Thursday, May 21, 2015

Getting Closer

Everything that had to be paid for our holiday in about a month has been paid. We have airport to hotel transfers in Vancouver by the tour company and I have worked out when in New York, where we will arrive to from Toronto, we will get a bus from LaGuardia to the Port Authority Bus Terminal with then a short walk to our accommodation. We leave from Newark Airport, so it will be a train from Penn Station to the airport. Why is there not a train from LaGuardia to Manhattan?

What about getting from the airport in Toronto to our hotel? Firstly I need to know which airport we arrive and depart from but if it is the main one, Pearson, then that will be good. I have checked before about transport to our hotel from the airport and kind of came up with nothing but a hint of a train in the future. Jeepers, it is a city of over 2 million people and there isn't a train to the airport? Melbourne with a population of over 4 million...............um, doesn't have a train to the airport. Maybe it will just be a taxi. Easy but not in my mind a travel experience.

But wait, I revisited where I read something about a train in the future and it was dated 2009. Maybe there now is one. More searching. Under construction, it seems. Eureka! We will be there early July and the new airport train begins operation on the 6th June. Perfect, as long it runs near to our hotel. Right, its city terminus is Union Station. Now where are we staying? Fairmont Royal York and lordy, after checking a map it is right opposite Union Station.

The hotel was built in 1929 and it is rather grand looking. We did book early so maybe that is why it did not seem expensive. Maybe we will have original 1929 rooms, unchanged since then.




Now I need to find out more about the public transport Presto card. Travel is much cheaper using the card. We will only be in Toronto for three nights, two full days and one day will be taken seeing Niagara Falls, giving us one full day to see Toronto. I expect we may well wish we had a little longer there.

Here is a map showing our tour route in Vancouver or British Columbia to be more accurate.


Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo will be in the north of England when we finish our holiday. They asked if we could join them there, we thing so we could share some accommodation cost with them. As it stands, they will sleep on R's sister's lounge room floor. While Cathay Pacific was very helpful in that they were happy for us to fly home from London instead of New York, the two airfares from New York to Newcastle at this late stage in peak season would cost $5,000 and that is only to London. Forget it.

Later: As I thought, we do not need a visa to visit the US. Our agent has informed us we need an ESTA. What? All Nationals of the U.S visa waiver program (VWP) countries who plan to travel to the USA will require an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA).

The language was blue as R spent half an hour filling in the online form and paying $US14 and then it was my turn. I was no help suggesting that people from the US visiting Australia may have to do something similar. I seem to remember visas were easier paperwork than having visas waived and filing an ESTA.
 

29 comments:

  1. andrew, it seems you have chosen an interesting destination.. The hotel loks interesting. I believe it is going tobe a great time fotr you both

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosia, I hope so. The weather should be nice.

      Delete
  2. Our holiday to sydney is getting closer too,!
    I may pick your brains about Melbourne
    Chris may get a job offer from the city!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't recall you were visiting Sydney. Maybe I have forgotten. Of course feel free to ask whatever. I know a little about a lot but not much about anything.

      Delete
  3. It looks a lovely trip Andrew, a pity we're half a continent away from New York. I've friends who live near Toronto, from the things they've said I think you and R will enjoy it tremendously.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jac, just hope it is not too hard work. Even just the planning takes so much time and then worrying that you have everything right.

      Delete
  4. Exciting times ahead...
    And the planning has a lot of charm too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, while it is time consuming, I quite enjoy the planning, such as investigating how to get around by public transport.

      Delete
  5. Union Station was amazing and Fairmont Royal York looks pretty damn amazing too. You are travelling in style!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hels, pity we aren't travelling in style on the planes. Gosh, it was just too expensive to travel other than economy.

      Delete
  6. 1929 style rooms? could be good, unless they are the type with a shared bathroom at the end of the hall. We'd all love to see photos of the hotel interior and rooms, the exterior looks fabulous.
    $5000 to get to London seems awfully steep, I wouldn't go either, it's just a short hop across the ocean surely? Wait, I've just had a look at my atlas, no it isn't just a short hop, but still $5000 is too much in my opinion.
    I think one day won't be enough to see enough of Toronto, you'll have to go again next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, I was half joking about the rooms. I don't want one with a water jug and wash basin and I want air con. Over a six hour flight to London. It is very expensive but I am not sorry really, as one continent will be enough. We might only have one or two far overseas trips left in us and I really want to see more of France, Spain and the southern England.

