I recently experienced the taste of travelling in a city for a day with a completely different culture all by myself and that was nothing like as travel books have made it out to be.
Since the day I started going on family trips, I had my own methods to walk my way to the discovery of a new city. As much as I loved the aimless walks and could always run after the stories that nature told me, it was entirely the opposite this time around.
I got only one day to visit Toronto, Canada and as everyone has their own notions of a foreign land, as a typical tourist I wanted to try on different cuisines and visit the tourist places and have a look and feel of the city as much as I could. I wanted to grasp the flavour of the city in the best way possible.
So, I left for the city at about 9 in the morning and it took me about 45 minutes from Mississauga to Toronto, which was Union Station Bus terminal given the downtown traffic much like Delhi, India except a little more organised and a lot less stressful, at least for me.
I had saved the offline maps to be able to walk around the city on my own and clicked a few photographs of myself in the bus so I could remind myself of the burst of emotions I had while beginning my journey. I was confused as to how the bus and ticket system worked but the people were nice to help me with that. When I finally reached Toronto, I saw this place with different kinds of people, each experiencing their own journeys and their expressions blurting out stories worth listening. Without further ado, I started to search for CN Tower because it’s one of the best places to be, as I had heard. But only to discover that the walking paths aren’t available on Google Maps offline, and I had to follow the street signs.
Walking down the lanes of Toronto reminded of the Television shows which glorify the American culture. The weather was amazing but I was all the more confused because I couldn’t find my way. Google maps weren’t helping me the way it should have and the street signs weren’t as helpful for me either. Being a little on the introvert side or as I like to call myself, an Ambivert, I was reluctant to even ask people around. Everyone seemed so focussed into reaching their own workplaces that I just didn’t wanna disturb their pace.
Finally, after figuring out the place I reached CN Tower, met a few more almost Indians and the place was what I had heard it be. We reached up to 1000 miles high and I could hear the silence and saw how busy the city really is. Being all stressed out to figure out my way, reaching on to the heights of CN Tower made me calm.
Finally, after spending an hour and a half there, I thankfully had a friend who took me to an amazing restaurant and we had delicious food. This is another overlooked problem of people to probably any foreign land who are non-vegetarians yet don’t have an appetite for sea food or probably anything other than Chicken or Lamb. Everything on the menu is either beef or sea food related which I can’t eat. What is even worse is that the way things are cooked are a little different because they lack the flavours I eat usually, making it seem like undercooked. My friend took me to this place called as the Jack Astor’s had an amazing ambience and moreover the sandwich I ate was definitely amazing and even it looked undercooked, it didn’t taste like one. I knew at that moment I should probably try out better places to eat.
After I was done, my friend had to go and I was headed to Ripley’s Aquarium. It’s an amazing place for those who are into Marine Biology or just fascinated by the creatures of the ocean or perhaps, kids who get excited at the drop of a dime. It’s made really resourceful in a genuinely fun manner. They even show you how they keep the fishes, i.e., behind the scenes, they show you the large containers and that’s pretty impressive.
I was a little bored, but because of the extraordinary visual appearances, I made it to the end. I finally came out of the place and I was pretty content with my day. I was really tired though with all the walking and finding my ways. So, I finally went to the Harbourfront to relax. It was really nice to sit by the water in a thankfully not-so-sunny weather. By now, I had figured the area I was walking in and it took me a minute to finally let the feeling sink in and a thought crept into my mind that, if I were to stay here forever, I could definitely survive.
I had to go back because it was getting late but I didn’t want to because as much as I loathed everything, in the beginning, I loved it all the more with the end. But then, apparently there was no bus for me to go back and I had to take a train. I was scared again because what’s the ticket system like? Whom do I ask for help? Where do I go? But then, thankfully the lady at the counter helped me understand which train station to go to and I figured out my way out of the ticket system and the platform my train would arrive at.
Pretty exhausting and definitely not all roses, but I still think my day went pretty well. It wasn’t exactly the way I planned and I couldn’t do a lot of things I wanted to but at the same time, I was proud of myself and this instigated a feeling of desire and confidence that I could definitely be a part of the city and not feel lost in the world. I came back home, drank some water had some home cooked chicken and that marked the end of the day for me.