarding Flight Gate was a long one. Now came the shock! All our previous visits to Canada have been by train from New York and going through Canadian Immigration was not a problem. Now we learnt that like travelling to the USA you need to get an online eTA Visa for entry to Canada which we did not have so we could not get on the flight!!! Alan quickly went on line with his phone and did the necessary getting email confirmation that he had paid. Now we had to wait for permission to travel. Unlike applying for the ESTA for the USA it was not instantaneous and the Aer Lingus attendants did not think we would make the flight which was boarding already and had only 20 more passengers to go! Sh..!! This could mean an overnight stay in Dublin and a new flight in the morning. All these things were being considered when the attendant in trying to pass Alan’s passport through the computer found it spewed out a Boarding Pass. We had to hurry she said as they were loaded and ready. He asked them to tell them that he was on his way. He jogged now much of the long way through the Terminal and was met with friendly staff who all thought our delay was due to our flight being delayed! We all breathed a sigh of  relief and a heart attack was avoided though our BBF was a bit out of breath. 

We are in the overhead locker and our BBF is sat in an isle seat next to a nice Irish American young man called Padraig. The two struck up a friendly conversation, which is quite unusual for our reserved BBF, but it helped calm the troubled soul and shorten the time till take off. 

In the air the noise does not really allow conversation. Alan tried the inflight entertainment system and chose the film John Wick 4, but the picture and  sound quality were so poor he gave up in the end. A meal was served which Alan and Padraig preceded with a G+T. Alan tried then to recline the seat so he could doze, but the guy behind complained that he was crushing his knees.  He dozed a bit anyway as he had his neck cushion and so the time passed.

An hour before landing in Toronto the cabin staff served a snack.

A chicken wrap which tasted of nothing and a whole meal biscuit with a bit of white chocolate which was tasty.

Alan said that we could save the planet if we avoided all this packaging and did not fly anymore! 

After landing Alan changed places with Padraig as they were told that there was congestion in the airport and they would only let out 50 passengers every five minutes. Alan couldn’t leave with his row as we were in an overhead locker a bit behind and to get us he would have to go against the flow of the leavers! Eventually we got off the aircraft and walked to the immigration hall. Here it looked like chaos. Queues of passengers snaking round the hall to get to machines where one has to Scan the passport and get your picture taken. It then spews out a receipt which you show at various stages as you progress through the hall. Then it was more chaos in the baggage hall and we began to wonder if our suitcase would arrive. There had been talk in Dublin when it looked as if we wouldn’t make the flight of taking it off! Alan did see a similar suitcase to ours on the carousel as it went past us, but it only had one coloured strap whereas ours had two. When it came round again Alan checked it and it was our suitcase so with the help of another kind passenger  we got it off the carousel and now headed to the exit. More chaos and passengers were headed into every smaller queues till one had to pass a Customs Official to whom we now handed our passport control receipt. 

Outside the customs hall the choice was go right or left, our BBF chose left and then he saw Gwen and Glenn in the arrivals hall. Hugs of relief and joy all round that we had made it after all. It was but a short drive to Mississauga where Gwen and Glenn live. Gwen showed us to our room, while Glenn got on the Barbecue.

A perfectly cooked steak, mushrooms and rosemary potatoes all done on the barbecue and a great salad complemented the meal. Welcome to Canada!

Shortly thereafter we retired to bed, it had been a long day and was now  about 04:00 hrs German time and 22:00 hrs Canadian time.


1 comment:

  1. Our room looks very different with bears in the Den!