      Delete
  7. Isn't it a fair hike from Toronto to Niagara? It will be a long day I think. Vancouver has a light rail connection from the airport to the city. I thought for sure you'd be taking that! It should be quite a trip!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Craig,it is a decent hike to Niagara, but I am sure it is within a day trip. I did begin to investigate rail travel in Vancouver, but then realised we had transfers already.

      Delete
  8. The hotel looks inviting. Wonder what it's like inside.
    I bet you are both excited.
    It's a long plane flight and a bit pricey....if I want to fly, I have to go on my own. Wouldn't mind going to Ireland but expect I won't....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WA, if you can't visit Ireland, you are in the closest resembling part of Australia. Why would you fly anywhere with your such lovely new van.

      Delete
  9. Gosh what excellent timing Andrew, for the train thingy in Toronto I mean :) I did know about it because I have a blog buddy in Toronto. I didn't realise Melbourne didn't have an airport to city rail line , I don't feel so embarrassed that Perth doesn't either now :) With Colin Barnett spending every cent on nonsense projects we're never likely to have one :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, I should spend an hour reading your Toronto blog buddy. Promise I won't embarrass you by association. What is the blog title? We do have a bus to the airport, ho hum. It is hard to work out from afar what the political situation now is in WA.

      Delete
  10. You will love the Royal York Andrew - we stayed there in 1988 and still rave about it to anyone who will listen. Fabulous hotel (or was then) as you say right across the road from the train staion (which can be accessed underground which his handy if you are lugging your own luggage). Yes there is air con but it (the hotel) also has windows that actually open - rare in this day and age. Trouble was I forgot sound travels upwards and had to close them - wretched police sirens kept us awake!
    For future ref. there is a 'bus service' from Pearson to Niagara Falls which is handy to know. We used it in 2013 so friends who live 10 mins from the Falls could pick us up instead of having to go out to the airport or come into the city. There is also a train service that stops there once a day as it makes its way round to New York That was another highlight of that '88 trip. Train to see Niagara, stop overnight and then picked up the train to New York the next day.
    You will certainly enjoy Toronto but lets just say you will wish you had more time there.
    Cathy
    Still can't comment using w/press so looks like it's my old blogger one again

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks heaps Cathy. That is terrific and very reassuring information. I am quite used to sound travelling upwards, believe me. Word Press hates me and causes me angst when I want to comment, and it seems Blogger hates you.

      Delete
  11. I'm a little jealous. I want to go to Canada. I'm confused. Are you going to England, or not? If you are, then I'm even more jealous. The hotel looks beautiful.

    I hope you take a lot of pictures and videos of Canada. Since it's part of the Commonwealth, I wonder how similar the culture is to Australia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dina, no, not going to England. The airfare is just too expensive. As I've said, I think Canadians are a bit like us, the English heritage ones anyway.

      Delete
  12. I've been to Vancouver B.C. I stayed in a youth hostile in gas town, over a bar. It was shabby but I like such adventures. It was many years ago. I do believe I somehow made it to Stanley Park, which is large and famous. I hitched a ride up and took the bus back home. That was before one needed a passport to cross from the US into Canada. Now you do, and getting one costs a lot of money, at least $100, so no more will I ever see Canada.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strayer, a passport now. To stop Canadians popping across the border for cheaper shopping in the US? Sounds like you may have had good fun.

      Delete
    2. I have no idea why the passports now, Andrew, but it works both ways. We in the US must have one to cross into Canada. I think it was post 911 paranoia. Canada/US border is extremely lengthy and porous and easy enough to cross anyhow undetected in most remote areas..

      Delete
  13. I know we compared notes earlier and decided we are not crossing paths in Canada in July but it does seem you will be in some of the same places as us at very close to the same time.

    I'll wave if I see you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victor, I am not sure if we confirmed travel dates but I think you travel a week after us, although if you are travelling in July, maybe two weeks later.

      Delete
  14. Royal York gorgeous hotel. Yes, directly across from Union Station and subway also stops at Union. You can also take a city bus from airport to subway station at Kipling. Let me know if you have any other questions.
    Did you look at flying from New York to Toronto Island airport on Porter? Then they have a shuttle for the quick ride to the Royal York.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jackie, our agent told us yesterday that we got an incredibly cheap deal at the hotel, with rooms now costing something like AU$600 a night. We paid a good bit less than half that. We will use the new airport train to and from and hotel. I am looking forward to a tram ride. I believe the 501 takes you through the most interesting part of the city. We are flying from Vancouver to Toronto and then on to NY. The flights are booked and paid for with Air Canada. There is one question, if I may. Is it easy to buy a Presto card at the airport? We always try to use public transport when visiting cities.

      Delete